Christmas glitter and sparkle has been in our shops now for months. In the last few weeks, the Christmas songs have been turned up and people began wishing each other “Happy Christmas” on 1st December!
Advent is a time for waiting, during which we prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ, our Saviour. I find it easy to be swept away by not only the consumer culture, and the idea of a Pinterest-perfect Christmas, but also by preparations; I want to have an Advent wreath, make Advent and Christmas decorations, celebrate the feast days, make my own Jesse tree… I am just realising that these things, celebrations and traditions are built over years rather than in a single Advent.
So, this year, I am living Advent simply. Here are 7 simple ideas (that don’t include glitter, baking or glue!) to help make the most of Advent;
- Prayer and reflection
- Do you have a regular prayer time? Maybe now is the time to start
- Do you do an advent reflection? This year, I signed up for Matthew Kelly’s Best Advent Ever. Its been very good so far- I recommend it!
- Read a book. My reading list includes
- Joy to the World by Scott Hahn
- A Feast for Advent by Delia Smith
- Advent and Christmas with the Saints compiled by Anthony F. Chiffolo
- Give up something
- Simple as that. And offer it up! This year I am giving up coffee
- Prepare your home
- Resist the temptation to put the decorations up straight away. See how long you can hold out- I am aiming for Gaudaute Sunday (aka pink candle Sunday or the Third Sunday of Advent!)
- In the meantime, how about a “Advent clean”? Make a list and tick one thing off every day. Tidy the spare room, wash the skirting boards, and do those jobs that you put on the long finger!
- Donate to charity
- While doing your “Advent clean”, its a great opportunity to declutter and donate to charity. Set yourself a target of things to throw out or give away, like one bag or 10 things a day.
- Be ruthless- are there things you can give out that would make nice gifts? Do you have a cosy wooly jumper you no longer wear and could keep someone else warm?
- Get Christmas shopping done early
- I did most of my Christmas shopping by 1st December. That way, I have more time for Advent reading and reflection
- Hold off on the Christmas music
- I love Christmas carols and music. In Ireland, we have a station called Christmas FM, which my car radio is permanently tuned to during December. This year, however, I am making a concerted, although not grinch-ish, effort to avoid Christmas music until Christmas.
- I recently listened to Haley and Christy of the Fountains of Carrots podcast discuss Advent music and the Advent playlists- a great idea
- Be Christ to others
- It’s what we are called to do as Christians! With a to-do list as long as your arm, and the increasing hustle and bustle in town, take time to help someone in need, visit someone who is sick, in a home, or housebound, or simply give the gift of a smile to a passing stranger.
What are you doing this Advent? Do you feel overwhelmed by Christmas preparations? I would love to hear your ideas and comments 🙂
This post is part of the 7 quick takes link up at This Aint The Lyceum. Thank you to Kelly for hosting!