I'm not being an old Scrooge. I love celebrating Christmas, and I love celebrating Christmas at length. Christmas doesn't end on Boxing Day. Depending on how old-fashioned you are, it finishes on the feast of the Baptism of Christ, or on Candlemas on 2nd February. My decorations will stay up until Candlemas! One of the things I hate about the way supermarkets and the like 'celebrate' Christmas is that they put up decorations in October, but then take them down a few days after Christmas Day. And you try buying a Christmas pudding in early January!
A big problem with celebrating Christmas too early is that we miss out on the feel of Advent, one of the most moving seasons of the Christian year, a time of hope and expectation. Advent begins this Sunday, the 2nd December and continues until the evening of 24th December. The Church doesn't begin celebrating Christmas until the evening of Christmas Eve. Before then, we don't sing carols, we have Christmas themed readings and prayers, we don't put flowers in the church, we wear violet vestments, and we don't place the child in our crib.
So I have a challenge for you - delay putting up your Christmas decorations! Wait at least until 17th December, a day on which the flavour of Advent changes, when it becomes more of a 'getting ready for Christmas time'. In the meantime, why not do some Advent things? Here are some ideas:
Make An Advent Wreath
The Advent Wreath is a way of 'counting down' towards Christmas. One candle is lit during each of the four weeks of Advent. Find out how to make one here.
Put Up Advent Decorations
Advent is not a gloomy time! Why not brighten up your home with decorations in the colour of Advent - purple?
Celebrate Advent Saints
Some significant feast days, with a distinct pre-Christmas feel, fall in Advent. These are associated with customs in various parts of the world:
- December 6th - St Nicholas (Santa Claus)
- December 8th - The Immaculate Conception.
- December 13th St Lucy/ Lucia
There is much more about Advent over at the Occupy Advent website.