As much as possible, get your Christmas shopping done before Advent. Get the gifts wrapped and set aside too. Out of sight, out of mind!
As much as you want to start cranking the Christmas songs as soon as it starts feeling Christmassy (For us northerners, that feeling comes with the cool weather and especially the first snowfall… sometimes in September…) limit the Christmas songs. If you must, opt for more Adventy tunes such as “O Come O Come Emmanuel” or some others mentioned in this blog post.
Advent is not the same as Lent, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fast. So Fast like a Man.
Put up a nativity scene, but keep the manger empty of Jesus. Heck, keep out the shepherds and wise men too, they don’t come until later……and technically, Mary and Joseph don’t get there until the night of Jesus’ birth, so you might want to leave them out too. That just leaves the animals and the stable….but it’ll remind you of what all is to come!
Get an Advent wreath and light the candles and pray every night. This is how our family prayer time started and we continue the habit to this day. To the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, we sing the following lyrics:
Advent is a time to wait,
not quite time to celebrate.
Count the candles one-by-one,
until Advent time is done.
Day-by-day we work and pray,
to prepare for Christmas Day!
Set up your Christmas tree, if you must, but leave it undecorated. Then close to or on Christmas Eve, decorate it and leave it up until Epiphany! We cheat a little bit and set up the tree with only the lights on it. It looks pretty, but empty, and is a good reminder that we’re still in waiting.
Sign up with Dynamic Catholic for their Best Advent Ever! program! You don’t have to do anything but check your email every day and watch the video!
Find an Advent daily devotion. I’m sure you’ll find some on the pamphlet rack in your parish, or check out your nearest Catholic book store. These usually involve a short reflection, some scripture, and prayer and require that you devote a few moments daily to pray. Another idea is to journey through 33 Days to Morning Glory, a popular Marian consecration, timing it so that you complete it on January 1st, Solemnity of Mary Mother of God!
And last, but not least, journey through the Advent Liturgy in a small way each day by checking in with CatholicGentlemansGuide.com on our social media platforms as we post the Entrance Antiphon of each Mass through Advent. And once you’ve taken a moment of prayer and reflection, be sure to retweet and share so that more people can do Advent right! Click here to subscribe to our Twitter feed, or here to like our Facebook page!!
Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the comments and please have a Holy and Blessed Advent!