It’s hard to avoid holidays here in North America. We often complain that Halloween / Thanksgiving / Christmas decorations go up too early (frequently overlapping with the holiday before them). Yet despite this frenzy of decorating and celebrating, it can still be hard to get into the holiday mood. Especially for Christmas.
Advent is the season of preparation that the Church enters before Christmas. While stores break out their Christmas decorations in early November, Advent is the actually only the four Sundays before Christmas. And even with all the holiday reminders—or maybe in spite of this sensory overload!—I often still find it hard to get into the Christmas spirit.
Maybe November and December are weeks of hectic preparation for you… dashing to parties, baking cookies for annual exchanges, finding the perfect gifts, making your tree look Pinterest perfect, writing Christmas letters to all the family eagerly waiting to hear about your year.
Or maybe it’s hard to focus on Advent for different reasons. Maybe, like me, you have bad memories surrounding Christmas. Even as a teen, I struggled with depression through the holidays. Somehow in my childhood home, it wasn’t okay to be excited about presents—and sharing the deep desires of your heart could open you up for ridicule. Even as an adult, I’ve seen that presents can show someone how well you know them—or how little you do.
So I understand that Advent can be hard, whether for because of busyness or emotional baggage. And I know I’m not alone. Each year, I try to focus on the meaning of the season and preparing my heart for Jesus’ birth. Some things that help me do this are Christmas novels, Advent activities with my kids, and posts from fellow Catholic moms.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, start here:
- Christmas and Advent Reads for the 6-and-Under Crowd
- A Prayer Guide for Advent
- Celebrating Advent with a Jesse Tree
- 100 Simple Activities for Your Family’s Best Advent Ever
- 10 Favourite Advent Traditions
- How to Advent Like a Boss, Even When You’re Impatient
- How We Advent: a glimpse of what we do and why we do it
- How to Prepare Your Home for Advent, Even in the Chaos (Five Days of Advent Traditions for Catholic Families)
- Waiting for Christmas: Advent Traditions My Family Loves
- How to Create an Advent Candle Tradition with Your Children
- Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Activities for Your Home and Classroom
- Journaling Advent: Quieting the Bustle for Children (A Weekly Print Out)
- Awesome Advent Wreath Craft Ideas for Kids of All Ages
- Catholic Saints Books for Families: December
- 100+ Simple Catholic Advent Crafts and Activities for Kids
- Advent Resources for Children
- Intentional Holidays: How to Live the Next 5 Weeks without the Frenzy
Do you struggle with Advent and Christmas? What helps you celebrate the season?