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Decorating for Advent

October 26th, 2008 · 4 Comments

It’s almost that time of year. Oh let’s face it, it will be here tomorrow at the rate the days have been zipping by. I wanted to share a couple of ideas I have for decorating for Advent. As a Catholic parent I will confess, that I find it difficult….impossible?….to hold the line against the onslaught of Christmas throughout Advent. I really try to observe Advent myself and to teach my children about the difference between Advent and Christmas. I’ve even suggested that we not actually light the Christmas lights on the Christmas tree and the outside decorations until….Christmas. This suggestion was not met with any sort of approval and it didn’t help that my husband was just as disapproving of the idea as my children.

So. I have tried to compromise. If you are the perfect Catholic parent, you may stop reading right now because what follows will likely only irritate you. I salute you and maybe someday I will be like you but in the meantime…I have figured out a way to have Advent lights and Christmas lights and if you are interested in trying this too, you need to get busy and order what you might not have.

What I do is take one string of purple lights and one string of white lights and make them into “one” string by using tie-wraps. With these single strings of purple and white lights, you can decorate as usual but just plug in the purple side during Advent. At midnight on Christmas eve, you unplug the purple strings and plug in the white side which is ready to go. Voila! Christmas lights. We’ve done this for the past couple of years and other than the whining I endure from the children who must have multi-colored lights or die, it’s worked well. (I simply tell the children that if they are willing to wait until Christmas to have multi-colored lights, then they can have them. If they want lights on all through Advent, they can do it my way.)

This year we are adding an Advent wreath to our lawn. I found a place that was willing to substitute purple and pink lights into a lighted candle shaped lawn ornament for me. I’ll use garland to make a lawn-sized wreath with the Advent candles. Just in case you were looking for ideas…

Tags: Homeschool · Personal · Family · Feast Days

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 marika // Oct 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    one thing I used to do as a kid : we set up the manger scene/creche, but we would start all the “characters” all over the house (mary, joseph and a donkey would start in the kitchen, wise men and dromedaries started in the attic, shepherds were watching sheep in someone’s bedroom, angels in the bathroom etc etc.) and every day during advent we would move the pieces closer to the living room creche, with the wise men not arriving until epiphany…

    and the youngest in the family was responsible for hiding baby jesus until christmas and sometime after midnight mass would be the first one in the house to put baby jesus in the manger …


  • 2 Sister Spitfire // Oct 26, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Marika. We do that too….well only the wisemen move toward the creche…but somehow my children have never really taken to that much. We also have one of those advent calendars where you add one character each day to the scene and when they were much younger my children fought like cats and dogs over that! Ahh…the joys of parenting. No good deed goes unpunished.

  • 3 Charles Sommer // Oct 26, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I love the dual light thing. I don’t think I could pull it off this year, but it is interesting. We have 3 different Advent countdowns, one of which is from Fontini and has you setting up the Christmas scene. We do have fights as well…..
    Have a good evening, and I’ll send you the article tomorrow. Back to grading…

  • 4 Marissa // Nov 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I understand you trying to avoid the onslaught of Christmas. I thought I would share something that I think is a lovely way of “getting your fill” while still in the act of “preparing” for Christ. Instead of decorating all at once. Set aside a day of the week in which the entire family does a certain amount of decorating. Make the last sunday in Advent the day you put the lights on the tree. On Christmas Eve make a big ceremony out of turning the lights on the Christmas tree. Our family is strict German Catholic, my father grew up with no Chrsitmas decorations until Christmas eve, in which the family put up the Christmas tree. If you have trouble convincing your family to forego this. Try showing them just what kind of society we have become when we insist on being gratified right away. Also, try setting up an advent wreath. If the kids look forward to lighting an advent wreath it will keep their minds preoccupied. We also grew up with advent calendars. We did not get candy growing up….but we got one piece for each day in advent. Also, remind them that advent is akin to Lent. Maybe giving up a little time before the decorations go up can be part of your penance. I don’t know if any of these ideas help you….but good luck!!!

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