1. Wear purple (except during Gaudete Sunday…that’s rose).
violent violet (thanks for the catch, Theresa!) / rose-colored items in your home and/or office —
- Home: towels, placemats, tablecloths, vases, flowers, blankets, pillows, sheets, coasters, aprons, dishes, cups…
- Office: Pencil/pen holder, folders, paper, pens/pencils, sticky notes, thumbtacks, paperclips…
You could even make your own decorations.
3. Make an Advent wreath, and at least ‘use it’ when you eat meals and/or pray. If fire frightens you, it doesn’t have to include real candles. My husband and I have LED candles due to apartment complex restrictions…I wrap the bottoms of them in appropriately-colored tissue paper.
4. Read something from Scripture daily or at least on Sundays. (I mean, go above and beyond hearing it at Mass.)
5. Read the Pope’s homily daily or at least on Sundays. Download the free Missio app for this, if you’re mobile-y inclined.
6. Make a spiritual goal for yourself each day. For example: I’m working on my self-discipline so that it’s easier for me to fight temptation toward laziness, gluttony, wasting time, speaking without thinking, etc., so one of my goals was to put away all my dirty dishes that day before doing anything else. Simple.
9. Place an empty manger in your home or in your office. It can be as simple as cutting a flap off a cardboard box and sticking something hay-like inside (ex: grass, yellow construction paper, gold tinsel).
10. Pray an Advent prayer.
12. Bake or cook something liturgically-seasonal. Catholic Cuisine blog has a fantastic collection of recipes and suggestions.
13. Go to Confession. Advent is a time of preparation not just for Christmas, but for the Second Coming of Christ. Are you ready?
14. Clean out your closet and donate — especially warm clothes and blankets — to a local charity for the homeless. Remember that Mary and Joseph had no place to stay when Jesus was born.
15. Donate food to a local food bank; or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Many such charities lack manpower during this time of year, when people are busy shopping, partying or staying home. Can you give just an hour? Try it.
16. Listen to Advent hymns like this one:
17. Schedule quiet time. That means taking time away from busy or noisy activities — TV, Facebook, Pinterest, shopping, etc.
18. Create a visual reminder of Heaven. Gather up all your holy cards with images of saints/angels and display them somewhere in your home or office. Let this remind you to prepare your heart for the Second Coming of Christ.
19. Pray for gift recipients as you wrap Christmas presents.
20. Anticipate conflicts or uncomfortable situations you may have with relatives or acquaintances whom you’ll see at Christmas parties, and pray for the grace to treat them with love and respect as Christ would.
21. Give to a crisis pregnancy center in memory of the Pregnant Blessed Mother.
22. Teach your children about how a baby grows inside his mother, and relate the lesson to the baby Jesus/Advent.
23. Participate in an ‘Angel Tree’ project within your parish or community, which encourages participants to purchase a gift for a local child in need.
24. Watch an Old Testament movie as a reminder of how God prepared humanity for a Savior. Check your local library system or favorite streaming video service.
Suggestions from me and my social media circles:
- The Ten Commandments (1956)
- Prince of Egypt (1998)
- Joseph in Egypt (1995)
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999)
- One Night with the King (2006)
- The Book of Esther (2013)
- The Book of Ruth (2009)
25. Bake bread. Remember, and teach your family, that Jesus was born in Beth-Lehem (House of Bread) in a stable and laid in a feeding trough. He is the Bread of Life. Here’s a simple recipe for olive oil matzah.
26. Meditate on pregnant Mary singing to unborn baby Jesus. Imagine her feelings, her mindset, her union with God’s will, and her anticipation. Listen to this ancient Aramaic lullaby as you meditate.
27. Pray a Rosary and unite your heart with Mary and Joseph’s.
28. Pray as a family in imitation of the Holy Family. Daily family prayer is ideal, but if that sounds intimidating, try just once a week. Keep it simple; praying together is what matters.
29. Educate yourself about Advent, and pass your knowledge on to family and friends. Here’s a summary of 10 things to know about Advent.
30. Cultivate joy in your life. Don’t let our money-hungry, noisy, busy society pressure you so much that you cave into stress. Advent is a time for healthy preparation and prayerfulness. Remind yourself daily that God loves you so much that He sent you His Son—to be your Savior, Friend, Teacher, Comforter, Healer, and King. Let Advent be a time to renew your friendship with Jesus…and in the process, renew your joy.
Well, that’s my brainstorm. How are you celebrating Advent?