It's hard to miss the decorations and carols that have been out in full force since even before Thanksgiving. With society's focus already on Christmas it's easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about Advent. Sure, we have the Advent wreath out but aside from that most of our decorations for the season are Santas, snowmen, and gingerbread cookies. While I love the pieces we've collected, none of them bring our focus to Advent.
Today I found a wonderful online radio station featuring music specifically for the Advent season. It even says, "A Christmas-free zone until Christmas Eve." How opposite that is from several other stations who began playing Christmas music right after Thanksgiving and will stop the day after Christmas! I think people forget that the 12 days of Christmas starts on Christmas.
Next year, when the kids are better able to understand, I hope to have a Jesse Tree. As we are quickly running out of space in our home, a small, separate tree just wouldn't work for us. I like the idea of putting up our regular tree, stringing it with purple/blue lights and hanging our Jesse Tree ornaments on it daily. Putting on our family ornaments the last Sunday of Advent and plugging in sparkling white lights on Christmas day.
If I had more energy this year I'd put up wreaths with purple ribbons, and maybe some glass containers with purple (and a few pink) stones with candles. One tradition of my mothers was to put up the nativity scene and slowly add pieces as the story of Christmas unfolds. She also has a small, empty manger that she would fill with straw and place on the hearth to be filled by a smiling baby Jesus when we woke on Christmas morning. I hope to have several traditions such as these in my own family, celebrating the season as a season, and not just decorated anticipation for one day.