My friend Marie has an app on her phone that counts down the days until Christmas. In a group text we are in with other friends, she regularly reminds us how many months, weeks, or days until Christmas. Usually these reminders come on the 25th of each month.
Most recently, we hit the “100 days until Christmas mark,” and we are now less than three months away from the birth of Jesus.
Marie sends these reminders because she loves Christmas. She also sends them to tease those who can’t think about the holiday until Dec. 1. (You should see their reactions! Ha!)
But there’s another reason why Marie sends out her reminders. And that is because she actually uses them to get ahead of the holiday hustle and bustle.
Hmmm … I think Marie is onto something.
Why do we cram everything into four short weeks?
We all know when Christmas is. Unlike Easter, the date never changes. We also know how much there is to do leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth. And despite this knowledge, we still leave the majority of our preparations until the Advent season.
This creates a tension in our hearts. We desperately want Advent to be a prayerful, quiet season that prepares us to truly welcome Baby Jesus into the manger of our hearts on Christmas Day. But that is confronted with a mile-long to-do list that seems impossible to complete.
Let’s try something new.
So, this year, what if we used the seven weeks we have until the beginning of Advent to check some things off of our long to-do list? We know what we need to do, so what if we just spread it out over the next several weeks and just did it?
Not only would we have more time for family, friends, and holiday traditions. But we also would have the opportunity to experience a more peaceful, prayerful Advent season.
Things to do now to ensure a more peaceful Advent season:
• Before the calendar fills up, schedule the things that matter most to your family. Say “no” to what is not essential.
• Select a couple feast days to celebrate this Advent. Gather supplies for a special dinner, dessert, or craft.
• Leave the Sundays of Advent open as sacred days of rest, prayer, and family time.
• Update your address list.
• Sift through photos, and select your favorites for your Christmas card.
• Order cards and stamps.
• Check last year’s Christmas lights.
• Buy new lights, if necessary.
• If you hang lights outside, go ahead and do it now, before it’s too cold. Just keep them off until Advent, or even until Gaudete Sunday!
• Select only your favorite cookies to bake. Limit it to two or three kinds to avoid overwhelm.
• Clean out the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Donate nonperishables to the local food shelf.
• Inventory baking supplies, and stock up on what you need.
• Make a list of people you want to shop for and gift ideas for each of them.
• Gather your wrapping supplies. Purchase new rolls of giftwrap, tape, and ribbon.
• Set a goal date (before Advent) for when you’d like your shopping to be done.
Let’s use our time wisely.
As of today, there are seven weeks until Advent, 50 days to be exact. Think of how much we could get done between now and then! Think of how this will free up our minds, hearts, and calendars, so we can enter more fully into the Advent season. Not only will we feel more prepared for Christmas, having checked so much off of our lists, we will be more ready to welcome the Newborn King when He is born into our hearts this Christmas.
Exclusively for my email friends, I have created a printable checklist for you to use while getting some Christmas to-dos done now! Simply join my community, and you will get it right away (plus a couple of fall print for you to enjoy this season).
What can you add to my list of things to do now for a peaceful Advent? Leave them in the comments below.
This article was first published at CatholicMom.com.