Saturday, December 02, 2006

Advent

This year I was in the garden centre on 5th November (Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night!) and they were playing Christmas music and there was an extremely tacky jiving Father Christmas display. ON THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER?!?! Then I drove home to Newark on Thursday evening and discovered that the Christmas lights were on in the main shopping area (NOVEMBER 30TH!). That lunchtime there was an interview on the BBC news with the parents of a young baby, in their home was a large Christmas tree and the baby was playing with baubles and a cracker. It wasn't even December then! This is mad, it starts earlier and earlier every year.

When I was little my great-uncle (who always came to us for Christmas) used to ask if we'd got any parties lined up for the days between Christmas and New Year. We never had as we'd already been to loads. When he was little you spent Advent preparing for Christmas and then celebrated Christmas at Christmas and for the days afterwards. Which seems much more sensible to me. Now everything goes flat immediately after Christmas. I can't help thinking that, even if you're not Christian and don't celebrate Christmas as a religious festival, but a form of winter festival, the whole starting early thing is just more crazy commercialism.

I hate getting to Christmas and not wanting to sing carols because we've already been singing them for four weeks already (what happened to those beautiful Advent hymns?!). We never used to put our tree up at home until the Saturday before Christmas. This Christmas will be my first Christmas in my new house and I've invited my family round to spend it with me, but the decorations ain't going up until 23rd! I was considering boycotting all shops that had Christmas music and Christmas displays up before December, then realised that I'd have to starve for all of December.

One old lady at church told me that she saw Advent as a time of penitence and preparation (much like Lent). And I'm going to work through an Advent book in the hope of being able to think along those lines instead of getting depressed about the too early Christmas stuff (Hope That Transforms - daily readings for Advent and Christmas). Some practical preparations have had to be made. I have bought my Christmas cards, although I haven't written any yet. And I enjoy the early preparations - making the cake, puddings and mincemeat. I tend to buy presents for family over a few months anyway to spread the cost out, and, obviously, knitted presents need starting earlier! ;-) I like Advent as the beginning of a new year and a time of hope (which contrasts nicely with the increasingly dark days and lack of light) and the feeling that things are going to get better.

So, have a good Advent!

12 comments:

Amy said...

Imagine my horror when I went into my local Costco, a large discount retailer, last August and saw they were already selling Christmas decorations. In AUGUST.

I like the idea of carrying the celebration past Christmas instead. You're right--everything goes flat as soon as Christmas is over.

Nic said...

I completely agree with you. It is going mad and in my mind is all to do with commercialisation. We are going to the Christingle service at the church in my village tomorrow. We used to go every year when we were little.
I think the wishing thing is puddings and I daren't make one because that's my Auntie's job!!
Happy advent indeed.
x

Carol said...

How right you are. No wonder we seem to be becoming a bunch of Scrooges. Christmas starting in August!! I wholeheartedly agree that advent is a time of prepartion and the days between Christmas and New Year are the days that should be set aside for family and paries.
Enjoy your preparations. Mine are well under way!!

Hope you are feeling heaps better now that you are tonsil free!! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Anne said...

I "observed" Advent for the first time last year by reading the Hopeful Imagination blog:
http://hopefulimagination.blogspot.com/

(Wow! the verification word is dasyi !!!)

Mary Anne said...

Back in the 50s (yes I am that old), my parents put the tree up three weeks before Christmas day, and there were christmas tunes on the radio and record player for the month of December. My mom & grandma baked puddings and cakes in late Oct. and stored them away. I have always loved Christmas, the earlier the better. I don't mind all the commercialism, I just ignore what I'm not interested in. I celebrate until mid-January, when our tree finally comes down. my husband calls me Christmas Girl :)

Marie said...

hear, hear!

angie cox said...

Ageed Daisy, did you notice the baby stuffing delicate decorations in it's mouth whilst it's parents took no notice. In fact the reporter was the only one to pull her hand away.Let's face it Hot Cross buns will be on sale in January!

acrylik said...

I totally agree with you, apart from the baking, nothing gets Christmassy in this house until Christmas Eve, and we like it that way!

Silvia said...

I am not religous but I am traditional. Christmas for me does not start until the 1st December and that's it. My decorations won't go up until the Sunday before Christmas. I work in retail and if I were to take to much notice of the way and time 'they' want us to start preparing for christmas. It be over an done with. Christmas should be used to spend time with famile for reflection and of course celebration but never ever to spend as much and as fast as possible. It is sad that by the afternoon on Christmas day so many people say..okay christmas ove.

Jamie said...

I'm an Orthodox Christian (a convert, I was raised Protestant) and we do observe Advent and then celebrate for the 12 days following. It is so much nicer, I think, than celebrating from August through December. I think it is all driven by candy sales, LOL.

One year we went to 12 Days of Christmas feast at a Medieval reenactment village. Costumes, period food and entertainment, it was a lovely time.

Happy Advent

Rain said...

You missed the christmas trees in Woolies in August. I hate shopping in December - people tend to go loony and don't get me started on christmas music...

I don't blame you for removing yourself from it a little.

Farli said...

Hello,

Glad you have recovered somewhat from surgery (and glad it has finally happened).

I thoroughly approve of your atttude to advent. My advent is only non-Christmassy because I am too busy to think about it, but if I had time, then I would be actively being non-Christmassy. Does that make any sense?

I may call you in the next few days to catch up properly.