Why We Wait to Decorate

By Sarah McDonald

As I drove through town the week before Thanksgiving, I noticed not one or two but several homes decked out with their Christmas decor. 

I have become accustomed to stores and other commercial outlets decking their halls on November 1, but it was the first time I noticed so many homes moving so quickly to decorate.

I will admit, the sight of early Christmas decorations brought a smile to my lips and to my heart, for I am not one to get rushed or anxious about Christmas. I love every minute of it and appreciate how families have their own traditions for the holiday season. Interestingly enough, despite my joy at seeing the Christmas décor early, one of my family favorites is that we wait to decorate doing it in phases waiting until last to decorate our Christmas tree.

As a child, we always waited until mid-December to decorate (for the record, early December is chocked full of birthdays from my grandfather and uncle to sister and mom and godmother, so I think that played into the delay just a bit), and it is something my husband and I have adopted for our own family.

Here’s how it plays out:

First Sunday of Advent: break out the Advent calendar and Advent wreath.

Second Sunday of Advent: decorate the exterior of the house (so the neighbors don’t think we are home to the Grinch Family ).

Third Week of Advent (aka Rose Sunday, Gaudete Sunday): decorate the tree and interior of the house. This is also the weekend we bring the Christ child from our Nativity to be blessed in honor of “Bambinelli Sunday” celebrating our Italian heritage.

Fourth Sunday of Advent: I might just have a few presents wrapped under the tree to surprise the kids adding to the excitement and anticipation of the season.

We find that spreading out the seasonal activities extends the celebration and gives the children and us something to look forward to. It is nice for us to have the Advent season become one of real anticipation, even as we look ahead to the long celebrations of Christmas that start on December 24 and extend all the way until the Epiphany.

(Sidenote, while we are talking about seasons, let’s all just agree to hold the king cake until Jan. 6 – the feast of the Epiphany that ends Christmas when the Three Wise Men visited baby Jesus – shall we?)

What are your favorite family Advent and Christmas traditions?

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