My name is Haley (“Hi, Haley”) and I am an insufferable liturgical year stickler. I have spent the last 10 years doing Advent PROPERLY and not jumping the gun on Christmas until the actual season of Christmas. I have Advent playlists so we don’t start listening to Christmas music until the actual season. We save all the Christmas decorating and Christmas movies for the 12 days of Christmas. We have been known to sometimes wait til Christmas Eve to get our Christmas Tree. And as a result my children are liturgical year snobs who roll their eyes in the grocery store when the Christmas stuff is out when it’s “NOT EVEN ADVENT YET, MOM! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!”
“Christmas doesn’t start until December 25th. You’ll soon get used to the way things are done here. Properly.”
I have basically been the Lady Mary Crawley of Advent without even the slightest desire to break the “rules.” But this year, y’all, this year is different. Just call me Buddy the Elf because I want to just dive head first into Christmas. When the clock struck midnight on Halloween I started to feel the Christmas itch. Put up the lights! Make paper snowflakes! Add maple syrup to pasta! (OK, so not that last one.) And it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!
What’s wrong with me? I’ve honestly never felt this push for Christmas glee weeks ahead of schedule. But I don’t think I’m the only one experiencing this. With a 2017 that felt like it was planned by dementors, “a grim mood has gripped the country.”
But in all seriousness, mass shootings, political….politics (let’s just leave it at that shall we), the threat of nuclear war, and just a sense of helpless despair seems to be hovering over the nation. So I don’t think I’m the only one that needs some Christmas, folks. I am ready as heck to get my caroling on. I’m in need of some freaking yuletide joy.
BUT I also don’t want to skip Advent which is always my favorite season of the liturgical year (and I still think there’s something valuable about following the wisdom of the Church in preparing ourselves for the Incarnation the way Christians have for hundreds of years). So instead of just stuffing it and skipping right to Christmas, I’m shifting my focus this year. In year’s past I’ve focused on the facet of Advent that I’ve desperately needed (usually quiet or expectation). This Advent I’m focusing on joyful hope, because I think that’s what’s in order.
If you’re with me on really feeling the urge to start the Christmas party, but also don’t want to skip past the important season of Advent, here’s some ideas:
–Have fun with the beautiful traditions of Advent. Embrace that Nativity Scene! If you are not like me (AKA allergic to things involving daily consistency and many small pieces that are prone to get lost under your couch), set up that Jesse Tree! Advent isn’t a season of doom and gloom, after all.
–Take care of Christmas gifts early. I like to get this done before Advent every year because then there’s more space to focus on Advent and relieve some of the hustle and bustle. But this year it’s helping me scratch that Christmas itch. We keep gift giving pretty simple but I ordered books and board games for my kids and even got real wrapping paper this year (by my talented friend Katherine, you must check it out). And I might even watch Love Actually, my gift-wrapping tradition a few weeks early. I even splurged on stockings (we’ve never had them before!) because this will be our first Christmas with a mantle in 9 years.
–Don’t forget all the beauty of Advent. One thing that helps me save the Christmas music for Christmas is all the beautiful Advent music out there. Skipping straight to the Christmas stuff means missing out on the Advent goodness. I like to think of Advent as a candle in the window waiting for the guest (Our Lord) to arrive. There is something so hopeful and joyful about shining a light in the darkness, something so brave.
–Balance observing Advent with enjoying the joyful things your soul needs. Go see The Nutcracker! Watch a Christmas movie if you’re itching to. Decorate earlier than you have in the past if ya must. And don’t feel bad about it. Because decorating your tree before Christmas Eve isn’t a mortal sin. This year we may fudge a few things and I’m not going to sweat it.
I’m not exactly sure what this Advent of joyful hope will look like, but I do know it involves hot cocoa with the tiny marshmallows on top. And Advent candles, OF COURSE!
One of my family’s favorite Advent traditions is lighting Advent candles each night at dinner. Since Benjamin was a baby we’ve been ordering these beautiful 100% beeswax Advent candles from Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. And they also have gorgeous solid Advent candles.
When the kids got old enough, we started getting the Advent candle kits.
It’s the world’s easiest fun kids project for uncrafty moms like me. And this year Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles is giving a kit away to two lucky Carrots readers!
My kids LOVE preparing for Advent by making the candles each year. Look at these little goofballs all ready to craft!
And even four-year-old Gwen barely needed any help. I’m telling you, easiest craft ever.
And she’s been upgraded from bandage to bandaid! That’s a brand new fingertip poking out, folks. The human body is amazing. (Didn’t hear about the time she severed her fingertip? Read all about it, folks.)
Miraculously, no one argued about what color candle they wanted to make.
Is Benjamin a teenager? Good grief. Can we flash back to a few years ago when I had a one-year-old with Rapunzel hair and a barely three-year-old Lucy?
My. word. We go way back with Toadily Handmade. I am such a huge fan of this company. Their candles are beautiful and 100% beeswax which is very important to me. And lucky you, they’re offering a 10% off discount code: ADVENT10. It’s good through November 15th, so be sure to order your Advent candles in time to enjoy the discount!
Giveaway! (NOW CLOSED)
Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
(Only for Carrots readers in the United States and Canada for shipping reasons)
1. Mandatory entry: Visit the Toadily Handmade website and then come back and leave a comment at Carrots telling us about your favorite candles.
2. Additional entry: Follow Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles on Instagram and leave an additional comment saying you did.
2. Additional entry: Visit Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles on Facebook and leave an additional comment saying you did.
3. Additional entry: Pin this post to Pinterest and leave an additional comment saying you did.
I will choose the winners by random number generator. Giveaway ends on Sunday, November 12th at midnight EST. Good luck, friends!!
And don’t forget you can use the discount code ADVENT10 through November 15th to get a 10% discount so head on over to make your order.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Review and giveaway items were provided by Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. All opinions are my own. I only promote products I would purchase myself and I love giving away wonderful things to my readers!