Written by Etienne Figueroa
With the change in liturgy and with the growing commercialism of Christmas, it's time for an official plan of attack. Follow these steps to win our Christmas back:
1. Take responsibility.
This may come off as a little unusual for a first step, but think about it for a moment: the only reason why stores put their Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving (and in growing numbers, before Halloween) is because they think it will make them more money. If we give them money for it, we are enabling their behavior. Before we can ask others to change, we must change ourselves.
2. Follow your family's old traditions.
If you don't know them, learn about them. Even if you don't understand them at first, there's most likely a reason why they have existed as long as they have.
3. Don't put your decorations up until the start of Advent.
Do I really need to explain this one?
4. Don't buy anything the day after Thanksgiving.
If emergencies happen or you want to pay off a bill, then okay, but nothing retail related. Buying on Black Friday will only breed crass consumerism, greed and un-Christian behavior. So, don't buy anything--it just encourages them.
5. Observe all of Advent.
One of the smartest things I've ever read about Advent and Christmas came from an article on AmericanCatholic.org (which was part of the inspiration for this list). In the article, it compared the season to a buffet, with Advent as the main course and Christmas as the dessert. It further stated that too often stores want us to skip the dinner and go right to desert, and as we all know, too much desert makes someone sick.
Advent is supposed to be a time of preparation for Christmas, and Christmas is not supposed to be for just one day. It is supposed to last from Christmas Day until the Epiphany (aka Baptism of the Lord).
So put up not just the lights and the tree, but also the Advent Wreath and Nativity Scene.
6. Attend Mass on at least ALL the Holy Days of Obligation.
This means Dec 8th, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Epiphany but can also include Dec 6th (St Nicholas Day) as well as Dec. 12 (Our Lady of Guadalupe). If you want to attend more often, you are greatly encouraged to do so.
7. If you are going to buy gifts, be sure said gifts are made in America or make something yourself.
This isn't so much Christmas related but it is a a way to bring jobs and revenue back to America. Economists say if we just buy 1% more American goods, we can create 200,000 jobs right here at home. And who knows? Perhaps if you make something yourself, you might discover a talent you didn't know you had.
8. For home cooks out there, consider making your goods with produce from a co-op and with Fair Trade ingredients.
This goes especially for any recipe that calls for chocolate and/or coffee. More information on Fair Trade can be found with this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_h99DDa39E
9. Arm yourself.
Tired of not hearing "Merry Christmas" at a store? Frustrated over the fact you can't find any religious themed Christmas cards? This can help you out with that.
Catholic Daughter's Court #2554 sells online little buttons that say "It's Okay to Say Merry Christmas to Me." ChristisChristmas.com sells paper Christmas cards or if you prefer online greetings, sign up for e-cards at catholicgreetings.org. And of course, it's easy to find car magnets for the Knights of Columbus "Keep Christ in Christmas" campaign.
10. Join Advent Conspiracy.