Next week is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the time of preparation for Christ's birth at Christmas. It is a time to prepare for Christmas as a spiritual time. This can be very difficult to do in today's materialistic society, but it is worth doing. This year, with our economy in tatters, more people are scaling back on the materialistic aspect of Christmas anyway. This may be a good opportunity to rethink our preparation for the Holy Season of Christmas.
There's a saying in many 12 step groups that can be applied to the pre-Christmas season in the West today: Take what you like and leave the rest. If a tradition helps you prepare spiritually for Christmas, keep it. If it doesn't, toss it.
I like to decorate for Advent. I put up my creche without the Baby, my Advent wreath, my Mary statue without the Infant, a couple of groups of 4 purple votive candles, and a group of 4 purple Christmas balls. All that purple, along with the creche, reminds me that Advent is here, and is a spiritual time.
Whatever you feel called to do this year, do it with the focus on Christ--Christ coming into your heart so that you can be a healing balm to others.