It seems that for some the Christmas decorations go up as soon as the poppies for the remembrance Sunday are laid.
There can be heated arguments on social media that “It’s only November.” Then the moment December comes slowly at first and then with greater force the streets and homes becoming festive in appearance.
And I worry that I look like Scrooge. I’m not as strict as one of my uncles. He and his family would only put the decorations up on Christmas Eve with the radio playing “Nine Lessons and Carols” from King’s College in the background.
But if not then when? Often it comes down to a mixture of practicalities and theory. My theory is to wait until around December 17. This does not mean my house is completely bare at the moment.
We have advent calendars. The main one, while I know what will be behind the final window it does not stop the excitement and the need to restrain myself from having a peek. The second one is more fun and while not chocolates, does have toys to make from electrical circles. Last year I made a radio!
There is also the advent candle, burning down the days acting as a visible countdown to the celebration and alongside it the advent ring, each week having a new candle lit until eventually there is whole bright array. The candles light up my painting for this year’s card and there is a sense in the house that everything is about to happen and when it does it will be exciting.
However, there is also the practical reason why the decorations are not up. Finding the time in the busy days of December is hard.
While so far, we have not had a winter snowfall. There is that sense of meetings, visits, activities all being urgent in case the weather changes. There is little time for seasonal colds or incidents, and yet these happen as well and clearing the space in the diary for the tree, card, lights etc is as hard as clearing the physical space to fit them in.
Advent for me is therefore a reminder to look at my priorities in life, what do I need to make the space for, how will I properly get ready, and certainly try and avoid leaving it until it is too late. (I’ve noticed in all the above I didn’t include sorting out presents and the like!)
Fundamentally for me, it’s not so much getting the decorations up that will make my home Christmassy. It is more making sure that I don’t fall to the inn keepers trap of having no room in my home for Jesus and putting him outside with the animals rather than inside with those I hold dear.