Advent and Christmas are my two favourite times on the Liturgical Calendar, I love the preparation (both physical and spiritual) and I love the Celebration. They are times of reflection, renewal and rejoicing, what could be better.
Leading up to Christmas the physical preparations are pretty obvious and everyone does it (or most or some of the same), Christian and non-Christian. Clean the house a little extra clean, put up new curtains, put out those annoying throw cushions that mysteriously disappear at some point during the year, buy the groceries, etc. The spiritual preparations aren't so common.
I love to bring out my Advent Wreath every year and light the appropriate candles during my evening prayer time (many people light the candles during dinner), use the Magnificat Advent Companion in addition to my regular prayers. I pray the O Antiphons from the 17th, make the effort to attend Mass every Saturday during Advent (I already attend during the week and 1st Saturdays) and make an extra confession. This year I am inspired for this Year of Faith to do a little extra so this year I am going to be praying the St Andrew Novena and celebrating the feasts of Advent.
The St Andrew Novena is a big undertaking for me, I have prayed Novenas before, 9 short sweet days. I have even prayed the 54 Day Rosary Novena before and am currently praying one now. All that is a cake walk compared to St Andrew, this "Novena" is prayed from November 30 to Christmas Eve, 15 times a day. Yes the prayer is said 600 times over 25 days.
Celebrating the feasts of Advent is a great idea I got from Our Sunday Visitor but do not have a link to. On the 6th I am going to give candy and an extra collection in honour of St Nicholas. On the 8th I am going to attend Mass on the non-1st Saturday and I will pray a Novena on the 9 days prior in honour of the Immaculate Conception. All I have so far for Our Lady of Guadalupe is to eat Mexican on the 12th. On the 13th I will be lighting a candle and praying specially every time I pass by or see it in honour of St Lucy. The little things add up so hopefully my little will deepen my preparation and readiness for that wonderfully joyful season of Christmas
Two articles on celebrating Advent:- Keeping an Advent Attitude and How to Celebrate Advent in the Year of Faith.