Advent/Christmas Calendar

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Advent/Christmas Calendar


Yes! to Jesus & Joy
No! to Stress & Stuff

Calendar for Advent and Christmas [cycle C]

This year we pledge to refuse to have our holy day subverted by advertising. Instead of stressing and fretting over stuff, we will focus on the joy of meeting the real needs of others and ourselves.

As a family, we will investigate worthwhile causes and organizations to support with money we collect. We'll choose a percentage early in the season (from 25% to 100%). Then we'll give that amount every time we spend any money for Christmas (even if it's for food, decorations, etc.) - in addition to the amount we normally give away. We'll decorate a can to hold the money and put it on display. 20 bucks on a tree? Then $ __ goes in the can. This money is not a penalty but a way to help our need to help others. We'll donate the money on Epiphany, the day the Magi offered their gifts to Jesus.


Oct. 1 or Nov. 1 - Call a family meeting talk about Christmas expectations. What do each of us really want? Who is going to do what? What is really most meaningful? Are we willing to spend less on ourselves and give more to the needy? Write down and post decisions and changes to consider. In advance, order a Christmas Campaign Kit from Alternatives (800/821-6153). Then use "Let's Talk about Christmas" at the meeting.

Oct. 24 - Participate in Take Back Your Time Day. Visit TimeDay.org Slow down. Changes require prayer, thought and time. Make time for what's most important.

Nov. 27 - Thanksgiving Day (USA). Think "thanks" and "giving," not "television" and "gluttony."

28 - Participate in International Buy Nothing Day on this, the biggest shopping day of the year, by doing no shopping, by writing a letter to the editor promoting sustainability. Visit www.Adbuster.org or call 800-663-1243.

29 - Advent Eve. Familiarize yourself with Alternatives' Christmas Campaign Kit (CCK). Parts of it will be suggested for use throughout Advent.

For another Advent-Christmas calendar based on interesting, timely articles to read on the web, visit
SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives >> Advent/Christmas Calendars: e-Treasures

For a Advent-Christmas calendar based on giving options, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives >> Advent/Christmas Calendars >> General - Birthday Gift for Jesus

Nov. 30 - Sunday, Advent 1. Read & meditate on Jer. 33:14-16; Ps. 25:1-10; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some Carols with Justice (CCK) Discuss the best place to post the "Whose Birthday" bumpersticker. (CCK) Bumper? Bulletin board? Refrigerator? Front door?

Dec. 1 - Advent was originally a time of self-examination. Take a few moments to think about and write down three hopes you have for this Advent. Place your list along with the lists of other household members in a sealed envelope.

2 - If you plan to decorate a tree this season, consider purchasing a live root tree. Have a tree planting ceremony for the new year to give thanks for the blessings of the season. (Ask your local nursery for planting tips.)

3 - Attend a local Alternatives Fair - even if it's not at your church - to buy crafts and clothing from developing countries or to give money to worthwhile agencies in others' names. If your community does not have such a fair, consider helping to organize one next year.

4 - Count each light you use to decorate this Christmas. Give 10¢ for each.

5 - Vote with your dollars. Buy from locally owned businesses and locally grown food, even if it means by-passing items that are out-of-season.

6 - Today is Saint Nicholas Day. To learn more about the story of Bishop Nicholas, visit www.StNicholasCenter.org

7 - Sunday, Advent 2. Read & meditate on Mal. 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Phil. 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6. Share the reflection for this day in-"Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some Carols with Justice (CCK). Discuss "Buy Me Nothing- I'll Still Love You." (CCK)

8 - Think about the gifts you plan to give this Christmas. Would you feel uncomfortable if Jesus was present during your gift-sharing?

9 - Step outside the mainstream media. It exists primarily to sell more stuff. Pledge to read, watch or listen to at least one form of alternative media each week. Share a subscription to an alternative magazine, like Sojourners or The Other Side, with a friend or relative.

10 - Let Christmas be a beginning to "Close the loop" at home, work, school, church. Buy products made of recycled materials. For help use the National Green Pages or visit www.GreenPages.org

11 - Make a list of the things you would like to receive. Include alternative gifts such as the gift of someone's time or a donation to a hunger project. Give $1 for every "luxury" item on your list.Give $1 for every non-material gift you hope to receive.

12 - JOY stands for Jesus, Others and Yourself. Joy happens when all three come together in a relationship. Others include people, animals and the environment. Stuff can distract us from Joy.

13 - Be in touch with nature through eco-friendly hiking and gardening. Be awed by natural wonders large and small, like sunsets and compost worms.

14 - Sunday, Advent 3. Read & meditate on Zeph. 3:14-20; Isa. 12:2-6; Phil. 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some Carols with Justice (CCK). Discuss "Bearing Gifts Does Not Make Us Wise." (CCK)

15 - Today people in Mexico celebrate the festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a celebration popular with the poor and Native Americans. Learn more about this holiday.

16 - Instead of sending Christmas cards, make a card that shares your concerns as you anticipate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Invite others to sign it and mail it to a political leader.

17 - Practice the 5-R's - reduce, reuse, recycle, restore, respond. Practice the "Halving Principle," cut use of stuff in half. Use water, electricity and fossil fuels wisely and conservatively. For example, use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They require only 25% of the energy that incandescent bulbs do.

18 - Tend to health--Spiritual: pray, meditate, spiritualize life. Mental and intellectual: journal, avoid media overload. Physical: exercise, eat organic.

19 - Think not only about year end contributions, but also about-Socially Responsible Investing-SRI. For help visit www.socialfunds.com

20 - Share a skill. Pledge to teach a child to garden or bake, a teenager to do home repairs or prepare taxes.

21 - Sunday, Advent 4. Read & reflect on the Promises in Micah 5:2-5a; Ps. 80:1-7; Heb. 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45, especially 1:47-55 (the Song of Mary). Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some Carols with Justice (CCK). Discuss "What Is a Gift?" (CCK)

22 - The biggest shopping binge of the year creates an enormous amount of waste. Keep track of how many bags of garbage you have this week and give $1 for each bag.

23 - Take some time to look through photographs of past Christmases. What do you see and remember? Choose one photo and share a favorite story that it brings to mind.

24 - Christmas Eve. Read and meditate on Isa. 9:2-7; Ps. 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-4 (15-20). Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some Carols with Justice (CCK). Play "The Christmas Game." (CCK)

25 - Christmas Day. Read & meditate at dawn on Isaiah 62:6-12; Titus 3:4-7; &/or Luke 2: (1-7) 8-20. Later read & meditate on Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-4(5-12); &/or John 1:1-14.Christmas does not end at midnight December 25th! The 12 days of Christmas are just beginning. The great festival of Epiphany is not far off. Don't take down your decorations. Don't put away your manger scene. Continue your Christmas journey and joyous celebration.

26 - Read Acts 6-7. Today is Boxing Day, the day we remember St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Fill a box with food or clothing and give it to someone in need.

27 - When have your friends, neighbors and relatives been a blessing to you? Give 50¢ for each situation you can remember.

28 - Holy Family Sunday (Christmas 1). Read and meditate on 1 Sam. 2:18-20, 26; Col. 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some Carols with Justice (CCK). Discuss your feelings about the changes you made this year.

Honor Holy Innocents Day. Read Matthew 2:1-18. Where are children in danger today? Pray for the children of the world.

29 - Visualize yourself talking to God face-to-face. Name five blessings in your life that are not things. Donate a generous amount for each.

30 - Acknowledge all Creation as God's. Vow not to abuse Creation. See God's work in Nature, even in the dead of winter.

31 - New Year's Eve. Make some time to be quiet during the evening. Alone or with others express three hopes for the coming year: for yourself, your country, and your world. Give $1 for each hope for peace.

January 1 - New Year's Day. Open the envelope containing your lists of hopes for Advent. Think about or discuss with those in your household: How were my hopes realized this Advent? What would I do differently? Give 50¢ for each hope

2 - In some ways Christmas is fading, isn't it? Choose a part of Christmas to carry into this new year with you. Share your plans at dinner.

3 - List occasions for which you might give a gift - birthday, wedding, etc. Give $1 for every occasion. What "alternative" gifts would be both appropriate and reflect the values you want to share?

4 - Sunday, Christmas 2. Read and meditate on Jer. 31: 7-14; Ps. 147: 12-20; John 1:10-18. If you celebrate Epiphany today, share that reflection in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some carols from Carols with Justice (CCK).

5 - If you have selected a local organization to give your "giving can" money to, call and ask when you can bring your donation. Schedule a time in January to volunteer there.

6 - Epiphany. Read & meditate on Matt. 2:1-12; Ep. 3:1-12. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Sing some carols from Carols with Justice (CCK). Discuss your plans for the coming year, including next Advent and Christmas.

Offer the money you have been saving to the cause of your choice.

The addresses for many helpful, worthy organizations are available here.

For a list of other valuable web sites, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives >> Lent Calendar 2003.php and SimpleLivingWorks.org >> About Us >> Links

This calendar was composed from ideas from past calendars (Cycle C). All of those calendars and other resources listed here are also available on one CD-ROM (along with many other resources for Easter, weddings, etc.), "Simply the Best: Over 30 Years of Alternatives".

©Creative Commons (originally 2003 Alternatives for Simple Living)
Make as many copies as you choose on a not-for-profit basis. This Advent/Christmas calendar - based on liturgical Cycle C (Luke) - is appropriate as bulletin inserts and in Spanish.

Updated 4 Nov. 2015

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