The difficulty is that Advent is a time of penance and expected waiting, not celebration. Our kids have an Advent calendar courtesy of generous grandparents, but it's all simple things like crackers and candies, and they also got Bible verses to go along with every day, lest we forget what it is we're waiting for.
Nunc est bibendum! Traditionally, the feast of St. John on December 27 was the big day for wine, but once again there seems to be an increasingly sloppy blurring of the two seasons.
Commercial outfits are motivated by and interested in one thing: moving product. There's nothing wrong with that.... our publishing company has a wonderful Advent book for this time of year:
Advent has a real danger of becoming overloaded with gifts, especially if we add in treats for St. Nicholas's feast, the ever-more popular "let's just exchange Christmas gifts now because we won't be seeing each other during the holidays", and even Hanukkah presents from our Jewish family and friends. Some of this can't be helped. But it seems like if we're not getting gifts, we're thinking about gifts, running around purchasing gifts, worrying about gifts, wrapping gifts.
No one described this pre=Christmas tension with better wit than the great C. S. Lewis, in "Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus."
Let's make sure we Niatirbians-in-spirit maintain a bit of restraint in this penitential season so we can show up with bright shining faces to Mass on December 25th.