Attending a Christmas party during Advent

My teens recently attended a semiformal Christmas dance hosted by homeschool group. They had so much fun. And, it was nice for me to have the opportunity to send them to a dance in which all the kids were dressed modestly, the music was not morally offensive, the dancing was innocent, and the conversation was wholesome.

When we committed to homeschooling, one of my objectives was to provide more wholesome alternatives to traditional kids’ celebrations, e.g.,an All Saints Day party, a St. Valentines’ Party, So, I was thrilled to have a dance to send my kids to that didn’t have lewd dancing, or showgirl dresses.

But, a couple of parents I know didn’t send their kids because it was a Christmas party in the middle of Advent. Actually, most Christmas parties are during Advent, so I’ve been thinking about this. When I taught ccd, the last day before break was Gaudete Sunday, so I would have a Gaudete party instead of a Christmas party like the other classes did. As a family, we put up our Christmas tree on Gaudete Sunday, telling the kids, we are turning our Advent to a time of joyful anticipation.

I grew up in a nominally Catholic home and was very poorly catechized, so I feel like I’m learning how to live like a Catholic as we go. I’m finding it an exhausting exercise sometimes, though in the beginning, it was so much fun. Now, it feels sometimes like a constant penance…

What do you think–is it a big compromise to go to Christmas parties during Advent?

For what it’s worth, I have no idea!

I think you could easily rename a “Christmas party”, a “holiday” party", or an “Advent Party” and it wouldnt change anything except the name of the party! The activities, music, and general spirit of festivity would remain the same.

I am NOT an expert in these matters, but I cant see how it owuld make much difference what you CALLED the party. I think celebrating the spirit of anticipation and wonder at the miracle of Christ’s birth, during Advent, is perfectly ok, unless someone can come forth with a doctrine stating otherwise…

So really, I’m no help at all, except to say, that my gut instinct is that celebrating the season with family and friends is fine!:thumbsup:

For most people, the Christmas season begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas day. If you want to celebrate with friends, you’ll attend parties during December.

But we have a wonderful little secret. After the rest of the world stops celebrating, we’re just getting started! They’re sick of Frosty the Snowman and we’re just starting with Oh Come All Ye Faithful.

I don’t see any problem with joining others in celebrating during December. But for me, I also look forward to the celebrating that just gets started on Christmas day.

Advent isn’t a penitential season; it’s a time of hope, trust, waiting, expectation and preparation. Some people like to give things up for Advent to prepare for the coming of Christ, but it’s not required like fasting and abstinence during Lent. Little sacrifices like giving some allowance money or material things to those in need are good things for kids to do. When we were kids, we thought of those things as gifts for the Baby Jesus. There are other ways to prepare the heart that don’t exclude Christmas fun.

Celebrating Christmas during Advent has bothered me for a long time, but (for some unknown reason) this year more than others.

Advent is a time of preparation – AKA “little Lent”. I wish that Catholics would follow more closely the Church’s example by holding all celebrations between December 25th (or at least the evening of the 24th) up to January 6th, the Epiphany. I no longer wish anyone ‘merry Christmas’ until Christmas eve. Then I use that greeting up to and past New Years.

I like to put up the tree as close to Christmas Eve as seems practical each year. (And be sure to keep your outdoor lights on during the entire octave!)

In the future, if you have any say in the matter, try to encourage anyone involved in planning Christmas celebrations to hold them AFTER Christmas day. (Of course the problem is that many go away to visit family at that time. But I still think that this is the best way to remember what we’re trying to do during Advent.)

Have a blessed Advent, Reg.

I sang in a cathedral choir for twenty years. Our “Christmas” party was always hosted by one of our benefactors and fell usually on the Friday or Saturday night just before Gaudete Sunday. The bishop always came.

I never felt the slightest bit of guilt…It was the only time that the choir could gather around the piano and sing Christmas carols outside of Mass. We sang Midnight Mass and the 10 Mass on Christmas Day just like we sang for Holy Saturday and the main Mass at 10 on Easter Sunday.

We never treated Advent as a penitential season like Lent even way back when before Vatican II. Advent is a period of preparation and anticipation otherwise why would we have a Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday?

Sadly, you can’t expect to change this secular mentality when you can’t even convince the churches to switch their Christmas Carol Services to the octave of Christmas instead of during the first 2 weeks of Advent – I know, one of our team members tried. He didn’t have much support from the pastor at the time and the other churches weren’t interested in his idea. They felt that since Carol Services are fund raisers for the Christmas hampers, holding them after would both defeat the purpose and cause a decrease in funds because nobody would come to a Carol Service after Christmas Day. It’s all over on Boxing Day.

At least CBC Radio still plays carols during the real 12 Days of Christmas. Come to think of it, our Churches often don’t celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas since Epiphany is now celebrated before the 6th.

For years, a big Disciples of Christ Church here enacts the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival, the festival of Twelfthnight. They have a fantastic orchestra, bell choir, adult and kids choirs and members of the congregation play the parts of the King and Queen, nobles, 3 Wise Men, Holy Family, etc. The costuming and music is incredible. I go every year and I never seem to get into the Christmas spirit until then, 2weekends after Christmas! Pretty appropriate. It always gives me major goosebumps and the ending never ceases to bring a tear and catch in my throat. Wish I could share it with you. Here’s there website in case there’s anyone in this area who’d like to check it out:

We have a Christmas Carol pilgrimage that goes to all of the downtown Baton Rouge churches. It is candlelight. All of the downtown churches participate with their choirs except for the Episcopalians who say it is Advent.

OK, so it is Advent. Do we not have Advent carols to sing? This has been going on for well over 20 years. OK, so the Protestant churches sing Christmas carols. They also take the Christmas tree down the day after Christmas when Christmas does not end until the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan 6th). Lord, y’all, we have an awful lot of Advent carols which have been forgotten.

I forgot to say that my cathedral choir sings Advent carols.

We hosted the Ministerial Association Carol Service this year and, since the Pastor put me in charge of preparing it, I started it with a communal “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” which, with mostly Protestants in the Church, sounded wonderful because they actually sang. :smiley: I only got to pick the three communal hymns so that was my recognition of Advent. The offertory hymn was “O Come All Ye Faithful” and the final hymn was a candlelit “Silent Night”.

Last Thursday was the secular community ‘Christmas Suites’, a concert by local performers organized by our town’s Community Choir. During this concert there are some communal songs and one they had picked was “O Come All Ye Faithful”. The MC said “If you know it as Adeste Fideles feel free to sing it in Latin.” So, at least verse 1 and the chorus I sang in Latin. It seemed to impress my seat mate, who commented that her daughter is studying Latin in her first year at university. It felt good to at least have someone recognize that this is a Latin hymn.

I grew up singing Adestes Fideles. I didn’t hear O Come All ye Faithful until long after VII. Gosh, y’all. It ain’t hard. I mean I learned it if first grade! Kid’s minds are sponges at that age and learning a new language is not at all hard.

I guess since it’s not a moral matter. The benefits of attending a wholesome party are greater than the liturgical error, I won’t worry about it.


Of course Advent is partially penitential, though not as much so as Lent. In Advent we don’t sing the Gloria, limit the use of flowers, instrumental music etc. We still have the Gloria, and it’s not as somber as Lent.

As the Gaudete Sunday … um, Lent has Laetare Sunday. Both Sundays prove their respective seasons are penitential. If Advent wasn’t penitential it would make no sense to have a Sunday with a less penitential liturgical color, where we are told to rejoice, an allowance for more instrumental music and flowers, as a lightening of the penitential mode.

Similarly in Lent, it is because it is a penitential season that we can have a Sunday (Laetare) to lighten the penitential character briefly.

all our recent pastors (last 20 yrs) have been rather strict about “no parties in Advent and Lent” so all-parish functions and CCD events are timed for the actual Christmas season (Christmas eve until Epiphany) but many other groups such as CDA and altar society, prayer groups etc., school faculty, still have their events during Advent. Our parish social is next Tuesday.

we get around it by calling the last day of CCD before Christmas our Advent Retreat, because we know families will send food and catechists will want to bring treats, so the retreat hinges on the gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent, with appropriate activities, with the snack in the last 15-20 minutes.

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