Many in the Church are deeply critical of the craziness which surrounds our cultural practices at this season, yet it is often the case that Christians are in there with everyone else pushing the "Christmas Machine" into overdrive.
One thing I try to do -- difficult as it can be in our age of opulence -- is really observe Advent as a season of few parties and "exterior" events. While I don't get militant about it, it seems to me that this season, for liturgical and catholically-minded Christians, needs to be a fasting season in all of what this means: a fast from business, compulsion, over-filled stomachs and over-filled schedules. In order to be truly expectant -- one of the key parts of Advent's character and thus pointing to the whole of the Christian life -- a soul requires the capacity to hear. This above-linked article speaks to our own share in the creation of this annual spiritual deafness we call the "Holidays."
May our week contain many moments when the conflict between secular consumerism and the Gospel are highlighted; may we reach for the Gospel and not the remote when those conflicts arise!