After reading this post where I lamented my inability in previous years to stay focused spiritually during Advent, a dear friend of mine suggested that I compile a list of practical ways to get ahead of the busywork that needs to happen in order to prepare for Christmas, so that we have the time to be free to really enter fully into the Season of Advent. I am so grateful for her suggestion, because it has given me a good reason to get all these things on my list done – nothing like a little accountability to get the ball rolling! My goal is to have these tasks completed before the first Sunday of Advent, which will be celebrated this year on November 30.1. Prepare for Advent first. For the past several years, the order of my planning and preparation goes like this: Thanksgiving, December festivities (all those parties, concerts, shopping trips and other things happen in December), Christmas, Advent.  See anything wrong with this picture?  I sure do. In my world, Advent has become an afterthought – something that I scramble to focus on around the time we light the pink candle. Here’s a few ideas to prepare, in advance, for Advent. Get out your Advent wreath and make sure that you have fresh candles – If you need them you can get some here…Mega Candles – Unscented 10″ Advent Taper Candle, Set of 4.Have on hand a daily devotional that you can use for prayer during the Advent Season. I am planning to use Advent and Christmas With the Saints (Advent and Christmas Wisdom). I love this series, which contains volumes for Advent from St. Padre Pio, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, GK Chesterton, St. Augustine and more. Make a plan with your family to set aside time each day to light the