Greek icon of Second Coming, c.1700
I never understood Christians, who would not want to celebrate Christian holidays. God Himself gave Israel feasts (holidays), Jesus celebrated religious feasts, early Christians did also. I know, the dates might be screwed up, the majority is more concerned with the tradition (can you hear Tevje singing: "Tradition!") then with the spiritual meaning behind it, people are going nuts over the gifts..but
We need seasons, cycles of life, to remind us, who God is, who are we before and in Him.
Advent was celebrated by the first Christians since the fourth century, when the synod announced that as a preparation for Christmas "from the seventeenth of December to the feast of the Epiphany no one should be permitted to absent himself from church."
I found Advent Conspiracy site, an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption.
People of USA, celebrate Advent during Advent, and Christmas during Christmas! Don't put Christmas tree or sing carols before Christmas Eve. Don't buy more than one gift per person, give the spear money to those who really need them (like to my friends adopting Aiden, a boy with Down syndrome from Ukraine), but most of all give presence. Celebrate St. Nick's day on Dec 6th (that's why you are hanging your stockings for anyway...St. Nicholas is the one who is supposed to fill them with some sweets) with your kids, reminding them, who he really was. Have Advent evenings with your family underlining Jesus' first and second coming as the reason of this time.