Decorating for Lent

Have I mentioned that Lent begins tomorrow? J

In case you haven’t thought about it yet, this is a pretty big season in the Church year, and (just as you probably do at Christmas) you can enhance your family’s celebration of the season by doing some simple decorating.

Purple is the color of the season, and while you won’t find the Lent section in your local home goods store, you likely can find all sorts of springtime purples.  Purple place mats make a great no-sew prayer table cloth and are readily available online or in stores.  If you can sew even a little, another option is a trip to the fabric store where you’ll find linen, satin and lots of options in the home decorating section.  Or you might also go the “sackcloth and ashes” route and simply get a quarter-yard of burlap to make a runner (no sewing necessary).

If you happen to find a nice, lightweight purple while you’re at the fabric store, follow Denise’s example and buy a little extra.  It’s a beautiful, ancient Lenten tradition to cover holy images (statues, framed art, even Crucifixes during Holy Week) with a piece of purple cloth.  Think of it as fasting for your eyes.  On the practical side, you’ll want something lightweight and if you can find a knit fabric (stretchy like a t-shirt), it will hang nicely and won’t fray, so there will be no need to hem it.

Jane sent me a photo of her Advent prayer table including her brilliant* repurposing of a place card holder.  She uses it to hold a prayer card to make a more visible reminder for her family to pray it every day.  Much nicer than just laying it in the pile with other prayer cards, isn’t it?  (ahem, not that I would do that …)

My friend Mary has a collection of tablecloths and runners for her dining room in the liturgical colors, but then makes them practical to use by also adding a clear plastic tablecloth on top of the decorative one.  Not only does it transform their dining room for the season, but the laundry associated with using a tablecloth is pretty much eliminated.  Family friendly!

And finally, for now anyhow, it’s probably not practical at this point, but these days you can get Christmas lights in just about any color, including purple.  I love to decorate with strings of lights in the dark winter months.  It drives away some of the gloom to have lights around a bathroom mirror or above my kitchen cabinets.  If you remember next year when Christmas stuff comes out (you know, in August), you may just want to pick up a string or two of Lenten purple lights.  And if you happen to explain it to the cashier, extra points for you!  Your New Evangelization homework is officially done for the day.  J

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*Brilliant because it suits the purpose perfectly and was something she already had around.  Free, easy, effective=brilliant.

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