The third Sunday of Advent--the pink candle Sunday (for those who use an Advent wreath)--is known as Gaudete Sunday because "gaudete" is the first word of the Latin introit of that day's Mass. Gaudete means rejoice.
In our family, the weekend of Gaudete Sunday means we can put up the Christmas tree. Traditionally, Christmas trees didn't go up until Christmas Eve. There is something nice about that tradition, but it just seems to be asking too much of our children who see Christmas decorations all around them. We've decided the joyous nature of Gaudete Sunday is a perfect time for decorating the Christmas tree.
This year my mom was visiting us on Gaudete Sunday. My husband had to travel for work, so we asked my mom if she would like to visit so I would have help with the kids while he was gone. (Her recent retirement from work makes these wonderful quick trips possible.) It was a busy weekend. On Friday afternoon, the girls dressed up in Nativity costumes and took pictures at the Pauline Bookstore's Birthday Party for Jesus. Friday night, Meg's school held an Advent Lessons and Carols. Late Saturday morning, Meg's service group placed wreaths at a National Cemetery. On Saturday afternoon, we attempted to see Santa at the National Christmas Tree--only to discover there was no Santa this year...just a Santa chair. In the midst of all of that (and with a lot of work from my mom), we managed to get the Christmas tree decorated, the nativity sets out, a wreath put on the door and even some gingerbread cookies made. A nice way to enjoy Gaudete Sunday.