Courtney Vallejo dives into celebrating the liturgical season of Lent by finding ways to decorate her home.
On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, I told my husband that I wanted to Lentenize our house. He assured me that there was no such thing! I guess I was looking for a word that sounded fancy for "decorating for Lent." I’ve been struggling with the monotony of life. Days have just come to blend from one to the next during this year of quarantining. I was looking for a change. I feel like many people began decorating for Christmas, in November last year, in hopes it would bring about some joy.
Thanks to social media, I was inspired by a relative who wanted to build up the domestic church in her home. She started displaying vases of dried flowers to represent the death and dying to self that we experience during Lent. It got me thinking, just as we decorate for Christmas, we can decorate our homes for Lent. Our churches decorate for Lent. Lots of purple, crucifixes, Pietas can be visual reminders of the season. It was through this process that it dawned on me that the Church, in her infinite wisdom, created liturgical seasons to differentiate from one season from the next.
In True Devotion, St. Alphonsus Ligouri talks about people's need for senses. I believe this still holds true today. The next issue I ran into was shopping money. Living on a budget, and not having a “Lenten line item,” I decided to head to the Dollar Tree and look for sales/coupons at Michael’s. First, I spent time wandering through my house looking for crucifixes and other visual items that could help our family keep our focus. Heading out to the stores, I began purchasing simple Dollar Tree vases and fake purple flowers which I have displayed in a few different areas of the house, mainly the kitchen windowsill and the guest bathroom. I also found purple potpourri at the Dollar Tree and a vase to contain it. A simple purple candle on a plate of potpourri is sitting near our television. Once home, I found some old scraps of wood in the garage and purchased wood letters at Michael’s for $4 and some purple spray paint at Home Depot that was on sale for $2 so I could make signs that read pray, fast, and give.
I’ve always wanted to make a resurrection garden and grow grass during Lent. So far, I have everything but the grass seed, so that table decoration is a work in progress. It will go over a purple table runner that I found on Facebook marketplace. I also got some big nails at the hardware store. I tried to make a crown of thorns but I forgot to bend the branches before they dried out so that didn’t work as planned. I decided to put the branches into a vase so I can hang images of the “Jesus Tree” on them throughout the season.
I asked my kids if they had any ideas how to decorate for Lent, and my daughter said we should get a rooster to hang up. It took me a minute to realize where she was going with this idea, and then she mentioned how on after the third time that St. Peter denied Jesus, the cock crowed. I love that she put all of that together to create a visual decoration of His betrayal. God totally provided and the Dollar Tree happened to have a rooster wall hanging which we poured some purple paint on to keep with the liturgical color.
Overall I may have spent between $20-$30, but all the purchases can be put away for next year to be reused. I’ve always put out a purple tablecloth or maybe some other seasonal centerpieces, but what I wanted to focus on this year was having something in as many of the rooms in the house as possible, like how we decorate for Christmas.
I want our family to see reminders wherever they look, to remember that the church is in a specific season.
Even though the world may feel like it’s still living in the movie Groundhog’s Day, the Church is moving forward preparing our hearts to join with Christ in His Passion and Resurrection, and to be ready when He comes again, whenever that time may be.
So did you “Lentenize” your house? What Lenten traditions do you have in your home? Please take a moment to share your traditions with our readers so that we can all benefit from each other’s way of entering into the season.
Copyright 2021 Courtney Vallejo
Image copyright 2021 Courtney Vallejo. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Courtney Vallejo is a convert to the Catholic faith, who is currently living in Arizona. She and her husband, homeschool their three adopted children. She is the cofounder of AMomRevolution.com, whose mission is to inspire, encourage, and reclaim joy in motherhood. She also writes for her own blog, CourtneyVallejo.com. Courtney holds a Master's degree in Film Production and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Follow her Gluten Free/Dairy Free adventures on Instagram: @aglutenfreerevolution.