If you were to walk into our convent, it probably would not take long to discern the liturgical season. In the chapel you would see the slight starkness and purple of the penitential season. A few steps past the chapel, you would see an Advent wreath and a Jesse tree. Maybe you would hear some Advent music playing, such as "O Come O Come Emmanuel" or "Come Divine Messiah". Or maybe just the silent, recollected atmosphere. Then, of course, the collection of Advent books and meditations for Sisters to pick up through the season. Finally, if you have a detailed eye, you may notice the little cup with suggested prayers and penances for the Sisters to choose from each day.
These external things are lovely, but they are not an end of themselves. They help direct our interior dispositions towards Christ. Which is what it is all about. These daily traditions, along with the Mass as the shining crown of our Advent observances, form the gift that Holy Mother Church bequeaths to us to make our Advent more than just a few weeks on the calendar.
Thus, look to the Church for guidance on making a good Advent. To prepare well for the coming of Christ can change your life; but only if you have the proper dispositions.
"It is only in proportion to our dispositions that we shall share in the graces Christ's nativity should bring us, abundant as those graces are. This Church knows this perfectly, and that is why she neglects nothing for producing in our souls that interior attitude which Christ's coming within us demands... If we let ourselves be guided by her, our dispositions will be perfect, and the solemn feast of the birth of Jesus will produce within us all its fruits of grace, of light and of life." ~Bl. Abbot Columba Marmion