My wife sent me a link to a website talking about the background and meaning of Advent. I just scanned the page, but this section popped out to me.
Advent has fallen on hard times. For most people, it's become a time to get ready for whatever you're doing with family and friends on Christmas, and not a time to get ready for the Christ child. The bigger Christmas became, the more it swallowed up Advent. In fact, whatever Christmas-y thing we think of as being done before Christmas Day is actually done in Advent. In the US, everything after Thanksgiving is now seen as a part of Christmas. The main problem is not that Christmas intrudes on Advent or the other way around. The meaning of Advent is found in Christmas.
The real problem is that people no longer keep their Christmas focus on Christ, and then the Christless Christmas saps Christ from Advent. Practicing Advent as a religious season may help recover Christmas, but it can't do it by itself. If you don't look to Jesus every day in every season, you'll lose Advent, Christmas, Lent, and even Easter. It becomes a tiring drudge, not a loving celebration, full of hurrying not anticipation. It becomes about family or money or image or spending and not our loving Maker. There are even some who openly advocate letting the world have its Christmas, and then Christians can do their own separate thing on Epiphany. (That would bring them nearly in synch with the old-calendar Orthodox.) But that, of course, chucks Advent as well as Christmas.
Source: Spirit Home