Laudato Si’ Advent

December 3, 2019

A Laudato Si’ Advent is full of the joy that comes with freeing ourselves from the constraints of a consumer culture. We allow ourselves to focus on what really matters: the connections and values we share.

In the spirit of Laudato Si’, GCCM is sharing the traditions our families embrace during Advent. These traditions nourish our spirits and protect our common home.

We invite you to keep the inspiration going by sharing your own Laudato Si’ Advent tradition on Facebook. Be sure to tag us @GlobalCatholicClimateMovement

For even more ideas, visit our Advent prayer resources page.

“A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment. To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment.” (Laudato Si’ 222)

1. Teach children the true meaning of Christmas

Together with my family, we are part of a “Laudato Si’ Circle” in Assisi. When we’re at the dinner table, we often talk about the environment and how we would like to solve big problems. During one of these chats, my sons, Emanuele and Francesco, proposed something that we really loved: to live a different Advent, with a view to the planet and the poor, to discover the true meaning of the Christmas of Jesus. For me and my wife, Angelica, it’s nice to teach our faith to our children, because we realize that they are our teachers. Thanks to them, we try to live our mission consistently.

Antonio Caschetto, Assisi Program Coordinator–Assisi, Italy

2. Share moments instead of material things

Christmas is a special time to keep family traditions alive. In our family, we do so by teaching our children to prepare a typical dish cherished by their grandparents and great-grandparents and then eating it all together on Christmas Eve. It is a type of homemade pasta made with simple ingredients like flour, water, eggs, and salt. These simple ingredients keep us connected to the land and the farming families who have taught us here in Italy. Land is life: it should never be taken away from the families that depend on it. Earth’s many gifts offer us a special happiness, which we must defend for all.

Cecilia Dall’Oglio, European Programs Manager–Rome, Italy

3. Support local suppliers and the circular economy by buying second-hand products

It is so nice to give a present at Christmas, but it is also important to be aware of the environmental impact of our purchases. This Advent, I went to a second-hand bookstore, where I found interesting books at a good price. Books are a great present because they will nourish our minds and souls and they can be used by many people. Buying second-hand products will reduce the cost of making a new one. It is one small step against the throw-away culture!

Alexandra Aguirre, Finance and Operations Assistant–Cayambe, Ecuador

4. Use less packaging on gifts or re-use wrapping

Each single action makes a difference. That’s why I try to make the gifts I give meaningful, sharing a message of caring for our common home. Reusing wrapping or finding alternatives for packaging my presents shows my commitment to protecting the planet and it’s a nice way to invite my family members to live out our values in a new way. I find happiness in living Laudato Si’ even in very small actions. I decorate newspapers, use old wrapping paper, or even wrap my gifts in cloth bags. The simpler, the better!

Doménica Reyes, Communications and Campaigns Coordinator, Quito-Ecuador

5. Put left-over food to good use

When I have food left-over from holiday celebrations, I try to not waste it. I look for homeless shelters that will accept donations and share clean, untouched food with those in need. It’s a way to bring the poorest into our celebrations. We’re sharing what we have with neighbors who need it, as the Gospel calls us to do.

Magdalena Kadziak, Junior Programs Coordinator for Poland–Mazovian, Poland

6. Start new traditions

For me, Christmas is about family. We’ve found new ways to incorporate family time into our traditions, celebrating the season with an outdoor family walk. Walking with my mom gives us a chance to appreciate creation and each other, and it feels much better than flying miles from home for a vacation. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to spend time feeling the love of God by spending time with nature and the people who matter most to me.

Cheryl Dugan, Coordinator for Asia Pacific Campaigns and Global Volunteers–Quezon City, Philippines

7. Pray with creation to prepare for the gift of Incarnation

Praying outside with the rest of creation is one of my favorite things to do. What better time to do this than Advent, a special time of prayer to prepare for the Incarnation? This Advent, my family and I will be praying with creation as part of a Laudato Si’ retreat to see what message God might be sharing through nature. Then, when visiting family in Florida, we will pray at one of my most beloved places–the beach. I’m looking forward to sharing with my daughter how all of creation joins us in joyful anticipation for Jesus’s coming.

Christina Leaño, Associate Director–New York, United States

8. Give experiences rather than objects

In the past, when I’ve gone on a work trip, I’ve found myself making a guilty purchase of a gift for my daughter. I felt bad for being gone and I wanted to show her that I loved her. But one of the greatest ways to show love is to give the gift of attention. This Christmas, I’m focused on giving presence, rather than presents. Spending time with my daughter nourishes both our spirits, and I have several activities lined up. I’m planning to eat dinner and watch a movie with my daughter, spend time working with her in the garden, and have a whole day of playing together (she will love that!). Buying less is a way to care for creation and it strengthens our family’s connection.

Anna Wagner, Director of Network Engagement–Los Angeles, USA

9. Recycle to make Christmas crafts

I treasure spending time with the people I love during Advent. It’s an especially meaningful time to teach my child about sustainability in a fun and engaging way. We work side-by-side, using our creativity to turn everyday waste items into Christmas crafts. I love that we’re growing memories together while developing sustainability habits that last a lifetime.

Laura Noctor-King, Sustainability Program Director–Windsor, United Kingdom

10. Help create a more just world by donating to good causes

Creating a better world is an important part of my Advent celebration. That’s why I’m supporting GCCM by going to smile.Amazon.com and selecting “Global Catholic Climate Movement” to receive a portion of my spending as a donation. I’m also making a donation this Advent to my favorite charity, GCCM, to support the great work of our thousand member organizations, Laudato Si’ Animators, and Laudato Si’ Generation members.

Katie Mylenbusch, Director of Development–Chicago, USA

11. Make every day in Advent special

My family has a daily Advent practice. Each day, our family talks about one thing that Jesus taught us, so that we understand the meaning of the birth we’re waiting for. After talking about one teaching from Jesus, we turn out all the lights and light a candle to sing a special Advent song. Finally, we use our Advent calendar. Each day’s pocket contains a piece of paper with one good work to do–from giving away our clothes to writing a letter to a politician to calling someone who might feel lonely. Each day is the same, but each day also has its own way to practice love, as we prepare to receive God’s message of love. In a way, this tradition nourishes our spirits even more than Christmas day with its gifts. It’s how we focus on the true importance of the season.

Rebecca Elliott, Director of Communications and Special Projects–Virginia, USA

12. Use Advent as a time of reflection

My plan for Advent is to use it as a time of reflection at the end of the year and preparation for Christmas, despite all the holiday stress. I think this has an outer and an inner dimension. The outer: To tidy my home and reflect how I can live more sustainable. And the inner: To reflect what is important to me and how I can live it, especially how I can use my voice for all the people whose voices are not heard. Climate change disproportionately affects people who are already poor and marginalized and to whom nobody listens. How can I contribute to making them heard? There are two aspects to this: I reflect on how I can be better at listening to their voices and I reflect on the best way I in my specific position of power and abilities can advocate for them: Attend a protest? Write my political representative? Organize an event? Write an article? Everybody has their own charisms and everybody can contribute in their own way–we just need to find it.

Georg Sauerwein, German Research Manager–Innsbruck, Austria