5 Rules for Giving Christmas Gifts in the Spirit of Laudato Si’


What if this year you did your Christmas shopping differently, out of love for our common home?

In his encyclical Laudato Si’published in 2015, Pope Francis invites us to choose a different way of life in a world where “the market tends to promote extreme consumption in order to sell its products” (n° 203).

Isn’t that what happens at the end of every year? Department stores spend big to dazzle their customers’ eyes, and billboards promote (often unnecessary) freebies in the thousands. What if this year, you choose to do your Christmas shopping differently, while respecting our “common home”?

Here are five rules that could inspire you this year.


In his 2014 Christmas greetings to the staff of the Holy See and Vatican City State, Pope Francis urged Christians to “ensure that Holy Christmas is never a celebration of commercial consumerism, or useless gifts, or excessive waste, but that it is a celebration of the joyful reception of the Lord in the manger and in the heart.

To avoid excessive consumption, why not opt ​​for responsible purchases such as second-hand products? Indeed, we often find new products with their original labels (books, jewellery, toys), but which were not useful to the person who initially bought or received them. You can easily find them in second-hand stores or at various online retailers.

What’s more, you can make pretty handmade gifts yourself: it’s another way to please your loved ones without participating in the Christmas shopping frenzy. The internet is full of DIY gift ideas. Jewellery, macrame, pottery, wooden objects, beauty products… There’s something for everyone! Some are suitable to be done with your children, and others, more complex, are best done by an adult alone. Those who don’t know how to sew or knit can always rely on pre-made DIY kits.


Tangible gifts are often thought of, but intangible gifts can be just as enjoyable. First of all, this way the living space of the lucky recipient is not cluttered with more things.

Also, activities such as a concert, theater, restaurant or museum outing are not only more eco-responsible gifts but also the promise of good times shared that will be remembered for years to come. Why not accompany this gift with a small voucher for a service that you can provide (babysitting, cooking, etc.) or a service to be carried out by another service provider (such as home improvement or gardening) ?


The choice of local products not only supports local businesses, but also and above all respects nature by limiting the carbon footprint of long-distance transport. It also helps us to create a link with regional producers and artisans.


In the encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls for respect for Creation. This respect can be achieved by choosing to buy environmentally friendly products that have less impact on the environment throughout their life cycle (raw material extraction, manufacturing, transport, use and end of life of the product). Products made from recycled and recyclable materials, “green” beauty products, clothing made from environmentally friendly materials and seasonal food products contribute to this respect for nature.


Laudato Si’ lists many simple things we can do, including “avoiding the use of plastic and paper” (#211). Millions of pounds of wrapping paper are thrown away every Christmas. According to our information, waste increases by 20% at Christmas. This is a phenomenal amount of waste considering that wrapping paper is relatively expensive and polluting because most metallic, glittery and plasticized packaging is not recyclable. To protect the environment, it is best to wrap your gifts in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way (Furoshiki wrapping canvas, brown paper, knitting, used wrapping paper, etc.).


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