BCE’s guide for giving Christmas gifts in the spirit of Laudato Si’


​​Three generations at St William's School Grovely students creating Christmas wreaths.​

In line with our Franciscan traditions, this year we encourage our Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) community to shop differently, in response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home.  

In 2015 in his encyclical, Pope Francis invited us to choose sustainability in a world that promotes extreme consumerism. 

“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world…” ― Pope Francis. 

In the spirit of Laudato Si’, this Christmas BCE has put together this easy gift-giving guide to help ensure that the Holy Season is never a celebration of commercial consumerism, but a celebration of the joyful welcoming of Christ into our hearts. 

1. Sustainable products 
When choosing a gift, you may wish to consider the materials the product is made from. Choosing products which are made of clay, wood, paper, and other biodegradable materials are far less harmful to the earth. 

2. Make your own 
Although it is convenient to buy a gift in-store, consider making a gift out of natural materials for a friend or loved one. Why not take a pottery class or make home​made clay Christmas decorations at home? ​

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BCEO Staff member Caroline with some teacher gifts she created using clay.

3. Upcycling 
This idea takes some creativity and forward thinking, but before throwing away that broken antique tea set you don’t want, consider mixing and matching the saucers and teacups, and gift it to someone who might really enjoy the love and effort you put into creating this unique gift.  

4. Plants 
Everyone loves greenery to brighten up their home or office. Why not consider replanting something from your own garden into a spare pot you have at home, or even picking some local flowers to create your very own floral bouquet? 

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5. Buy basics 
For those for whom you can’t decide what to buy, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Why not try purchasing some socks made from eco-friendly materials or consider making your own natural cotton wax wraps, soaps, or candles at home. 

6. Support a small local business 
For those who don’t have the time or have simply left it too late to make or create a gift. Why not consider supporting a small local business, purchasing a service, like a massage, restaurant voucher, or an experience with your loved ones. You could even check out your local eco-shop for organic skin care packs and other sustainable goodies. 

7. Buy second-hand 
There’s such a misconception that buying second-hand is an unacceptable way to gift-give. In fact, a second-hand item or antique thrift is the perfect way to give a unique and one-of-a-kind gift this Christmas. Considering thrifting second-hand crystalware, ornaments, Christmas decorations, or candle sticks. You could even check out your local street library for a free book or two for your friends and family who are always looking for their next read. 

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Image credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com.

8. Avoid over-consumption 
Millions of kilograms of gift wrap are thrown away each Christmas. Why not consider salvaging some of the paper for the next year? Although the paper sometimes gets torn when opening, some pieces could easily be saved for the following year to wrap smaller gifts. You can even consider using fabric from old flannelette shirt and ribbon you have around your home to wrap gifts. Adding a cutting of rosemary to the top of your gift can also give your present that added Christmas feel without spending any money or harming the environment.  
Also consider when buying gifts, the type of packaging your gift comes in. A lot of the time we forget we are not only buying the item but also the packaging it comes in. Choosing gifts that are not packaged, or come in paper, cardboard, or fabric, is much better for the environment than those which contain plastic. ​ 

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