An Eco-Friendly Advent

by Josée

When planning and preparing for seasons and celebrations, there is a war within me. I want to create beautiful traditions for our family while still keeping things simple and environmentally friendly. Sometimes accomplishing this can be difficult.

Advent is a time of joyful anticipation but it is also a time of preparation and repentance. Despite all the noise of Christmas around us, Advent should be a time of quiet reflection. When we focus on quietness and simplicity during Advent, there seems to be a natural tendency to become more aware of the environmental impact of holiday consumerism. There are plenty of suggestions for reducing our impact this Christmas, but Advent itself is often overlooked. So, I’d like to offer a few simple ways to make Advent traditions a little more environmentally friendly.

Ten Thousand Villages Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars

For Advent, it’s all to tempting to purchase those cute inexpensive chocolate calendars from the supermarket. But those calendars are made of paper and plastic and filled with poor quality chocolate. If an Advent calendar is important to you family, a better option would be to get a Advent calendar filled with fair trade chocolate Ten Thousand Villages Advent Calendar or to make or buy a reusable Advent calendar like this Nativity Advent Calendar or a Waldorf Advent Spiral.

Advent Wreaths

Advent wreaths are a beautiful tradition. Making an Advent wreath out of real evergreens will fill the room with a lovely scent and can be composted at the end of the season. Plastic evergreens are reusable but eventually, after a few years, they need replacing and are sent to the landfill. Another option is to go wreath-less by using a Trinity Knot Advent Candle Holder or something similar.

When choosing Advent candles purchase some that are made of pure beeswax or are vegetable based. Petroleum based candles (paraffin) cause pollution when made and burned in the home.

The Jesse Tree

Again try to find or make something that you can reuse every year. You can buy ready made Jesse Tree Ornaments or make you own out of felt, fabric, modeling wax, or another material.

The Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6th)

There are many different traditions for this feast day. Some children put out a shoe or hang a stocking the night before in the hopes that it will be filled with goodies the next morning. If this is part of your tradition (it’s part of ours), try to fill the shoes or stocking with meaningful, healthy and package free objects.

Jessica over at Shower of Roses give each of her children a new picture book. Try reviving the past tradition of giving fruit. Try special fruit like mandarin oranges, kiwis or pomegranates if apples are already a daily staple. Fair trade chocolates or naturally sweetened treats are also a nice touch.

The St. Nicholas Center suggests a variety of ways to celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas. It’s a good place to start if you are considering starting this tradition in your own home.

If you have any suggestions for an eco-friendly Advent, feel free to post your suggestions in the comment section below.

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