As we prepare our hearts and homes for the joyous Christmas season, many people of faith also delight in sharing the blessings God has given us with those less fortunate than we are. While helping people in need, we often find that the joy we get in return is far greater than what we’ve given. And more and more Christians are discovering that widening their circle of compassion to extend charity and goodwill to all of God’s creation—including the many remarkable animals He lovingly created—brings them more serenity, a better understanding of the peaceable kingdom God intended for us to enjoy, and a closer walk with Him—at Christmastime and throughout the year.

In that spirit, PETA LAMBS is sending letters to churches urging them to drop beeswax and tallow-based Advent candles and to replace them with cruelty-free alternatives this holiday season. We’ve even offered to supply churches with their first shipment of vegan Advent candles to help them make the switch.

advent wreath without candles

Do Some Advent Candles Harm Animals?

God instructed humans to be the caretakers of His creation, yet many candles require the abuse and slaughter of animals, including dogs, cats, cows, sheep, and pigs. Rendering companies process parts of their bodies into purified fats like tallow (also called stearic acid). Vegetable tallow is kinder to animals and the environment.  

Two cute white lambs standing in green grass© iStock.com/KarelGalla

Some candles are also made with beeswax, which is stolen from the industrious bees who made it. As habitat loss and heavy pesticide use continue to wipe out bee colonies, more than 700 species of North American bees face potential extinction. But just as pig farms don’t protect pigs, beekeepers don’t protect bees. In order to produce honey to help feed the hive, a bee may visit as many as 10,000 flowers a day collecting nectar, and she’ll only produce about a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. To store enough honey to help the hive survive the winter, bees build a honeycomb, which they also use to store pollen and hold the queen’s eggs. Beeswax is made by stealing their honeycomb, melting it with boiling water, and then straining and cooling it. Beekeepers may try to keep the bees alive with sugary syrup or other subpar nutrients, or they may kill the entire hive. With cruelty-free candle waxes including soy, coconut, ceresin, and sustainable palm readily available, we can all let bees keep the fruits of their labor.  

Cruelty-Free Advent Candles

Cruelty-free Advent candles are readily available, and they’re perfect for welcoming this holy season and exhibiting the generosity and kinship that are its hallmarks. Whether you celebrate with pink and purple, red, blue, or white Advent candles, try one of these options that don’t contain ingredients taken from animals and that weren’t tested on them:

CocoSoy candles made of coconut, soy, and vegetable wax

GoodLight candles that support sustainable palm farmers and benefit orangutan rescue and rehabilitation

Catholic Supply battery operated and electric candles

Demdaco‘s set of four soy wax taper candles for Advent includes three purple candles and one pink candle to represent hope, love, joy and peace

And many other brands offer cruelty-free all-purpose candles for home, church, gifting, and more.

Cruelty-free Advent candles in purple and pink from Christianbook.com

Encourage Your Church Leaders to Choose Animal-Friendly Candles

You can help inspire your own church to choose Advent candles that don’t harm animals. Use our letter-writing template to urge spiritual leaders to switch for this season and forever:

Dear [Church Leader],

I am writing to you as a concerned member of [church name] with a respectful plea: In anticipation of the Advent season, will you please light up our community with kindness by using only cruelty-free Advent candles? 

In God’s eyes, we all deserve life, respect, and dignity. Yet good-natured and gentle animals are deprived of these basic considerations and slaughtered, in part to manufacture certain types of candles. The stearic acid and tallow used in stearin candles can only be obtained by directly supporting slaughterhouses, because rendering companies process the carcasses of cows, sheep, pigs, dogs, and cats into purified fats like tallow. Beeswax candles require that insects capable of complicated communication and extensive social networks be suffocated and killed. The wings or legs of worker bees are often crushed or torn off during transport because of haphazard handling. The wings of queen bees are clipped to keep them from leaving the hive, and they are forcibly inseminated for the rest of their lives so that beekeepers can continue populating the colony at an unnatural rate. 

Many of us grew up believing that killing animals for food, clothes, candles, and other items is somehow acceptable—but when we reflect, we realize that it isn’t. We understand that all killing is violent and requires us to separate ourselves from the rest of creation. Genesis 1:29 teaches us that Eden was vegan and that humans flourished in harmony with other animals. God intended for us to be caretakers, not killers. Thankfully, with the abundance of widely available cruelty-free candle waxes, including soy, coconut, ceresin, and sustainable palm, we can better honor God’s plan. 

Please, will you commit to using only Advent candles with animal-friendly ingredients from CocoSoy, Bear Natural Organics, and Demdaco? I would be so happy to see you enlighten our congregation about simple, meaningful ways to spare animals this holiday season! 

Thank you for your consideration.

Wishing you a kind and joyous Advent season!

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