An eco-friendly Christmas: less is more
What if Christmas were all about experiences? Time together? Any maybe a few, valued, long-lasting new items?
Here are our ideas for a green Christmas - share yours below in comments!
Advent calendars don't have to involve several layers of plastic! Check-out our fill-it-yourself paper Advent calendar, and PLAYin CHOC plastic-free organic vegan Advent calendars.
Consider 24 experiences, or 24 puzzle pieces, in place of plastic toys or plastic-encased treats.
Gift an experience
- Buy day pass, annual pass, or just a voucher for a day out
- Make your own! Just write a card that says, "This card entitles you to..."
The higher quality the toy, the more likely it will be resold in condition good enough to be a gift! Browse:
- Local charity shops or their online shop Thriftify;
- Offer and ask in Facebook freecycle groups like Zero Waste Freecycle Ireland / Preloved Toys Ireland - Imagine, Create, Build, or your local area may have its own;
- We've started a buy-back scheme for our own eco-toys - not many available for sale yet but watch this space next year!
Gift sustainable new
This is the piece of 'sustainable toys' we've worked most on! Our toys are 93% gloriously free of any plastic, 7% have some small plastic element, like velcro for example (clearly indicated in case you want to avoid them)!
See our sustainable Christmas collection - and browse by age - including stocking fillers and Advent calendar fillers, here.
Plastic-coated (shiny / metallic / glittery) wrapping paper can't be recycled, but matt "normal paper" wrapping paper can! We even stock gorgeous wrapping paper that's been recycled and can be again!
The most eco-friendly Christmas tree is one that already exists (or a locally-grown and recycled real tree)
What's better, a real tree, a fake tree, or a cardboard tree?
- The reusable tree you already have, or can buy pre-loved, is the best;
- If you need to buy new, a real Christmas tree grown locally is best - ideally potted and still alive (if a week indoors is enough); failing that, a real tree that you recycle or compost afterwards;
- Or, plant your own Christmas tree!
...Please don't buy a new artificial tree.
But..."a new plastic reusable tree is best if you use it for 5 years or more" - you've heard that before, right? I don't believe it, and here's why:
- That statement is based on 2 solitary studies paid for by the ACTA (American association for producers of plastic Christmas trees), both overseen by the same 2 people. Do you think they're unbiased?
- The New York Times quotes Mr. O’Connor of the N.C.T.A (American association for sellers of real trees) as rejecting the study’s findings, saying it was “fall-off-your-horse simple that a tree made out of oil, turned into PVC plastic in China and shipped over on a boat, cannot be better than growing a real tree.”
- Companies and associations have in the past spread misinformation to support their own agendas. E.g.:
- The European petro-plastic producers' association has a study showing that petro-plastic is better for the environment than plant-based bio-plastics. But the global scientific consensus is the opposite. In fact, a global group of scientists included switching to bioplastics in the top 100 things we need to do for our climate.
- March 1988, Du Pont Chair Richard E. Heckert to the United States Senate, "...scientific evidence does not point to the need for dramatic CFC emission reductions. There is no available measure of the contribution of CFCs to any observed ozone change..." (source)
This video lacks data / legible sources but it's accurate (to my knowledge), it makes the points well, and is nicely shareable!
A recycled colour-in tree is a lovely addition
Our colour-in 3D Christmas trees are not a replacement for a traditional family Christmas tree. They're an amazing craft activity to occupy the kids for days on end. And they're a "children's tree" to divert unhelpful attention away from the main tree.
Crackers and games for Christmas Day
Reusable crackers: Traditional Christmas crackers have been the source of an hour's fun and then gone to landfill. We're delighted to have brought the world's first reusable Chri
stmas cracker to Ireland! It's sustainable in its making - made locally in the UK from recycled materials. And it's the last set of Christmas crackers you may ever have to buy. Fill with delicious, home-made treats, or with small gifts you know will be used.
- Cooperative board games - where better players need less-able players to succeed
Occupy the kids over the holidaysBorrow
- Borrow an all-ages entertainer like Bioblo or a giant bubble kit from us;
- Do you have a local toy library? Check our map here.
- Stock-up on books from your local library before it closes for the holidays.
Earth-kind crafts - see here, e.g.:
- Colour-in 3D Christmas tree, play house or play castle;
- All-they-need-in-one-box craft kits;
- Traditional crafts like weaving, knitting and felting;
- Outdoor never-ending occupation with STICK-LETs and the Stick Book;
- Entertain and delight everyone in sight of you with a giant bubble kit.
Check-out our collection of books, from babies to teens, about loving nature, leadership, and where they overlap.
More veggies, less meat. 'Just enough food' and freezing leftovers to minimise waste. We're not experts in this area so just flagging it as one to think about!
The biggest thing we can all do for our planet this Christmas is to stay local or travel over land and sea. Every flight we skip is a huge Christmas gift to our planet, even if we off-set. Our planet needs us to plant the "off-set" trees and also skip the flight :-)