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

Child plays with PLAYin CHOC plastic-free advent calendar

Advent calendars don't have to involve several layers of plastic! Check-out our fill-it-yourself reusable Advent calendars, and PLAYin CHOC plastic-free organic vegan Advent calendars, here.

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 
  • Or don't buy anything, just craft a memorable trip together
  • Our plantable experience gift cards make a nice "something to hand them on the day"

Gift pre-loved

The higher quality the toy, the more likely it will be resold in condition good enough to be a gift! Browse:

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 fillershere.

Wrapping

Recycled and recyclable wrapping paper Ireland

Plastic-coated (shiny / metallic / glittery) wrapping paper can't be recycled, but matt "normal paper" wrapping paper can! If you can tear it, it's recyclable.

We 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?

  1. The reusable tree you already have, or can buy pre-loved, is the best;
  2. If you need to buy new, a real Christmas tree grown locally is best:
    1. Ideally a living tree you can use for several years. Check-out pot-grown trees (not grown in the earth and then potted - those die quickly) like these;
    2. Failing a reusable living tree, a single-use real tree from a tree farm that you recycle or compost afterwards;
  3. Or, plant your own Christmas tree!

...Please, 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:

  1. 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?
  2. Those studies:
  • Accept that making artificial trees from metal and plastic, and transporting from China, emits lots of CO2 (and we agree, that's just science);
  • Say that composting trees emits lots of CO2 (but the EPA says composting is carbon-negative);
  • Forgets that the real tree is replaced on the tree farm by new-grown trees - which will absorb as much CO2 as the dead tree emits - that's the natural carbon cycle.
  • 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.: 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

    Colour-in Christmas tree made in Ireland

    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
      Reusable Christmas crackers
      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 holidays

    Borrow 
    • 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;
    Get outside - see here, e.g.:

    Reading

    Check-out our collection of books, from babies to teens, about loving nature, leadership, and where they overlap.

    Food

    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!

    Travel

    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 :-)