10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas

Can You Have an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas?

The answer is YES! And here to share their top tips on how you can make some simple swaps to create a festive and fun eco-friendly sustainable green Christmas is Sharon Keilthy, founder of Ireland’s eco toystore Jiminy.ie.


10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - Eco Toystore Jiminy.ie Founder, Sharon Keilthy with her daughterEco Toystore Jiminy.ie Founder, Sharon Keilthy with her daughter


Just think … what if Christmas were all about experiences? Time together? Any maybe a few, valued, long-lasting new items? As Sharon from Jiminy.ie shares her ideas for a green Christmas, we’d love to hear your top tips so we’re leaving the comment box open for you to share yours below.


Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #1

Advent Calendars

Advent calendars don’t have to involve several layers of plastic! You can make or buy fill-it-yourself Advent calendars (think experiences, or puzzle pieces, family photos, in-jokes, instead of plastic toys or plastic-encased treats!), or an increasing number of plastic-free Advent calendars.


10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - PLAYin CHOC 12-drawer Christmas gift set - Jiminy.ie
PLAYin CHOC 12-drawer Christmas gift set – Jiminy.ie

Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #2

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.
  • Jiminy’s plantable experience gift cards make a nice “something to hand them on the day”.

10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - Dr Zigs My First Giant Bubble Kit - Jiminy.ie
Dr Zigs My First Giant Bubble Kit – Jiminy.ie

Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #3

Gift Pre-loved

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


10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - Bioblo eco rainbow stacking blocks - jiminy.ieBioblo eco rainbow stacking blocks – jiminy.ie


Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #4

Gift Sustainable New

Look for toys made from recycled materials, or plants – wood, bioplastic, bamboo. 90% of a toy’s carbon footprint is what it’s made of; its packaging and how far it has travelled are the other 10%.

As Ireland’s eco toystore, Jiminy.ie specialises in sustainably-made new toys, but you’ll also find some in most toys stores – and it’s a nice micro-activism to ask for the ‘eco section’ even if the response is a blank look!


10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas -Rubens Barn mini eco bud - organic cloth empathy doll - with tree planted - jiminy.ie
Rubens Barn Mini Eco Bud – Organic Cloth Empathy Doll – with tree planted – jiminy.ie

Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #5

Wrapping Your Gifts

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.

Look for wrapping paper that’s been recycled and can be recycled again.


10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - STABILO Woody window : all-surface solid-paint pencils - jiminy.ie
STABILO Woody window / all-surface solid-paint pencils – jiminy.ie

Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #6

Consider Your Christmas Tree Choices

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!

10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - Decorated Christmas TreeDecorated Christmas Tree Photo by Annie Spratt


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 two solitary studies paid for by the ACTA (American association for producers of plastic Christmas trees), both overseen by the same two 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.

10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - Real Christmas TreeReal Christmas Trees Photo by Susan Q Yin


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!


Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #7

Christmas Crackers for The Big Day

Traditional Christmas crackers have been the source of an hour’s fun and then gone to landfill. In Ireland we estimate that over 10 million are pulled every year! Laid end-to-end, they would stretch from here to the North Pole!

So reusable Christmas crackers are a refreshing change to this. Like with the Advents, fill with family in-jokes, photos, “Who Am I” game cards and homemade treats.

Or seek out plastic-free crackers, more and more shops are stocking them, and where there’s demand there’ll be supply.


Reusable Christmas Crackers – jiminy.ie


Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #8

Use Local Amenities to Occupy the Kids over the Holidays

  • Do you have a local toy libraryCheck Jiminy’s map here ;
  • Stock-up on books from your local library before it closes for the holidays.

Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #9

Food Glorious Food

More veggies, less meat. ‘Just enough food’ and freezing leftovers to minimise waste.


Further Reading: How To Make This Christmas Extra Special in 5 Wonderful Ways


10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - Christmas Dinner TableChristmas Dinner Table Photo by Leon Seibert


Sustainable Green Christmas Tip #10

Sustainable 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!


About Jiminy.ie

As seen on: RTE News (watch) | Late Late Toy Show | Irish Times 100 Retailers
Winner: Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Award 2022, Business Spirit Award 2020
1st runner-up: Small Business Website of the Year 2021 (Digital Business Ireland)
Awardee: Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Programme 2022, Let Toys Be Toys inclusive toystore Toymark


PIN: 10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas

10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Christmas - The Life of Stuff


Follow The Life of Stuff on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

Edwina O'Connor
Follow her: