Have yourself a sustainable little Christmas in 2021

Spend It Better: Thinking of a gift? Here are some that say, ‘I care about you and a habitable planet’

There is much joy to be had in a climate-friendly Christmas. No really. It doesn’t have to involve murky jars of mung bean chutney and felted dog hair mittens. Gifts can be made of time, walks in winter woods or home-cooked meals.  But if you want to wrap something here are some things that say, “I care about you and a habitable planet”.

A gift card from Ireland's online charity shop lets the Vera Value in your life know you get them. The website is getting better so the person giving that gift can hone in on a designer, colour, fabric or item they want as fast as you can say Who the Hell Needs Amazon? https://www.thriftify.ie/gift-card.html

Caoimhe de Frein created her Lua collection of necklaces and bracelets in Dublin from recycled cotton recovered from factory waste. The name is a tribute to the teacher who taught her macramé when she was a child. Bracelets are €20 and necklaces €30. https://www.defrein.com/

If you're worried about our food system €30 will get a gift of annual membership of Talamh Beo, an organisation working to give farmers a better future. http://www.talamhbeo.ie/become-a-member.htmlAnd if you'd like to give an edible gift that leaves our food system in a better state give a subscription to a community supported agriculture farm. Find your local one at http://www.communitysupportedagriculture.ie/The folks at Bí-Urban are having to close their shutters on their Stoneybatter shop after five years of fabulousness. All the more reason to browse their online gifts https://www.biurban.ie/gift-packsand while you're there maybe email them a testimonial about what their little shop of loveliness meant to you.


The Dublin Food Co-op offers an easy way to avoid the crowds with online shopping for collection in store or delivery. Products like Dr Bronners soaps and Dublin Herbalist oils make lovely presents. And while I love Warrior deodorant creams they may not make the best gift unless you're channelling an Adrian Mole vibe, downgrading a planned bottle of Chanel No5 for his beloved Pandora to a can of underarm spray. https://dublinfood.coop/

Illustrator Enagh Farrell has drawn the young Pocket Forest trees brilliantly for its booklet, capturing their life both under and above ground. She has a deep grá for trees, especially in their winter starkness, and her work explores our connections to nature, stories and each other. https://enaghfarrell.com/shop-prints-and-cards

If pictures of the natural world make you want to get your hands dirty you'll find gorgeous perennial plants delivered countrywide that will keep getting better as the years go on, at the Cork nursery https://futureforests.ie/

  • Catherine Cleary is co-founder of Pocket Forests