I’m dreaming of a green Christmas . . . great eco-friendly gifts
Show you care about the environment by giving a plastic-free, eco-friendly gift this year
The plastic-free Brett Balance Board is suitable for anyone over three years.
Now that Christmas has turned into a festival of glittery excess, it’s tempting to go the other way and look for greener, kinder gifts. It’s not just eco-warriors who care about the amount of plastic being wasted in the name of Christianity.
With that in mind, here are some of the most interesting eco-friendly gifts around this year – with not a keep cup in sight.
BRETT BALANCE BOARD
This plastic-free toy is made in Europe. It has 11 layers of organically-grown beech wood from a sustainable source in Germany plus natural oils and cork. It’s suitable for anyone over three years. Anyone can enjoy it, from kids to grandparents.
This construction game has honeycomb bricks that are made to stack, build or balance. The washable bricks are made in Europe using wood from sustainable forests and recycled plastic cups. They are BPA-free and phthalate-free.
BURREN FARM EXPERIENCE
What better way to learn about the environment than during a tractor tour atop bales of hay at the O’Rourkes’ 500-acre farm in Tubber, Co Clare. Then take a hike through the National Park to Lough Bunny. Tea and snacks included.
Turn clay from Stoke-on-Trent into beautiful pots that are ready to be glazed at pottery-throwing classes. Choose from short workshops, or a full six-week evening course at Arran Street East in Dublin city centre.
HELLY HANSEN PUFFER
For its new Protect & Connect range, the Norwegian outdoor gear maker uses solution-dyed fabric. This means the manufacturing process uses 75 per cent less water and the colour will never wash out or fade. All additional materials, including insulation and zippers, are recycled and vegan.
€230, Littlewoods, sports and outdoor clothing shops, hellyhansen.com
Turn a neglected old table or chair into a functional work of art in no time. Other courses conducted at the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, Dublin, include bicycle maintenance, basket weaving and perfume making.
€95, Rediscovery Centre, Ballymun, Dublin 9, rediscoverycentre.ie
TENDING THE WILD
Participants learn how to gather and process wild foods and medicines from the coast, forest, fields and hedgerows along the Wild Atlantic Way with Lucy O’Hagan. Safely identify and sustainably forage from plants, trees, fungi, seaweed and lichens. Then eat the results in a shared house in Falcarragh, Co Donegal.
Encourage curiosity with a science kit from this Mullingar-based distributor. Kids over eight years can learn to clean and reuse dirty water by conducting water purification experiments. There are other kits to build robots or just play with magnets.
This bamboo bento box by Ecosavvy is made from farmed bamboo that is a sustainable and eco-friendly. It’s BPA-free and vegan friendly.
EMMA’S SO NATURALS SPICED ORANGE CANDLE
These candles are made in Louth from high-quality eco soya wax. The wax is renewable and free from pesticides and herbicides. Soya wax is water soluble so the glass containers can be reused or recycled. Or check out the luscious palm oil-free soaps.