Sustainable Christmas Gifts 2019

A thousand apologies for publishing a Christmas gift list so early in November but I have to be realistic. People are going to be getting their shopping mojo on soon and by suggesting alternatives I’m hoping to steer some away from all that mass-produced toxic crap that goes straight to a charity shop in January!

If you’ve read some of my Christmas articles from previous years you’ll know that I’ve given up buying Christmas gifts for anyone other than my kids and godchildren. Even the hubbie and I have given up getting gifts for one another, preferring to spend the money on a night out. Honestly having a (practically) gift-free Christmas is one of the best Zero Waste decisions I ever made. It frees up so much time every November and December, allowing me to enjoy the festive season and spend more time with the people I care out. If you’re tempted to give it a go you can read how I went about it in my Christmas Gift Article from 2018.

If you’re still in the market for Christmas gifts then consider some of these beauties for under the Christmas tree.

Nothing mentioned in this article has been sponsored. It’s all just my own personal opinion. If you like your sources to remain independent then please;
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Experience Gifts
Adopt a vine at the bio-dynamic Welsh vineyard Ancre Hill Estate. You’ll have to visit the estate to avail of all the benefits of your gift, which includes; Your name plaque on the chosen vine, lunch (Welsh cheese platter) including a glass of Estate wine, Your photograph in the Vineyard, A tour of the Vineyard, Free access to the Vineyard during your visit, A bottle of Estate wine to take home and a chance to return to join the team for a day’s picking at harvest time where you can pick the grapes from your adopted vine.

So this is a gift for next Autumn but i think it’d be worth the wait for the fungi lover in your family; wonderful wild mushroom foraging tours. If fungi aren’t your thing then look on Orchards Near Me for a list of other foraging opportunities in Ireland.

This is a big gift but worth every penny if you’re planning on building your own home or you’re a designer. 6 Day Workshop: Learn How to build everything out of anything

Or learn how to make a straw skep (traditional housing for bees) with Jane’s Bees

Read that Image host a series of bookbinding workshops for the crafter in your life.

Another fabulous workshop idea is to make your own solid silver jewellery with This Jewellery in Dublin 2, or if you prefer Macrame Necklaces in Brother Hubbard in Dublin 1

If you or your loved one is a budding photography treat them to a bird or wildlife photography masterclass with professional wildlife photographer David Tipling. Other types of courses available on the website too.

Cavan based basket weaver Eddie McGrath gives basket making demonstrations and tuition. as does Baurnafea Studio in Wicklow.

Or learn how to clean your home naturally with plastic-free recipes from Naturally at The Wrens Nest in Abbeyleix, Co Laois

woman standing and talking to others sitting around a table

Or make your own natural skincare with Wapo in Dublin.

An investment in a game Carbon City Zero on Kickstarter. For just £12 you get one copy of the game due to be delivered in Jan 2020. This is a deck-building game for 2-4 players (aged 8+), in which players develop a sustainable city by building factories, managing people, lobbying government ministers, and raising public awareness. Each player starts with an identical Draw Deck (and a Carbon Level of 40), buying additional cards from a shared Marketplace to create a more sustainable city. Balancing the need to generate income with reducing carbon, players can follow numerous paths to victory, creating synergies between Government, Industry, and Domestic sectors, while avoiding Snags and responding to Global Events. Once a player’s carbon level reaches zero, they win.

Nudge is another board game. This time with discs made from fully biodegradable starch-based bioplastic and a fully recycled gameboard that is debossed instead of printed. While the box is FSC certified fluted kraft board printed in a single colour to minimize production and help reduce environmental waste. It donates 1% from the sale of each game to The Woodland Trust.

And if you need games for kids I highly recommend the beautiful board games by Marbushka which you can get in Designist in Dublin 2, and the Conscious Store, Fade St, Dublin 2.

Okay, these are beyond cute and love the fact they’re made by hand in Ireland using natural materials and food-grade products. Jamie Lewis felts natural yarn into gorgeous creatures using just olive oil soap and water in a washing machine (see photo at the top of the blog). His studio and showroom in an old Butchers shop on Benburb Street in Dublin city centre and you can buy his items from the Irish Design Shop on Drury St, D2 and the Jam Art Factory on Patrick St and in Temple Bar, D2 as well.

If you are based in the capital check out my Sustainable Day Out in Dublin for a list of fabulous craft stores.

And for the knitter in your life take a look at my article on Knitting

It’s not cheap but products from the company Gomi have a certain recycled chic that’s often missing from recycled goods. They’ve sold this speaker in the past and now have a portable charger made from recycled plastic and waste batteries available.

La Jewellery in the UK make fabulous pieces from recycled brass and fair-minded silver.

But if brass and silver aren’t your thing how about earrings made from bouncy castles by Stellen

Awake is a Japanese solar-powered watch with a recycled plastic straps made from plastic bottles recovered from the ocean. It comes in lightweight 100% recycled FSC certified cardboard box.

Bake your own bread? That’s nothing! How about grinding you own flour? Now you can with your very own mini flour mill from Fruit Hill Farm.

Billy Tannery tans British goat leather, using bark extracts and an innovative microtannery process that generates only compostable waste. They do a range of leather products from key wraps (see above) to aprons.

Do you like a firefighter? Well how about the next best thing, a watch strap made from old fire hoses! Okay, maybe it’s not the next best thing, but still. Available to buy from The Design House on Crow St, Dublin 2.

Do Good Yoga Mat Bag from French brand Common Texture are made from recycled cotton and they do a snazzy wallet made from upcycled leather.

The Upcycled Movement in Wexford make accessories from post-consumer wetsuits and other materials. 10% of the profits from the neo collection goes to Seal Rescue Ireland where Lynn, the founder, volunteers.

For the person who has everything
Gift a tree this Christmas. There are lots of organisations involved in Tree Planting in Ireland to choose from including

Another idea would be to support the Gaelic Woodland Project who are buying up land to rewild in Ireland.


PS – In previous years I’ve published the following gift guides. I’ve checked all the links so they should all still work.

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

2 thoughts on “Sustainable Christmas Gifts 2019

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