Top 10 tips to Make it a Green Christmas

  1. Get the kids to have a clear out of their toys, then have a car boot sale or take them to the local charity shop. Someone else will get to use them and you'll have space for what Santa might be bringing.
  2. If you are buying a Christmas tree, try to get one with roots so it can grow again. If not possible ensure it is recycled to produce wood chips. Most councils provide drop off points for trees in the weeks following 6 January – check with your local County/City Council for their arrangements, contact details on page 60.
  3. Millions of batteries are bought in Ireland each year, and only a fraction of these are rechargeable, the rest end up in landfill sites. If new (or old) toys need batteries invest in a recharging unit and rechargeable batteries – modern units are quick at charging and will generally be ready for reuse within a couple hours.
  4. Avoid excessive packaging – this relates to toys, gifts, pre-packed fruit and veg and foods. Buy larger packets of crisps and large bottles of soft drinks, avoiding individual portions if possible.
  5. Lots of the extra rubbish produced over the holiday period is actually recyclable: glass, paper and plastics. Recycle as much as you can and get the kids to help by crushing boxes and plastic bottles – they'll love it!
  6. Lots of unwanted presents? The adults could do a 'Secret Santa'. All names in a hat, each person picks a name, and then each person buys one thoughtful present at a set budget. That way each adult gets at least one present to open, but not lots of 'for the sake of it' presents. Just adults though – we are in no way suggesting this for the kids!
  7. Get the kids to make Christmas cards, it will keep them occupied when you have a hundred other things to do. Keeping it simple looks best and layering is effective. Start early as the weeks before Christmas tend to get jam packed with other things to do and everyone ends up rushing.
  8. Wrapping paper: Use recycled products where possible and even old newspapers and magazines can look good. Get the kids to find articles that relate to the person receiving the gift and use that magazine page. Tie with string or raffia and decorate with leaves or holly from the garden – looks fab!
  9. Rather than buying pre-packed cakes this year get the kids to make some. Try our Christmas Muffins for a simple to prepare alternative to mince pies.
  10. Recycle your copy of 4kids when the summer edition is available.

First published 4kids Winter 2008