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Christmas is a time of celebration and appreciation for those we love often symbolised through the giving of gifts and indulgence in all sorts of goodies. While joyful for us, the high consumption and waste generation of the festive period means that it is not a good time for the natural world we depend on so much. Why not include the natural worlds’ interests in our celebrations by following some of the tips below to make it a happier Christmas all round.

Go greener in 2024: Start the year on an empowering note by making a few simple changes that will make the world a better place!

Sustainable giving! 
The Kris Kindle custom means that instead of everyone buying something for each other, only one present is given by each family member. Create your gift: If you have the time, and the inspiration, creating a gift ensures a personal, unique present.

Buy local
Buy gifts from Irish businesses. It is good to support the local economy and will help to reduce the carbon footprint created in transport.

Make your own wrapping paper 
Consider using last year’s calendar, an old newspaper, or an old magazine to wrap your presents this year.

Replace Sellotape with reusable options
Use ribbons or string instead of this single-use plastic option. Some much-loved ribbons will carry their own nostalgia when they are untied each year.

Compost your Christmas tree 
If you buy a real tree, composting your Christmas tree is a great way of recycling the nutrients back into the earth. 
Green ideas to add to your New Year’s Resolution list for 2023:  

Reduce your plastic waste in 2023
Carry reusable grocery bags for shopping and choose products with less or without plastic packaging where possible. Bring your own small reusable bags for loose fruit and vegetables.

Reuse household items in 2023
Upcycle your own clothes or second-hand clothes instead of buying from the high-street shops. Consider cutting up old towels to make cleaning cloths or face cloths instead of using single-use wipes. Choose brands that offer reusable, refillable, and recycled plastic bottle solutions so you can reuse the bottle instead of adding plastic bottles to the waste stream.

Reduce the use of chemicals in your home 
Make your own cleaning products with household items such as vinegar, lemon, and bread soda which can be used to clean surfaces. Or simply opt for natural cleaning products that are free from harsh chemicals such as VivaGreen’s new ‘Tru Eco’ range of refillable, eco-friendly household cleaning and laundry products that are made in Ireland.

Bring your own Cups (BYOC) 
Take-away cups, even if they are compostable, are an unnecessary burden to the environment especially for the remaining rainforests.
Top 10 Green Tips for the Festive Season by Anne Marie Mahon, Lead Research Scientist, VivaGreen. For more information about VivaGreen please visit, www.vivagreen.ie


Olivia Buckley International, the luxury wedding and event planning agency, shares expert advice for hosting a sustainable wedding this year, ahead of World Earth Day on Saturday, 22nd April. Founded by Irish entrepreneur Olivia Buckley in 2013, Olivia Buckley International has created one-of-a-kind celebrations for a global clientele of A-list celebrities, Forbes Rich-List and Fortune 500 CEOs. From pre-loved wedding dresses to eco-friendly décor, making small sustainable changes this year can have a big impact.

Olivia Buckley

Wear Pre-Loved Wedding Attire

Choosing pre-loved or vintage wedding attire is a wonderful way to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Opting for previously owned pieces helps to decrease the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing new garments. Not only is this a more environmentally friendly choice, but it also allows the bridal party to incorporate unique and timeless pieces into their wedding look. Olivia’s client Brandy Dallas, founder of the sustainable fashion brand Sans Faff, looked stunning in her pre-loved Monique Lhuillier gown on her wedding day. Her choice not only reflected her personal values but also served as an inspiration for others to make more sustainable choices of their own.

Olivia Buckley International

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invites

Wedding invitations set the tone for the big day ahead, but they don't have to come at the cost of the environment. By choosing eco-friendly wedding invitations or e-vites, the bridal party can make a positive impact on the planet. Eco-friendly paper options include recycled, tree-free, and vegetable-based inks. For those who prefer a digital option, e-vites are a great choice, as they eliminate paper waste and can easily be customized. Choosing an eco-friendly option showcases the bridal party’s commitment to sustainability and protecting the planet.

Olivia Buckley International – photographed by Shane Shepherd

Choose a Green Wedding Venue

A green wedding venue is another way to be more sustainable in wedding planning. To identify a green venue, look for places that practice eco-friendly habits such as recycling and composting, using renewable energy, and sourcing local products. Outdoor venues can also be a great option, as they can reduce energy use and take advantage of natural lighting.

Ballyfin Demesne – Photography by Ciara Cassidy

Use Eco-Friendly Décor

Look for decor made from recycled, biodegradable, or sustainable materials, such as bamboo or organic cotton. Avoid materials like plastic and Styrofoam that can take hundreds of years to decompose. Choose centrepieces that can be repurposed or donate them to a local shelter or nursing home after the wedding. Opt for LED lighting to reduce energy use and create a romantic ambiance.

Olivia Buckley International – photographed by Shane Shepherd

Eco-Florists and Repurposing Flowers

Selecting an eco-florist and repurposing flowers is a great way to ensure that the wedding celebration is environmentally friendly. Eco-florists prioritize the environment by using sustainable materials, composting, and minimizing waste. They also source their flowers locally and seasonally, which reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Repurposing flowers can also help reduce waste. For example, ceremony flowers can be repurposed and introduced into the dining space or used as centrepieces.

Olivia Buckley International – photographed by Shane Shepherd

Reduce Transport Emissions

Consider holding the ceremony and reception at the same location to reduce the need for transportation. If that's not possible, choose a venue that's easily accessible by public transport or encourages carpooling. Brides and grooms can also opt for eco-friendly transportation, such as a bicycle or a horse-drawn carriage. Encourage guests to carpool or use public transportation by providing information on local transit options.

Vintage Ring – Photographed by Ciara Cassidy

Recycled Metals, Ethical Gemstones & Vintage Jewellery

By opting for a wedding band that uses recycled metals and ethical gemstones, or opting for vintage jewellery, supports sustainable jewellery practices. Recycled metals and ethical gemstones are mined and produced in ways that minimize harm to the environment and human rights violations. Vintage jewellery is a unique and eco-friendly option, as it allows the wedding party to wear a piece of history while also reducing waste. To find these items, look for jewellers who specialize in sustainable and ethical practices, or search for vintage and antique jewellery at second-hand stores, online marketplaces, or family heirlooms.

Olivia Buckley International

Donate Leftover Food

Donating leftover food is an ideal way to reduce waste and support those in need. To achieve this, work with the venue or wedding planner to identify a local food bank or charity that accepts donations. Coordinate with them beforehand to ensure that the food is properly stored and transported to the organization. Choose to serve buffet-style meals to avoid over-ordering and minimize food waste. Inform guests ahead of time that you'll be donating the leftover food and invite them to participate in this meaningful act of giving.

For more information, visit www.oliviabuckley.com.