IT'S all too easy for the Christmas festive season to become cluttered. Too many gifts, too many commitments and too much consumption.
I like the idea of decluttering Christmas to create more space to enjoy time with family and friends.
Here are my five top tips for clearing the clutter from Christmas:
Fewer gifts: We'll be continuing our tradition of giving our daughter only two gifts - one from us and one from Santa. I've noticed that by giving her fewer gifts she places more value on what she receives.
Clutter-free gift giving: The last thing I want to do is gift someone clutter that they then have to find space for. I like the idea of gifts that are used and enjoyed. Local or home-made food, art and craft materials, and vouchers for adventures are my favourites.
Less food: Food waste increases significantly at Christmas, with an estimated 35 per cent of food ending up in the bin. Embrace simple, seasonal and local food and dish out only as much as can be eaten. Do you really need four kinds of meat and five salads?
Reuse: Last year's Christmas cards will be upcycled into gift tags. I'll also be reusing my daughter's artwork as wrapping paper.
Simplify decorations: Use and look after the Christmas decorations you already have, but before you buy any more consider making your own from natural and recycled materials.
Accept that you can't do everything: I find this the hardest part of decluttering Christmas - trying to find the time for all the festivities. We'll be skipping a few of our after-school commitments and favouring time with friends and family over shopping, chores and cooking.
Transition Newcastle is hosting a gathering this Tuesday exploring the question: A sustainable Christmas - is it possible? I'll be kicking off the discussion with a few tips for reducing the environmental impact of Christmas celebrations on Tuesday, November 26, from 7pm to 9pm, at Wesley Hall, 150 Beaumont Street, Hamilton.
Tricia Hogbin writes about learning to live better with less at littleecofootprints.com.