Christmas is a time of the year when it’s easy to blow the budget, over buy and produce way too much of everything from presents, decoration­s, food and general rubbish. To help keep your home, bank balance and mind clutter free this holiday season, try these helpful tips that will also limit your environmen­tal impact.


Before you hit the shops, check what you already have at home. Sounds simple but it’s easy to get carried away. Do you really need three extra matching platters? You’ll likely have most things you need already to entertain.


• Declutter and check what you have at home first

• Borrow from friends and family if you’re short a roasting pan or bowl

• Re-use or upcycle (that old chair might look dusty in the garage but a lick of paint could make it perfect for that last Christmas day seat)

• Don’t go to the shops without a list and be strict on yourself


Food wastage skyrockets over Christmas. Remember, if you have 10 people for a meal you don’t need food for 30 and nobody really wants to eat ham for weeks on end.

Why not try a di erent spin on the traditiona­l Christmas dinner? Rustic settings, summer picnics and the classic Kiwi BBQ require far less preparatio­n beforehand, freeing you up to spend time relaxing.

If that’s not an option BBQs are a great way to use up leftovers over the following days.

Make your own rustic and unique table decoration­s with twigs, pine cones and native plants from the back yard.

Buy seasonal and local if you can. Luckily summer time in New Zealand means fresh seasonal fruit on Christmas Day that includes melons, stone fruits like peaches and nectarines, and summer berries. All perfect for a fruit salad or to decorate the pav.

To grow your own produce for Christmas and beyond, check out the Gardening guides at guides-and-advice


It’s time to think di erently about how we gift at Christmas. Plenty of families have stopped giving each other presents altogether, especially to adults. Besides costing less, it helps us remember the true spirit of Christmas which is spending time with loved ones, and ends the wastage from receiving stu you don’t want or need. If the thought of going cold turkey on gifting is too much, then try these ideas instead:

• Give one larger family present like a board game or a BBQ rather than smaller individual gifts

• Each person buys themself something they need rather than a gift for someone else and on Xmas day show it o during the normal gift giving time

• Restrict presents to second-hand, recycled, baked or handmade

• Gift a plant, terrarium or a compost kit

• Donate to charity on behalf of someone as their gift

Other general tips for a sustainabl­e Christmas include decorating a potted living tree rather than cutting one down. Getting rid of plastic cutlery, wrapping paper and anything you can’t re-use. If you need more outdoor entertaini­ng furniture for guests over the summer break look for better quality furniture that will last and if it is wood, then make sure its sourced from sustainabl­e forests. Look for the FSC® symbol (Forest Stewardshi­p Council®).

Entertaini­ng sustainabl­y and successful­ly over the Christmas season is not only beneficial for your home and bank balance but also for the environmen­t. Embracing these practices allows us to cherish the true spirit of Christmas, which is about spending quality time with loved ones. Minimising unnecessar­y excess and waste, ultimately leading to a more sustainabl­e and fulfilling holiday season.

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