I'm Dreaming of a Clutter Free Christmas

10 Ideas for a More Ethical and Less Wasteful Christmas

I already have enough shit. Don't you?

I love the idea of minimalism but have been finding it a constant unachievable struggle. Christmas promises to bring a whole lot more clutter along with it... wrapping paper, food packaging, boxes and more boxes.

What are we going to do with it all and how can we prevent giving and receiving unwanted gifts that only go to waste?

I think my family and friends have got the message that we're trying not to gather any more clutter for our home. Being minimal is a wonderful concept but at the end of the day the giving and receiving of presents is still a joy. How do we achieve the perfect balance of generosity and thoughtfulness and still be sensible?

Here are 10 ideas for a more ethical and less wasteful Christmas...

1) Vouchers and Experiences

No clutter there. It gives the receiver a chance to get something they actually want and enjoy the experience of spending the vouchers. You could treat someone to a rooftop spa session in Bath, or a cabin / log fire / yurt holiday, massage therapy, driving lessons, cinema tickets, restaurant meals or museum membership. How about vouchers for workshops such as calligraphy, jewellery making, cookery, floristry or something more obscure like pyrotechnics?

2) Local Markets

This way you're supporting independent traders and craftspeople. Even if the gift gets passed on, a small business and their family has benefitted.

3) Charity Shops

There are often treasures to be found here and all your money goes to a good cause.

This Oriental bowl snapped up for just £2 in a charity shop, sold for an extraordinary £21,000 after it was discovered to be an 18th century treasure.

4) Booze

It's consumable so essentially not clutter at all.

5) Pickles & Pates

A delicious way to perk up cheese and crackers snacks. Ideal to add to the Boxing Day buffet and fabulous with leftovers. I don't think anyone can have too many pickles. Apart from a pickle maker with a garage full of pickles about to reach their sell by date. Pots of pate make tasty gifts. Click here for a recipe.

6) Subscriptions

Magazine subscriptions can make thoughtful gifts. That way you can let the clutter mount up all year round instead of all in one go. If it's for someone who might be looking for someone special, how about a subscription to one of the more tasteful dating sites such as Guardian Soulmates? I've got my mum a membership to something, but definitely not a dating site as she already has her soul mate.

7) Chocolates

These can not be considered clutter. They'll be eaten and enjoyed before the festive season is even over. They are a good idea. Particularly if they're made by an independent chocolatier with their own small chocolate business.

8) Candles

Candles don't have to end up as clutter because they will be burnt. Everyone needs candles anyway in case of a power cut.

9) Books

Books are never a wasted gift. They contain knowledge or entertainment, which once absorbed can be passed on or donated. Books take people on a journey of the mind. Have you seen the film 'About Time'? When the son asks his dad what he's been doing with his time over all the years, he tells him he's been reading books. Lots and lots of books.

10) Handmade Presents

What do you mean, you can't make things? Course you can. There are tutorials on YouTube for just about everything you can think of, from making a cake to a surfboard and a bath bomb to a pizza oven.

How about making your own massage oil by buying some carrier oil (Neal's Yard is good for this) and choosing an aromatherapy fragrance to personalise it. Add a few drops and you're good to go. You can find all sorts of bottles online to decant it in to.