UCEC wishes everyone a very merry Christmas, filled with warm memories and the joy of friends and family.

In the spirit of giving, we've made a list of a few ways to start 2015 off to a fresh start. As we all know, sometimes we end the busy holiday season with just a little bit more stuff. Here are a few reuse-recycle-regift ideas.  

Recycle that Christmas Tree
We snagged this idea from Organic Gardening. Cut the boughs off of your now-shriveled Christmas tree and use them like a protective blanket to cover plants that are susceptible to windburn or early frost damage. Or, stand the tree in your garden and decorate it once again: this time with a bag of fatty suet or a sturdy piece of cardboard smeared with a blend of bird seed and peanut butter.

Your local municipality may also mulch trees right after the holidays. Call to inquire; many cities and towns offer a bag of mulch for your garden later in spring.  

Decluttered Decor
This year, as you nestle decorations back into tissue paper and plastic tubs for a long winter sleep, clear out broken lights, dented ornaments and that bizarre elf sculpture that no one really likes. If you have still lovely but-not-for-you decor, give it to a younger friend who may enjoy free decorating help. Or donate unwanted tinsel and ornaments to a thrift store. Your basement will thank you.

Plan Ahead to Reduce Next Year
Sometimes, in the whirl of holiday parties and gifting, we simply over-buy and over-prepare. One co-worker gift becomes 15 mini-loaves of banana bread. Accepting invitations to drop-in parties, potlucks and caroling excursions makes most people wonder, "Why did I say yes?"

While the memories are still fresh, jot down on your phone or in your journal a few of the things you might do differently next year. Give your future self suggestions such as, "Order Christmas cards in November," or "Skip the school holiday party; the kids had meltdowns after a long day and we had to leave early anyway."

Hop Aboard the Regifting Express
If that howling wolf sweatshirt isn't exactly your taste, let it go immediately. Much of clutter accumulates because we resolve to "take care of it later." Spend a moment to appreciate unwanted gifts and then march them kindly to the thrift store or offer to a friend who really, really likes wolves.

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

 

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