Working with hoarders and their families for much of the year, I’ve come to the realization that we all have hoarding tendencies. Never is this more apparent than during the Christmas holidays.

Who doesn’t shop year-round for sale items to stash in a closet to give as holiday gifts only to forget what we bought six months earlier, so we keep buying? Or, we purchase multiple gifts to ensure that the recipient will be happy with our choice. Ignore your inner perfectionist and the urge to find and give the perfect gift. I like to keep in mind that my friends and family will appreciate the act of giving and not the gift itself.

And we’re all guilty of buying rolls and rolls of wrapping paper as well as packages of ribbons and bows that can clog up precious storage space. According to Celia Ristow of the “Litterless” website, most wrapping paper is actually lined with plastic making it non-recyclable. In addition, any wrapping materials with glitter or tape can’t go into the recycling bin either but are destined for the landfill. Try reusing gift bags, repurposed paper shopping bags, white or brown butcher paper, cloth napkins or newsprint found around the house and gussied up with twine, fresh herbs, cinnamon sticks and old holiday cards, says Kathryn Kellogg of the “Going Zero Waste” website.

Like most, it’s tough for me to resist the in-store and online holiday sales and advertising hype, but this season I also plan to collect inspirational stories and warm memories that I can unwrap and cherish all year long.

I wish you peace, health and happiness this holiday season and throughout the new year.

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