Last updated: 24 November 2009
Santa's been and gone, you've eaten too many mince pies and there's a pile of discarded wrapping paper resembling Mount Snowdon in the living room. Sound familiar?
Over the festive season we're often likely to eat, drink and spend a little more than we should. We're also likely to increase the amount of waste we normally produce, but with a little effort we can all contribute to a greener Christmas by reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible.
Have you thought about sending e-cards this Christmas this year? If you are going to send paper cards, try to purchase ones from a charity that supports the environment.
If you receive cards yourself, recycle them in accordance with your local recycling scheme - if you have one - or look out for stores collecting cards to be recycled for charity - like the Woodland Trust's initiative. Stamps can often be collected by charities too.
Gifts and wrapping
Try to purchase durable gifts that will last, rather than gimmicky products that may break easily. Consider buying gifts with recycled content, gifts that have been produced in a sustainable way and that are environmentally friendly.
Support your favourite charities by purchasing presents in charity shops and, if you've a tricky relative to buy for, consider giving cash or vouchers rather than splashing out on a potentially unwanted gift.
If you receive an unwanted gift yourself, you can pass it onto a charity shop or advertise it on a free recycling initiative website such as The Freecycle Network.
Rather than wrap every present you give, consider purchasing gift bags instead to cut down on excess packaging. If buying wrapping paper attempt to pick one that contains recycled content, and try to pick presents, where you can, without layers and layers of packaging. Save ribbons, paper and gift bags to re-use next Christmas, and transform old Christmas cards into next year's gift tags.
Trees and decorations
Choose durable decorations that are likely to last longer than a single festive season. Get crafty and recycle old decorations, for example, into new decorations, on homemade Christmas cards, or use as scraps for children's art projects.
If you're buying a 'real' tree, try to ensure it is locally sourced from a sustainable environment. Contact your local council to check if they have a scheme for recycling trees after the Christmas period or, if possible, purchase a tree with roots that you are able to plant in your garden or keep alive in a pot for years to come.
Where you can, endeavour to buy Fair Trade, organic and/or locally sourced produce, for example from farmers' markets, local butchers and greengrocers.
Although it can be difficult at Christmas, try to purchase only what you really need to minimise the amount of wasted food you throw out. Reuse as much of your leftovers as you can in other food dishes; this doesn't have to mean the inevitable 'turkey curry' - try the BBC Food website for ideas, where you can search for recipes by ingredient.
If you don't already, consider composting your food waste at home or check if your local authority has a food waste collection service.
When shopping, strive to use cloth or jute shopping bags rather than single use plastic carrier bags. If you have no alternative, try to re-use these bags as much as possible before they inevitably end up in landfill.
And if you're throwing a party over the festive season avoid buying disposable cups, plates and cutlery - it may mean a little more washing up the morning after, but the environment will thank you for it.