For years now I have been thinking about ways to lessen the excess and mass marketing culture that has been a trademark of the American Christmas season. Last Christmas, I wrote about ways to green your Christmas, and buy less stuff. When you think about the facts, it is truly appalling: Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Americans produce an extra 2 billion pounds of garbage PER WEEK. And how about this one (I am guilty as charged-) enough holiday cards are sold every Christmas season to fill a ten story football stadium. And one of my favorite ones, which lets me know how important purchasing natural, U.S. made wooden toys is: If every child under six received a quality wood toy instead of a plastic one, 17 million tons of plastic in the landfill would be spared.
You’ll find those facts in the new book, Green Christmas: How to Have a Joyous, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season by Jennifer Basye Sander and Peter Sander with Anne Basye. This little book is packed with ideas for how to have a less stressful, more meaningful and altogether greener holiday this year.
From the benefits of organic wine (no headaches!) to countless ideas for green gift giving, this book is a fantastic way to start planning for holiday season of less gluttony, less stuff and more fun and meaning.
Without being preachy or religious (except in the last little sidebar-), Green Christmas breaks it down into chapters about saving money, spending time with family, decorating, entertaining, green holiday travel, and gift giving. Immediately useful and practical ideas abound in this book. I was a wee bit smug before reading it, as I have read a good deal about this issue before, and found myself with many new ideas to use with my family.
I’ll give you a little example. I’ve never posted about this, but you may have read or heard that paraffin candles are petroleum based emit all sort of toxic chemicals (such as toluene, benzene and formaldehyde directly into the air of your home. Yikes! So instead, the book encourages use to buy candles made from soybean wax, or make beeswax candles as a family. The book gives you a few ideas where to buy sheets of beeswax to use to create these healthy, beautiful gifts.
Here’s to a season of less stuff, particularly less plastic imported stuff to fill our homes for a while then crowd the landfill. Here’s to a greener more meaningful holiday. And here’s to a book that can help with both of those ideas.
Readers, what are your ideas for a greener holiday?