Have yourself a wasteful little Christmas...
While I didn't completely manage to buy nothing on the day after Thanksgiving--I did spend money going out to dinner with friends--it wasn't hard for me to steer clear of the "Black Friday" shopping binge. After all, there was sleeping in to do, organic turkey (not to mention all that non-organic wine and pie) to work off at the gym, and honestly, I'd rather spend the day getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist than lining up outside a store in the middle of the night only to get trampled by my fellow shoppers.
Getting through the rest of the holiday season without succumbing to overconsumption will be a bit trickier. No slouches in the trash-making department any time of year, Americans create an extra million tons of garbage each week between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Holiday spirit is a beautiful thing, but when 67 percent of us buy--and wrap--gifts for our pets, it's hard not to conclude that the merchandising mania is a bit out of control. During this season, Americans:
* throw away 38,000 miles of ribbon
* chop down 33 million Christmas trees
* buy 2.65 billion holiday cards
* consume 27 percent more electricity
For tips on minimizing holiday waste (or, as the Center for a New American Dream nicely puts it, having "more joy and less stuff"), check out the Center's online guide to simplifying the holidays.
(Get more ideas for living well and doing good in "The Green Life," a new section appearing in every issue of Sierra magazine.)