How To Have A Green Christmas

Guest host Jacki Lyden talks to Anna Getty about how to make the holiday season more eco-friendly. Getty's new book of tips, craft ideas and recipes is called I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas.

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

The holiday season is filled with family and good cheer, but it's also filled with new presents, wrapping paper, ribbons, cross country travel, wood-burning fires, making it a decidedly ungreen holiday. So, how can eco-friendly people celebrate the holidays without becoming more like the Grinch?

In her new book "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas," Anna Getty shares craft ideas, recipes and eco-friendly tips to help you green the season without losing any holiday cheer. Anna Getty joins us from NPR West in Culver City, California. Thanks for being with us.

Ms. ANNA GETTY (Author, "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas"): Thank you, Jacki, for having me.

LYDEN: What you have here are not necessarily big, complicated projects. You have things that are fun and easy to do. Could you give us a couple of examples?

Ms. GETTY: Well, by nature I am not a crafty person. So it was really important for me to develop crafts or to take crafts from my past that were easy. For example, I have a cork placeholder and you basically take a used cork and then you put a slice in it and then put a little card in it and then you're done.

LYDEN: There's so many tips in here and great recipes. I'm just wondering: What's your favorite fun tip? You've got decorated matchboxes, wire table decorations with chilies and quartz crystal - really inventive, fun things. What are your favorites?

Ms. GETTY: I love the vintage Chinese egg ornaments, you know, taken from Easter time where you blow the interior of the egg out into a bowl, make an omelet and then you can take tissue paper and old stamps and just lovely paper that you've collected, which we all have - photographs - and you paint them onto the egg. And you have this beautiful little personalized ornament.

LYDEN: What you seem to be saying, Anna, is that people really can make an awful lot of stuff at home.

Ms. GETTY: That's correct. And I think especially this year with the recession, the way the economy is, it's not an option to go out and buy and buy and buy this year. And I know that people don't want to feel like they're lacking, and I believe in this book there are so many beautiful ways of making Christmas so magical.

LYDEN: So I like it that at the end of all this you've got some great recipes in here, including, now we can share a pomegranate antioxidant cocktail.

Ms. GETTY: Yes. That was made with pomegranate juice and VeeV, which is an acai alcohol, which is also high in antioxidants. You don't have VeeV; you can use vodka. And the macaroni and cheese, the truffle goat cheese macaroni and cheese, is absolutely divine. It's all really cozy, yummy and, to me, very international.

LYDEN: What are a few of the easiest things to do to go green around the holidays?

Ms. GETTY: The ones that I have in the book are switch your twinkly lights to LED lights. You know, they save so much energy and they last a lot longer. Lower your thermostat, especially when you're having a lot of guests in the house. Having a lot of people in the house does create a lot of heat. You know, if you can redo your insulation, that's great. If you can't, get thicker curtains, put rugs on the floor, you know, smaller, you know, less obvious things.

Turn off your lights when you're not home and when you're asleep. Of course, buy locally grown foods if you can. And lastly, dispose of your waste properly. So that means recycling, that means mulching your Christmas tree and composting if you can.

LYDEN: We just couldn't leave this without the real versus fake great Christmas tree debate. What's the verdict? What's more green?

Ms. GETTY: Oh, yes - this is a big one. After the all the research I've done, really, the best tree you can get is a locally cut tree. Fake trees are made from polyvinylchloride, which is PVC. It's not recyclable and it's incredibly toxic to manufacture. So, at the end of the day, no tree is the greenest choice. But if you're going to do a tree, do a locally, you know, grown and, you know, go out with your children if you can and cut the tree. They love that.

LYDEN: Thank you very, very much.

Ms. GETTY: Thank you. Happy sustainable holidays.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: Happy sustainable Christmas. Anna Getty's new book is called "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas," and she talked to us from NPR West in Culver City, California. Thanks, Anna, for joining us.

Ms. GETTY: Thank you, Jacki.

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