1. On the first day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: the notion that Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah are eco-holidays. Kwanzaa (“first fruits” in Swahili) has its roots in African harvest festivals. Christmas involves serious tree-hugging (thank the pagans for that). And Hanukkah celebrates squeezing every last drop from a tiny bit of oil.

    Photos: iStockphoto.

  2. On the second day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: a fair to remember. The mall-weary across America are turning to alternative gift fairs, where nonprofits ask you to shop till you drop — the dough, that is. Dang, we’ll miss the Jell-O dreidels and patchwork wreaths.

  3. On the third day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: a chance to be crafty. From potato-stamp paper to cloth bags, from eggshell ornaments to toilet-paper tube menorahs, everything’s more fun when it’s crooked! Plus you’ll save a few trees and stick it to the man — what’s more festive than that?

  4. On the fourth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: a moment in the sun. Like ye pagans of olde, many people still whoop it up for the Winter Solstice (but not so much with the goat sacrifice, usually). On Dec. 21, take a moment to admire the sunset, light some candles, and feast with friends.

  5. On the fifth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: brilliant ideas for holiday lights. Replace incandescent bulbs with super-efficient LEDs, then save even more by putting them on a timer. Use candles? Buy (or make) beeswax tapers to avoid nasty fumes. And always keep an eye on the dog. She’s like a moth, that one.

  6. On the sixth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: a reminder from the U.S. Forest Service not to over-tinselize: those caught red- (or green-) handed trimming trees along national-forest roads in Arizona face fines or up to six months in jail. At least they’d be out in time to spruce things up for the Fourth of July.

  7. On the seventh day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: toys! Make sure the kiddies’ gifties are safe and non-toxic. Consider naturally powered gadgets, and buy rechargeable batteries for them that ain’t. Also: do not, under any circumstances, support the resurgence of Care Bears.

  8. On the eighth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: eco-party tips! Turn down the heat before your peeps arrive. Rent dishes to avoid adding to the extra 1 million tons of trash tossed weekly between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And don’t give out tchotchkes — seriously.

  9. On the ninth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: a land grab! With the North Pole melting — for unfathomable reasons — Claus’s corner may be the next biz hotspot. Several countries are already sniffing around, but so far the only odor is elf sweat.

  10. On the tenth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: a breath of fresh air. Audubon’s 106th Christmas Bird Count, which enlists 50,000 volunteers to tally tweeters across the Americas, runs through Jan. 5. Got a free day? Make it for the birds.

  11. On the eleventh day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: tasty morsels of holiday foodishness. Buy fresh, local ingredients — plus a little extra for your local food bank. And don’t put those leftovers in plastic! Now bring us some figgy pudding. We won’t go until we get some.

  12. On the twelfth day …

    … the Grist staff gave to me: peace on earth. Ohh, we wish. Short of that, consider giving peace bonds. Or join the Sit for Change Meditation Marathon to promote peace and raise funds for do-gooders like Grist. Whatever you do, have a happy holiday. And peace out till ’06.