It is getting so close to that magical week between Christmas and New Year's where offices are either closed or abandoned by the vast majority of employees, and no work gets done. Whether you plan to be snuggled on a couch by an open fire or logging truncated days of semi-productivity in a half-empty office, might we suggest these “greenreads,” collected by the staff of OnEarth, as a way to pass the time?

Here you will find a dozen examples of some of the best environmental journalism from the past year. Some of these pieces aren't exactly full of holiday cheer (a story on farmworkers in the Eastern Coachella Valley sounds pretty grim, for example). But we are excited to check out Alex Shoumatoff's piece on the decline of African elephants, and can second the recommendation of Burkhard Bilger's "The Great Oasis."