Take a few easy steps to stem the flood of holiday catalogs

Judging by the fake-snow-and-forced-cheer displays popping up in stores, it’s almost that time of year again: Time for overcrowded travel, bad TV specials, a deluge of dead trees, and heaps of precious gift catalogs through your mail slot. Greenies hope you’ll celebrate the holidays this year by opting out of catalog mailing lists via a postcard to the Direct Marketing Association. Even the sellers will thank you, says the DMA’s Amy Blankenship: “From the merchants’ point of view, if there are truly people who don’t want to hear from you, why waste the time and money sending them things?” The Abacus Alliance offers a similar service, geared to help both the environment and your peace of mind. “It’s a quality-of-life issue,” says Sean Sheehan of the environmental group Center for a New American Dream. “People are already harried, and they don’t find coming home to a giant pile of junk mail to be calming.”