Since it’s the holiday season, it’s time for a trip down candy cane Grist archive lane to revisit some festive links that are, uh, evergreen:


lights Deck your halls with a sprinkling of mistletoe trivia, like that “mistletoe” means “dung on a twig.” That’ll get your lips wet. And Umbra explains why LED holiday lights rock so much harder than traditional ones. The downloadable Yule log demonstrates yet another reason iPhones win at life, or you can gaze at Stephen Colbert’s version.

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Christmas trees

tree Sarah van Schagen looks at the issue of pesticide-drenched trees, and Umbra dishes on finding an organic one. Umbra also covers getting a live tree (or renting one, if you’re a Portlandian) and how to meet its needles, er, needs. And the eternal real-versus-fake question gets answered with the — spoiler alert! — revelation that artificial trees are made of narsty polyvinyl chloride, and thus should be avoided like a reindeer jumper. After the holidays, hit up Earth911 to find locations where you can bid your tree fir-well.


gifts This gift guide has ideas for every stereotype on your list, from the self-righteous enviro to the hipster and the angsty teen. Supporting the local economy is a sugar-frosted snap with this list of ideas, supplemented with Seattle suggestions. Readers weighed in with their favorite books, soaps, and doo-daws in this roundup. And here are present ideas for those small, messy, noisy people (oh right, “children”). Finish with Umbra’s creative gift-wrap tips for a wrapper’s delight.


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stress The holidays are hella stressful even when it isn’t, you know, a recession — Bill McKibben offers ways to relax and pare down. These ten suggestions for stuff-free gifts include bass guitar lessons (Dad, I hope you’re reading this) and the priceless memories made with copious organic booze. Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard opines about giving change instead of contributing to the cycle of consumption. And two rabbis advise on making Hanukkah a time to reflect on the climate and to get active in your community.


gingerbread houseUse the season as an excuse to make chestnuts into holiday pudding (figgy pudding remains a mystery), build an eco-gingerbread house, and put funky spices like curry powder in your cookies. And after the holidaze, recycle your seasonal treats into eggnog french toast or fruitcake ice cream (though how fruitcake becomes any more palatable with ice cream, I don’t know).

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