"During the holidays, household waste increases by more than 25 percent...Americans throw away an additional 5 million tons of trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve."
This statement was part of the author's inspiration to write this book, which gives tips and ideas to help minimize the impact of the holidays on planet Earth. But it is so much more than that...this book has ideas to simplify your holidays, build family traditions, and bring meaning back to what has become such a commercialized time of year.
This book starts with the 10 easiest things you can do to save energy during the holidays (although several of the tips apply to the entire year). These range from switching Christmas lights to LEDs to avoiding junk mail (the author gives websites to stop the catalog madness). From there, she goes into decorating projects, recipes, simple homemade gifts, entertaining, and other subjects. Throughout the book are sprinkled easy ideas and scary statistics from other sources. She discusses the greenest Christmas tree issue (fake vs. real...which is better for the environment?), the fact that many traditional paraffin candles have wicks containing lead, cloth vs. paper napkins, and many other issues.
The main reason I purchased this book is I have a 2 1/2 year old son, with another child on the way. I want to do things greener for them, but I also want to do more homemade projects and start some traditions so they enjoy the holidays without thinking of mountains toys. This book accomplishes this for me, with many simple & easy crafts and tips. I love the idea of making wreaths out of old wool sweaters, putting some sparkle on fruits (something I never would have thought of), making angel doily ornaments and twig stars.
Many of the recipes sound great, although some sound strange or have some fairly exotic ingredients. I can't imagine making truffled goat cheese macaroni & cheese (I don't even know if I can get truffle salt or truffles in Alaska), or celery root soup with crumbled bacon and humboldt fog cheese, or apple cranberry & brie quesadillas with black bean salsa. However, several of the recipes do sound good like the stuffed mushrooms, maple walnut cookies, and seven layers of sin bars. I can tell you that the roasted acorn squash soup is simple & excellent!
My main complaint about the book (why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5) is while most of the crafts seem simple, a few of the crafts were not explained well enough and were a bit confusing. Pictures of the steps would have been helpful. Some of the crafts had no pictures at all. Granted, I'm quite craft challenged, so if you are crafty this may not be an issue for you.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for green tips, starting family traditions, or wanting ideas for homemade gifts and decorations. While some of the recipes sound good, that is not really the main focus and is not a reason to purchase this book.