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I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More Paperback – Bargain Price, September 30, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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This holiday season, Anna Getty chef, mother, organic living expert, environmental advocate, and writer helps families save money and reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing style or tradition. Anna advises how to choose the best tree (real or fake?), mitigate the negative effects of necessary travel, recycle post-holiday, and more. She shares favorite holiday recipes for organic appetizers and homemade craft ideas such as pinecone wreaths and recycled sweater pillows. With inspiring photographs, extensive resources, and advice from the 'Lazy Environmentalist' Josh Dorfman, Seventh Generation's Jeffrey Hollender, and other leading eco-experts, families might just find that these tips help them stay green all year long the perfect New Year's resolution!

Q&A with Anna Getty

Q: How can being green save you money?

Getty:  When you use less you buy less. If we buy less ipso facto we save money.

Q: How does the book help to teach your kids to be green?

Getty: This book is about creating family traditions. This book is about being more green during a very wasteful time of year. If we incorporate our children into these new traditions of crafting with what we already have, making gifts and not buying gifts, we help our children become more green and more conscientious about respecting the planet. Children learn through example. If we make changes with our own wasteful habits , our children will adopt these changes as their own.

Q: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Getty: Baking Christmas cookies with my daughter and her little friends.

Q: What is a good place to start if you are new to the green movement?

Start with easy doable steps. If you are not recycling, start recycling, if you still use stores plastic bags switch to paper (many paper bags are now made from recycled paper) or better yet bring your own cloth bags. Do one or two things and let them become a part of you rather then too many at once and then give up. In terms of the holidays, ditch the store bought wrapping paper. Most store bought wrapping paper uses virgin paper stock and toxic dyes or ink. Go for recycled wrapping paper or reuse paper (just be careful when you open gifts so you can save it to rewrap). Or find alternative ways of wrapping like using old maps or music sheets, or pages out of magazines or old newspapers and books.

Q: Are there any tips from the experts in the book that surprised you?

Getty:  Darren Moore of www.ecovations.com surprised me with the information that having ones home Energy Star Home Performance tested could cut ones energy consumption in half. I also really loved Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation's tip about being reflective and appreciative during the holiday time.

Q: What’s your favorite recipe or craft from the book?

Getty:  Hard to pick as I love so many of them but my favorite recipe hands down is the Trufled Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese and the Recycled Christmas Card Gift tags is pretty high up there in the crafts.

Recipe Excerpts from I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Truffled Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Salt Dough Ornaments

About the Author

Anna Getty is a leading green living expert. She works with the Organic Center, Global Green, NRDC, and Seventh Generation, among others, and is the author of the upcoming Easy Green Organic. Anna lives in Los Angeles.

Ron Hamad is an acclaimed photographer and director who lives in Los Angeles.

Zem Joaquin is ecofabulous.com's founder and editor-in-chief. She lives in San Francisco..

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811867676
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,190,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Every year for more than a half century I've made thousands of Christmas cookies, handmade wreaths and scores of home-made decorations - some of professional quality and some just fine things to make with your children! I am a child of people who grew up during the Great Depression and then survived World War II. I was raised on the motto "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without!" so recycling household items into something new has always been a way of life. Many of the things I've made have been my very own ideas. Other ideas have come from Woman's Day and Family Circle and Martha Stewart and so on. Unfortunately, "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas" contains few to none of those great ideas.

Best left in the great recycling bin at the print shop, "I'm Dreaming" is a perfect example of an "author" who is dreaming of a great pile of green cash for Christmas without knowing much about anything at all she preaches about. And make no mistake - this is not a "fun" book. It is a sermon from the very first page - and not very original.

Many of her ideas are ill-conceived and poorly planned. Some, however, are downright dangerous. Completely ignoring the various ways to cover fruit with sugar sparkle, edible gold and silver leaf or edible glitter and fairy dust - all safe techniques in use over decades and centuries - the author recommends the application of a non-toxic glue stick and ordinary glitter. And then recommends eating the fruit so as not to waste it.

My nomination for the Worst Book of 2009, "I'm Dreaming" is not worth the paper it is printed on. Save a tree and leave the book behind. Send a subscription for
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This book is a very thorough guide to greening your holidays. From entertaining, decorations, recipes, and shopping choices, it delivers quite a packed punch of beautiful and sustainable information. My husband and I are both foodies and love to cook. We are very discriminating about recipes, and I can assure you that Anna's Sweet Potato Christmas Enchiladas are delicious and the Truffled Goat Macaroni and Cheese is now a regular staple in our weekly dinners. The apple, brie, and cranberry quesadillas are perfection as well as the pumpkin gnocchi. I made the salt-dough ornaments with my kids and it was gleefully nostalgic and is now a new tradition in our household. This book has re-birthed the handmade goodness that our culture has lost in all its plastic consumerism. My most favorite decor item I did this year was the Bell Jar Mini-Scenes. So cute and fun, and people rave about them when they come over. Such a simple, but unique idea that anyone can make. What I love most about the book is how stocked with information it is. There are so many great projects, ideas, tips, and recipes that I keep thumbing through for something new. A lot of entertaining books I own are very sparse in their content, but this book has an abundance. I'm giving one to all my girlfriends and my mom for Christmas and it will be a permanent fixture on my entertaining/cookbook/holiday guide bookshelf forevermore.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"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.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was disappointed in this book. I was expecting something simpler. Instead, this more like Martha Stewart gone green, with projects and recipes so elaborate they are intimidating.

There are some tips on saving energy and such, but they are mostly pretty obvious to anyone with any interest in environmentalism.

I also have doubts about the "green-ness" of the projects. How sustainable are acrylic paints, glitter, a hot glue gun?

The book is attractive, with lots of full-color photos. I didn't care for the photos, though. They seem to be mostly of the author and her children; I'd prefer to see a little more diversity. A lot of the photos are so "artsy" they aren't particularly useful (extreme closeups, odd angles). A how-to book should have more practical images. But then, maybe this is the kind of book that people look at, but don't actually use. That's certainly the case for me.
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