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Your Office Holiday Party Doesn't Have to Be Lame (Even in a Recession)

As recently as last year, the holiday office party was a really big deal in England, where drinking to excess and even injury is considered almost a patriotic duty (see the Washington Post: In Britain, A Respected, If Rowdy, Holiday Ritual), but the US has its share of jokes about indiscretions a...

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Tags: Celebrations, Community, Decorating, Green office, Workplace
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Reciprocity and The Gift Economy

"What power resides in the [gift] given that causes its recipient to pay it back?" --Marcel Mauss, The Gift Picture yourself in the following scenario: right before the holidays a co-worker or friend unexpectedly gives you a gift. What do you do? a)Improvise something to give them as a gift b...

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Holiday shopping--just don't

Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Turn them away this year. By Dr. Juliet Schor, reprinted from the Los Angeles Times (edited from original) As if American consumers don't already have enough on their minds, we've just had Black Friday with Cyber Monday still to come, the nation's annual rituals ...

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Tags: Consumption, Economy, Holiday spending, Shopping
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Cookies and the global economy

Today I began to get the itch to follow a family holiday tradition and bake a bunch of cookies. Every year my mother used to make more than a dozen varieties of sweets, from yogurt-covered pretzels to iced gingerbread to colored dough that was squeezed in patterns from an antique sort of press. W...

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Tags: Cookies, Cooking with a conscience, Fair trade ingredients, Green cooking
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Active Transportation for America

By Thomas Gotschi, PhD., Director of Research, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Several years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t bring my bike along. Nobody bikes in L.A. Even after months of chronic back pain, it ultimately took some kids stealing my car to make me reconsider. It was then tha...

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Tags: Active transportation, Bicycling, Rails to trails, Transportation
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(Relinquishing) My Quest for the Best Feast Ever

My Arab Muslim family was all about Thanksgiving. We hosted friends at a huge feast at our home almost every year, quite possibly the most American of all our family meals (though my mother’s couscous stuffing is like no other!). Our home was full of delicious smells and laughter. My first Thank...

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The No Meals Out Challenge

As a graduate student, I’ve been living on a limited income. In addition to trying to cut down more than usual on the extras like new clothes, expanding my library, and taking unnecessary road trips, I recently challenged myself to a “No Meals Out” two weeks. Now, to many people—especially those ...

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Tags: Eating on a budget, Eating out, Home cooking
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Much Ado About Buy Nothing Day

The recent Take Action newsletter, Buy Nothing Day: Because Spending Won't Rescue the Economy has stirred up a lot of reader response, to which we reply, "Great!" It's wonderful to hear from all you New Dreamers out there, however closely your opinions match those expressed in our newsletter. Re...

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No Reason To Wait

As winter approaches, all of us start thinking about the holidays. How can we help it? We are struck daily by a marketing blizzard. Luckily, this time of year doesn’t stress me out too much. My parents were never much the holiday hubbub since my mom comes from a culture that doesn’t celebrate col...

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Tags: Family traditions, Gifts, Holidays
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The Key is to Reduce

One of the ideas we stress here at The Center for the New American Dream is being a responsible consumer - someone who thinks critically about the full impact of what they are purchasing. The drawing above illustrates this principle by actually ranking the three R's - reduce, reuse, and recycle. ...

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Tags: Consumption, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
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