Christmas in Allston

Terry Gross recently interviewed author Adam Minter, who asserts: “The best thing you can do [for the planet] is not buy more stuff.” I agree – I’ve spent much of my life deflecting gifts and hand-me-downs, and still have a house full of stuff I don’t need.

But what if you really need stuff? Boston Curb Alert comes to the rescue. Billing itself as the “patron saint of Christmas in Allston,” this website tracks items that Boston residents have put out on the curb. In addition, the site brings together several other resources to help people re-home their second-hand goods. The Boston Curb Alert Twitter feed features listings of free second-hand goods, and humorous snapshots of goods left curbside. Think Craig’s List on steroids.

And if you don’t live in Boston but you’re excited about the concept, you can “add your city” to Curb Alert.

If your Yankee Swap ends up looking a little bit “re-homed,” the planet thanks you.

Reduce light pollution and your electricity bills

I bet you thought that, in a cross between the Lorax and the Grinch, I’d be urging you to put up fewer holiday lights. Nope! Instead, I thought I’d share a tidbit from Mother Nature Network. According to MNN, some electric utilities bill residential customers for electricity used to power street lamps. Now I know that some street lamps have public safety benefits – but not all of them. It may be worth checking your electricity bill or calling customer service to see if you’re paying to light the street. The article on Mother Nature Network provides more info.

And please do turn out the holiday lights when you go to bed. I know for a fact that Santa is not doing practice runs on your front lawn.