Save the reindeer

Written by nancy


As I was putting my children’s letter to Santa Claus into the freezer (because we all know that ensures express delivery to the North Pole), a thought came to mind: Forget save the polar bears, let’s save Santa and his reindeer.

The North Pole receives over 6 million letters to Santa every year. Recently the National Snow and Ice Data Center said that there is a 50-50 chance that the already thin ice on the North Pole will briefly melt away this year as a result of global warming. What will we tell our grandchildren and great grandchildren if we do not address global warming? Santa moved his headquarters because global warming ruined his village?

I have made an effort this year to lower my family’s emissions. The six of us have stopped using water bottles, I wash all our clothes in cold water, and insist on unplugging gadgets and chargers that aren’t in use (or else they get taken away). I use efficiency tools like Smart Strips, shower timers, and a programmable thermostat. Then December rolls around and my mind takes a back seat to my heart. Here is a sampling of the Christmas wish lists from my four children, ranging from 6 to 12 years old:

* Xbox
* Wii
* Wii Fit
* iPod
* Laptop
* Cell phone

Let’s flash back to my Christmas list in 1978 (yes, I am over forty):

* Barbie
* Cabbage Patch Doll
* Roller skates

Can you spot the difference?

For starters, the gifts of 2008 are much more expensive. A Barbie cost about $5 in 1978, while a Wii will run you about $250. And, of course, the carbon emissions created by playing with Barbie are zero. Based on sales for the last 6 months of over 10 million Wii consoles, the additional emissions are about 800,000 lbs of CO2 per week (assuming 4 hours of play per week).

So how do I help save Santa while still giving my children the Christmas they want? For starters, I have decided to include an earth-friendly item in all stockings: a reusable water bottle, shopping bag, reusable batteries, and a scan gauge for my husband. The letter to Santa should have been emailed (, a step that if we all took would save 6 million pieces of paper — and a lot of postage.

But, yes, I will still probably buy a Wii, iPod, or an Xbox to make this year the best ever for my children. I will also purchase a Smart Strip so at least it is not wasting energy while not in use.

How are you going to help save Santa this year?

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