Q&A: Do You Do Black Friday?

  • November 21, 2012 11:11 am


Dear Alexandra,

I am a sucker for a good deal, which is why I tend to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I was wondering if you take part in these festivities this time of the year?




Hi Laura,

But you already know the answer to this question, don’t you? I’m teasing you. A little. So the season for consuming has arrived! I, too, like a good deal. I’m all about supporting the local economy, but am not a fan of overconsumption or wild days of shopping where people trample each other and buy goods that largely aren’t good for them or the environment. There’s something about these hyped up shopping days that drive people out of control. And we all end up buying way more than we actually want or need. Most of these products will ultimately wind up in landfills.

That said, I’m no grinch. I love giving and getting gifts. One way to support the economy and celebrate your friends and family is with experiential gifts–gift certificates for massages or restaurants, babysitting IOUs, theater tickets, and those sort of things. I’m also a big fan of food and drink gifts (oils, vinegars, homemade anything, organic wine) as well as seed packets for the gardeners in your life. There is very little waste or packaging involved with any of these gifts, and those organic wine bottles can be recycled.

So give yourself a break this Friday. Sleep in. Hang out with your family (if this is enjoyable). Take a walk. Go ice skating (my personal favorite Friday-after-Thanksgiving activity). You’ll have plenty of time to gather great gifts for friends and family before the holidays, I promise.

Hope that helps.



Goody Bags In The New York Times

  • March 1, 2012 10:39 am

I had a great time reporting Tempest In A Goody Bag for The New York Times, out today.

What do you think of goody bags? Do you offer them? Do you like to get them? The comments have been rolling in on the New York Times site, on Facebook, and on various parenting boards I frequent. Please chime in!

Q&A: What Do You Want For The Holidays?

  • December 7, 2011 12:16 pm


Dear Alexandra,

What do YOU ask for for the holidays?




Hi Jake,

You’re not the only one who asked me this! This year I’d like to go entirely waste-free. Though I did—full disclosure—pre-purchase myself some shoes the other day. I love them/they make me feel a little guilty.

Here’s my whimsical stuff-free Top Ten though some of it is really for real.

  1. A clone and more hours in the day
  2. A television show starring yours truly where I get to be totally honest with people about how badly they need to green their lives (usually I’m pretty polite!)
  3. Sleep (this can actually happen if you give me an IOU for babysitting)
  4. Theater tickets (still haven’t seen/am dying to see Book of Mormon)
  5. Dinner out at an organic/local spot
  6. A massage
  7. Food/wine gifts – I know this is technically stuff, but I can hardly bring myself to put sustainably-grown grapes in the same category as plastic gadgets; local cheese is always welcome
  8. A plant or paper white bulbs (they smell sooo good!)
  9. A 10 class pass to my favorite yoga studio
  10. A museum membership

I’m not without stuff wishes of course. I work at home most of the time so nice comfy pajamas are always a treat. I could stand a new-to-me/faster computer, too. I’ve researched and written three of my four books (not to mention countless articles and blogs) on the one I currently have and it is starting to s l o w down. But I can certainly live without either.

Mainly I’m just hoping for some restorative downtime and meals with my family.