Five for Friday: Festive Five for Friday

This week’s Five for Friday is
getting festive, bringing you five geographic thoughts for the holidays.  Think you’re the only one traveling during
this holiday season? Think again. There’s a lot of “behind the scenes” geo-work
that goes into making your holiday a great one.
Consider these points…

*This year try to “buy
local” when picking your Christmas tree and select a species of tree
that’s native to your area.  You can use
this Christmas
Tree locator map
to help you find the perfect tree and vendor.
Whether you’re in Arizona buying an Arizona Cypress, or in Colorado buying a Colorado Blue Spruce, you can give the Earth a
gift this holiday season by helping to reduce your carbon footprint (and
remember that most fake trees come from China, so you’re not
saving anything when you buy fake!)

*Commodity chains are a great
way to learn geography, since it takes a world of resources to make one
product.  Let’s take the geography of a popular
Hanukah recipe; the potato latke
.
Assuming that all of your ingredients come from top producers, your
potatoes and onions have traveled from Idaho,
the wheat in your matzo meal from Kansas, and
the salt from Louisiana. It’s almost impossible to tell where the
vegetables were grown to create the oil you fry your latke in, making the
geography of a simple potato latke extremely complicated — and this is before
you douse this baby with sour cream or applesauce!

*Wednesday, CNN Money reported that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is
predicting a billion fewer pieces to be sent through the system because
of the economic downturn. Yet with an overall forecast of 19 billion pieces nationwide, USPS still has their hands full, and
with 144,000 troops stationed in Iraq as of late summer, a portion
of this number is likely to be internationally
bound.
When you stop to think about your gift’s overall journey (the locations
of its raw materials, to the place where it was produced, to the store where
you bought it, to your relatives who receive it) your gift ends up being more
traveled than you are!

*Holiday
travel increases by 23% during Christmas/New Years week according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) which
also states that 91 % of us travel by car.
In addition, the BTS reports
that the average distance traveled for the week is 275 miles, proving that the
holiday season does a great job of jumbling the U.S. population!
 

*Last but not least, Santa must
make his way to your house this year, and with the help of Norad’s
Santa Tracker
, you can follow his journey.
My guess is Santa uses some pretty sweet GPS technology to locate you,
maybe geo-referencing
your house with the gifts you requested, or using this great mapmaking site to map the
houses with the best cookies. No matter if you get coal or diamonds in your
stocking, My Wonderful World
wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!


Bethany
for My Wonderful World

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