Christmas and the coming of a new year is a season of traditions as old as time. In Germany many a Christmas market features organic and environmentally friendly products, or even simply traditional crafted goods which by their very august history predate the age of plastic and disposables. Of course, not all German traditions are environmentally friendly, and the eco-organization webpages are full of useful tips about substituting candle wax for the traditional "bleigiessen" or dripping of lead (melted in a spoon) into cold water in order to prognose the future from the shapes which result. But one of the finest of traditions is the wooden sled. Find one which is handcrafted from locally grown trees and you will have a classic which will be cherished for generations. (Or take a look in the attic during your next visit to Grandpa's and you may find a hand-me-down already waiting to be burnished back to new life.) For tips to help you make, find or maintain your wooden sled read on...Your wooden sled should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated location to avoid mold. After the last run of the season, rub some wax on metal runners to protect them from rusting. And take advantage of the wooden sled's greatest asset: replace or repair damaged slats to give your sled new life. And recommend a wooden sled to your friends when they have to toss yet another molded plastic toy into the rubbish bin.
If you can order the classic from Germany, try searching "hörnerrodel" or "schneckenrodel" and you will find endless sources. For wooden sleds of many traditions in the USA, try Oley Sled Works. In the UK, take a look at Nickey's Seeds (yup, seeds not sleds: must be an off-season thing).
Share your sledding memories in the comments!