To me, Thanksgiving has always felt like the holiday with the greatest “green potential”. There are no gifts, costumes, candy or extra, elaborate frills. It’s simply about family gatherings, feasting on the bounty of the season and giving thanks for everything we have. There are so many ways to avoid over-abundance… (well, with the exception of over-eating!)
Everything from the decorations, to the food, to the clean-up can be exceptionally green.
Here are the things to keep in mind:
- Invitations – forgo the paper invitations and send Evites instead. You’ve probably already handled this task, but this rule goes for any gathering! And if you do need to mail invitations, look for those made of recycled paper.
- Decorations – in many cases, you need only walk into your own backyard: leaves, acorns and twigs can be turned into amazing arrangements. Combine them with colorful gourds, indian corn, squash and apples and you’ve just captured the season! Afterward, compost or add them back to nature.
- Food – visit your local farmer’s market for all of the most amazing produce. Go organic. Think acorn squash, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, apple and pumpkin pie! And seek out an organic, hormone-free, steroid-free turkey (if it will be a part of your feast).
- Drinks – serve organic drinks or consider a local brew… or, if you’re lucky (like me!) and surrounded by local wineries, a local wine!
- Tableware and serveware – stop saving “the good dishes” and silverware! Use them! Glasses, cups and stemware? Get them out! Forget the disposable “anything”. You can even score inexpensive cloth napkins and table coverings at any dollar store.
- Consider the temperature – ovens heat a house quite quickly… and so do lots of people… so turn down the thermostat or, in warmer climates, keep ceiling fans circulating or windows open to keep the indoors comfortable.
- Recycle – that should go without saying, but just remember to make it happen. Cans, jars, containers, bottles, anything and everything possible.
- Don’t waste leftovers – keep only what you know your family will eat. Send the rest home with your guests. Start thinking about containers now (no styrofoam plates or plastic-wrap, please!). You can even ask guests to bring their own glass or ceramic dishware… why not?! And if you compost, toss in those food scraps.
- Clean-up – use your dishwasher, but make sure you fill it first. For the big jobs, you’ll need to use some elbow-grease, but be sure not to leave the tap running endlessly. And get out your green cleaners. You can get back to “shiny & clean” without harsh chemicals.
- Although it has nothing to do with being green… give thanks. Ask everyone at your table to share a thought. It will certainly put happiness in the air, and that’s absolutely free!
Now, if you need some of those ‘leaf, acorn and twig’ decorations I mentioned, email me… and then back up a truck… I have enough in my own backyard to supply your whole neighborhood!