Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays to green up. With the focus on gratitude rather than gifts, we honor not only our family and friends but Nature’s bounty, too. These suggestions can help you plan a green Thanksgiving.
1. Simplify the day. Celebrate being with those you love. Don’t overdo the cooking – and savor whatever you make. Linger over dessert, play games, watch football or a favorite movie, take a walk. Revive special traditions from the past and create new ones you can turn to next Thanksgiving, and the holiday after that.
2. Decorate with boughs and berries. There’s no need to buy fancy Thanksgiving decorations. Head out to your yard with a pair of shears and find tree branches, bush stems loaded with berries, flowers whose seed heads have dried on the stem, and flowering grasses to fill tall vases, hollowed out pumpkins, and autumnal baskets.
3. Let there be light. Illuminate your table with candles of varying heights and widths. Use votives in small glasses or carved sugar pumpkins.
4. Serve locally grown food. Even in colder, northern climates, farmers markets are still selling locally grown greens, potatoes, apples, pears, spices, breads, and cheeses. You’ll find lots of good recipes for salads, side dishes and vegetarian entrees here, as well as heritage turkeys.
5. Offer organic beverages. From apple cider to wine and beer, you have plenty of organic drinks to choose from.
6. Eat all the food you make. Send guests home with leftovers in glass jars rather than wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil. Freeze leftovers in easily re-heatable portions.
7. Use reuseables. Serve your meal on cloth tablecloths and napkins, accompanied by “real” silverware and plates. Worried about cleaning up after a large crowd? Let everyone pitch in – that’s half the fun!
8. Simmer cinnamon. Roasting vegetables and baking pies should infuse your home with delicious holiday aromas. For even more fragrant smells, simmer a few sticks of cinnamon and a few cloves of allspice on the stove. Dab a few drops of pine oil or other favorite fragrance on stones or pinecones that are part of your centerpiece.
9. Turn down the heat. If all your holiday cooking doesn’t heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down 3-5 degrees – no one will notice the difference.
10. Recycle and compost. Keep a bin handy for glass, plastic and paper trash you can recycle rather than toss. Make soup from vegetable peelings, leftover meat and bones. Picked-over vegetables can be composted, though remaining meat and bones will need to be thrown away.
Happy Green Thanksgiving!