Americans throw more away during the holidays than at any other time!  In fact, when you consider the food waste, disposable plates, plastic cups, boxes, wrapping paper and packing peanuts that will all get trashed, your holiday spirit can end up in the dumps, too.

Thankfully, making this season a bit greener is not as difficult as it may seem.  And, we’ve got some tips to share so you can focus less on the stuff, hustle & bustle and instead enjoy what’s really important–making memories with those you love.

Plan your Portions:  certainly everybody expects a great holiday meal and leftovers are part of the fun. To avoid having to dump a lot of uneaten food, plan your meal wisely. There are many online tools to help figure how much to make.  Also, ask your guests to come prepared with reusable containers so they can take leftovers home. You might even find some great recipes that use those leftovers as ingredients. Print a couple of recipes to send along with your guests–here’s a great place to start!

Support your Neighbors:  when shopping, try to buy as much from local farmers and growers as possible.  Doing so keeps your dollars flowing in our local economy and supports our neighbors. In addition, buying local is more environmentally friendly because food purchased locally doesn’t have to be shipped across the country (or farther), nor does it have to be packaged to endure that long trip.

Keep it Real:  avoid using disposable dinnerware.  Use the real stuff!  If you have been blessed with precious place settings or serving dishes that have been in the family for years, get them out and use them. What a great way to honor and remember your family heritage! When it comes time to clean up, ask others to pitch-in and help clear, wash, rinse and dry. They’ll be glad to help and the conversation will be rich! 

Make Recycling a Reality:  by simply placing a recycling bin near your trash can, your guests will understand that you are a recycler.  Putting a note on the bin will help them know what to put where.

Decorate with Nature:  many times, the best decorations are not ones you can purchase at the store.  For your Thanksgiving celebration, use leaves, pumpkins, acorns, gourds, native grasses, corn, etc.  This same concept works just as well at Christmastime when you can use holly, twigs, pine cones, and more. Bring the outside in to give your home a festive spirit! Perhaps the best part is that you can compost the decorations when you are done.

Relax & Enjoy:  once all the planning, cleaning, cooking, setting and sweating is done and the guests have arrived, don’t forget to breathe in the time with those you love.  We have much to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving!


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