7 Ways to Have a Sustainable Thanksgiving Celebration

Just because Thanksgiving looks a bit different this year, practicing COVID-19 preventative measures, doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun, festive and eco-friendly!

Accordingly to Take Care of Texas, “Thanksgiving is a leading holiday for food waste and trash, higher energy usage, and other negative impacts on our local environment.”

To have a more mindful and sustainable holiday, here are seven easy-to-implement tips that you can add into your Thanksgiving traditions for years to come.

1. Craft some sustainable décor.

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the decorations! I love setting up my house with my family and making everything feel more festive. Having decorations made from up-cycled and sustainable materials is the icing on the cake. This year we are decorating our Thanksgiving table with a flannel garland that I made from thrifted flannels shirts I bought at Goodwill.

2. Ditch the disposables.

Thanksgiving is a time when we should all be more thankful. We should be thankful for the beautiful world we live in and give back to it by not using any type of disposable dishes or utensils. So what if you have to wash a few dishes? At least you won’t be adding to the landfills. If you’re running low on serving platters and any other Thanksgiving dishes, just head over to Goodwill. They have tons of awesome holiday-themed goods!

3. Bring reusable shopping bags when buying groceries.

When shopping at the grocery store, its always a great idea to bring reusable shopping bags for the items you buy. Right now, some grocery stores are restricting reusable bags due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If that’s the case where you shop, be sure to save your plastic bags and bring them to a plastic bag recycle location which many grocery stores offer.

4. Use cloth napkins and dish towels instead of paper towels/napkins.

Setting a Thanksgiving table with a linen table cloth and napkins adds an element of elegance to your dinner event (that you just cannot achieve with paper napkins and tablecloths). Now all you need is some up-cycled candlestick holders and colorful candles to finish off the look!

5. Travel smarter and get outside more.

This year because of the pandemic, we all need to be staying close to home and celebrating in small, safe groups. While it is disappointing to have to forego Thanksgiving travel plans, especially when that means not seeing extended family and close friends, we all need to stay well and safe. As an alternative, once the turkey is in the oven (and someone is at home keeping an eye on it), take a walk outside to a nearby park to admire the autumn leaves and spend some time in nature. You can also video conference with your loved ones and still enjoy the meal together!

6. Rethink Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

My plan this year includes both weekly Goodwill store visits so I can scoop up the treasures I know I will find there for gifts, and cutting down on the number of gifts I give to each of my family members in an effort to reduce my conspicuous consumption. I know the time and effort I spend searching for thrifted gifts will be much appreciated by my family and friends.

7.  Eat the leftovers!

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I actually like the leftovers more than the main meal. After cooking for the entire day and eating along the way, by the time we sit down to the meal, I’m almost too full to eat. By the next day, all the food we cooked seems to taste way better since the ingredients have had time to set and my stomach is empty and ready to relive the Thanksgiving feast. Since we have a long weekend for Thanksgiving, (and we do get tired of eating turkey and all the fixings for four straight days), we do focus on recipes to use up any leftover ingredients, and change up our weekend menus.

The post is adapted from the Goodwill of Greater Washington Finding Your Good blog. Read the full post.