Thanksgiving has evolved over the last couple of generations. It has become more of a time of commercialism and less about giving thanks for all the wonderful things in our lives, friends, and family. This year, we should all take a pledge to have a greener Thanksgiving and, instead of looking to what we can get, but more towards what we can give back. Whether we are giving back to others and our community, or lowering our consumption to lessen our impact on the earth, both will have a significant impact on the work, no matter how big or small. Remember, it starts with a drop in the bucket. Therefore, here are some great tips to help give back a little while keeping with a green Thanksgiving.
Buy Your Food Locally
Instead of buying all your groceries from some big-box retailer, such as Wal-Mart, work on getting as much from local growers as possible. You will save on fuel costs, get much fresher and healthier food to feed your family and help a local family in return by providing them business on this holiday. No matter where you live, there is always a way to find a more local alternative. And opt for organic and hormone-free when you can since we need to also be looking at ways to have healthier foods.
Deal With Dishes
I hate dishes just as much as the next person, but using disposable plates and cups has a drastic impact on our environment. Plastics do not decompose and nor does Styrofoam. Instead, use your normal daily plates and silverware. Don’t have enough? Go to a local thrift shop and mix and match a set for holidays that can be stored the rest of the year. If you are determined to use throw-away plates and cutlery, opt for decomposable or recyclable. I found a great site called Eco-Products that sells not only for the commercial customer, but you can order for household use as well.
Volunteer at your Local Shelter
Got everything started for that huge holiday dinner for your family? Ask someone at home to keep an eye on it for you while you go out for an hour or two to volunteer to help someone in need. You can even bring your kids or other family members to help. If you aren’t cooking, why not go, volunteer, till you have to arrive for dinner? Instead of just sitting around watching the parade and football games, go out and help others that don’t have that option. They will appreciate it and you will have a great sense of pride in the end.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce the number of goods used for dinner by purchasing just enough food for the guests or have each guest bring their favorite dish. Also, decorate with items found in nature like fallen leaves, pine cones, fresh flowers, etc., and reuse items from last year's decorations. Finally don’t forget to recycle all the packaging materials from purchased items. This doesn’t just help the environment, but the wallet as well.
Open Up Your Home
With all the cooking and people, homes get very warm. Open up the house and let some cool air in. If it is too cold outside, use the oven heat to warm up the house during the cooking and after all the cooking is done. This reduces heating and cooling costs while keeping everyone comfortable.
Start a New Tradition
Start a new tradition to find new ways to improve your Thanksgiving holiday while also finding new ways to be green. As our commenter below stated, doing a simple task together like cleaning up allows for family bonding time. Having specific tasks for different people, from cooking, setting up, and cleanup, can all be ways to begin the tradition and have everyone work together.
And after all, is said, don’t forget to give thanks to your friends and family. Remember what is good in your life, no matter how small. We all have something to be thankful for this holiday season; you just have to look for it.