I love to host a party. It gives me an excuse to spend way too much time in the kitchen creating a fabulous meal for friends and family, and the holidays are no exception. Despite it being a season of indulgence, however, I still keep an eye out for ways to stay environmentally friendly. Here are a few Thanksgiving party ideas and even some ways to host a sustainable Christmas gathering at home:
Use the Good China
Skip the landfill-clogging paper plates and plastic cups; the holidays are the perfect time to show off your best serving ware, and all the paper you save goes back into your wallet when paying your bills each month. I often dig out my great-great grandmother’s antique green and white dish set when it’s time to set the table this season. Everything from the gravy boat to the serving platters play a role, and sometimes they become a topic of conversation! I also love using novelty platters and cute crystal dishes to display my homemade caramels and frosted cookies.
Recycle Gift Wrap
Greeting-card envelopes, cardboard clothing boxes, tissue paper, and gift wrap all create waste from opening gifts—but it’s all recyclable. I keep a large bag in the living room to collect these materials as the presents are opened, allowing us to simplify the cleanup.
I also create a pile of gift wrap to upcycle and reuse. Most gift bags and decorative holiday boxes can be used several more times. It’s amazing how long you can go without having bought a gift bag when you save the ones you receive.
Upcycle Greeting Cards
Do you get dozens of cards during the holiday season like I do? I never get tired of seeing photo cards from friends and ornate decorative cards from family members.
A few years ago I realized these cards were too sentimental to just toss after the season was over. Now, I give them a new purpose, trimming the prettiest parts of store-bought cards out to make decorative gift tags for future gift-giving. Photo cards either get tucked into my photo scrapbook or shaped into slender bookmarks so I can see the image each time I pick up the book I’m reading at the time.
Donate the Leftovers
Even when relying on a catering service for a huge family get-together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can still go green. When the hubby and I said “I Do” at our fall wedding, we had a lot of catered food left over. Some pans of chicken marsala hadn’t even been touched since I overestimated our guest count. The day after the ceremony, we called our local homeless shelter and told them they could have the extras (which were much appreciated). You can donate your extra food too; every bit counts to a soup kitchen.
How do you plan to make your holidays a bit more environmentally friendly? Share your Thanksgiving party ideas and sustainable Christmas tips in the comments below.
Image source: Angela Tague
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.