Halloween is over (even if the kids aren’t quite ready to put their costumes away) and stores everywhere are prepared for the holidays—but what about Thanksgiving? We love gathering around the table with our loved ones and eating a delicious meal while we share what we’re thankful for. At Modern Kids Design, we're always thinking about how we can “green-up” the holidays and this joyous occasion is no exception. So, this month we share some tips on how to help make Thanksgiving just a little bit greener.
Shop Local for Meat and Produce
Buying organic is generally a given for avoiding certain types of pesticides and antibiotics, however purchasing a free-range turkey also takes into consideration the humane life the turkey hopefully led before it reached the table. A third option is purchasing a local turkey, which not only supports a farmer in your community, but also saves on transportation costs of the bird. If you’re lucky, all three options are available where you live.
Visiting your local farmer’s market for seasonal produce will add gorgeous color to your table. Supporting local growers not only feels good, it also cuts out the travel time produce generally undergoes from a farm to a large supermarket. That means less fossil fuels used and less emissions threatening our environment.
Consider a Meatless Thanksgiving
Consider pardoning a turkey and opt for a meatless Thanksgiving. With more people choosing to forgo meat on certain days—or entirely—a meatless Thanksgiving could be a new tradition that allows you talk to your children about the things you value, like a healthy family and a healthy planet. A delicious vegetable lasagna made from seasonal vegetables will make everyone forget about turkey as they ask for seconds. Well, it probably depends on the family but you get the idea. And there are so many great holiday meatless dishes to choose from these days. You can surely find something for everyone.
And Consider Passing on the Canned Cranberries
Have you read your canned cranberry sauce label? If you haven’t, you might want to take a minute to investigate. Unless you are purchasing a specialty or organic sauce, most likely, high fructose corn syrup ranks high on the ingredient list. After taking such great care with your Thanksgiving meal, why invite this artificial sweetener to the table? There are many delicious cranberry recipes out there with all sorts of flavorful add ins that run the gamut from classic to exotic. No one will miss the can when these cranberries are passed around the table.
Here is how to make your own Cranberry Sauce
A seemingly well-kept secret is that Cranberry Sauce is easy to make. Consider trying this. Buy a cup or two of fresh cranberries and add a cup or two of water. Really, a one-to-one ratio is fine. Add a cup of sugar, boil it down and sweeten it to taste. If you want to get a little creative, add a dash or two of cinnamon and your done! And remember when you boil it, keep an eye on the pot and add more water if needed. After about 40 minutes or so, you will see that it is that familiar consistency that you are used to and, if it's not, use your judgement and keep boiling!
While disposable tableware can make a Thanksgiving feast easier to clean up, it can also wreak havoc on the environment. Consider using cloth napkins that can be tossed in the washer after the big day. The same goes for plates and cutlery. While paper plates alleviate the after-dinner cleanup, they pile up in landfills…. Not to mention the poor trees that went into making them. It’s more eco-friendly to use plates and cutlery that can be washed in a water-saving dishwasher and, as an added bonus, it can be made to look super elegant too. Get the gang to pitch in before dessert to make cleanup a breeze.
Bring autumn inside! Have the kids help gather pinecones, twigs, and lovely, colorful leaves to decorate the holiday table. There are plenty of crafts kids can make to help set the scene for a beautiful Thanksgiving meal. You can easily find many ideas online.
At Modern Kids Design, we try to give back to our community whenever we can. We feel that supporting each other makes us all stronger. That’s why we have our Shop+Give program and we encourage you to think about nonprofits and learn about their mission to figure out what speaks to you.
Here is a heads-up. Giving Tuesday is coming up next month. Now is a great time to visit nonprofit websites to see what resonates with you. It can be fun to think about how much you want to donate and various ways support them. And remember there are plenty of ways to give back to your community including lending a helping hand. Consider making a visit to the soup kitchen or adding a charity 5K Turkey Run to one of your new family traditions to kick off the joy and giving spirit of the holiday season.
We’re grateful to be able to share these tips with you and, again, would love to hear yours as well. If you’ve got any ideas on how to green Thanksgiving, let us know! As always, feel free to email us with your thoughts. We hope you have a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving month full of peace, love and laughter with your family and friends. Thanks for reading!