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Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tradition - celebrating the fall harvest with a bountiful array of fall vegetable sides and a succulent turkey centerpiece, giving thanks at the dinner table before the meal, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade and football games on TV and taking long naps after too much turkey and red wine.
Why not start some new traditions this year by "greening" your Thanksgiving? Check out some of these great tips on how to make your holiday celebration memorable, while being a little kinder to the environment.
It's not as hard as you might think: Do you typically put a wreath on your door and a cut flower arrangement on your table? Try buying organic, or better yet, find living succulent wreaths for both. Is your centerpiece a turkey? Find a heritage breed, or consider a vegetarian alternative. Find out how to shop your local farmers' markets for your feast, and find recycled elements for your holiday decor.
Quench thirst with green liquor. Serve organic vodka, gin, cider, wine or beer; buy local if possible. Instead of bottled water, freshen tap water by filtering and adding squeezed lemons, limes, or oranges
Go light on chicken, turkey and beef. Focus on eco-friendly vegetarian fare or organic meats. Try vegetarian nut roast with apple walnut stuffing or baked acorn squash with cranberries. A green Thanksgiving can be delicious without the turkey!
When running around picking up all your necessities for the big day, make sure you bring along reusable bags. See if you can reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing products that come in packaging that can be recycled.
Try Some Turn-Offs
Two of the biggest Thanksgiving traditions often mean having the television on all day. The Macy’s Day Parade carries over to football games for those not on cooking duty in the kitchen, and there are often movies for the kids on other TVs. That electrical consumption, along with running the oven and popping in and out of the fridge for ingredients, can really add up when you multiply it by the millions of people participating all over the country.
If you enjoy watching the Parade, try attending an actual parade in your hometown—the excitement of a live event will be much more entertaining for the kids and spending time with your fellow community members fits right in with what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about. If you’ve got die-hard football fans, however, they may not be too keen on the idea of giving up the games. See if you can talk them into a limited amount of viewing and make sure you use one TV for the group instead of several in different rooms, especially if you own big screen TVs (which are real energy eaters). After everyone finishes eating, offer up board games or card games for people to play and serve dessert in the living room so that you can turn off lights and/or heaters in other rooms (don’t forget the kitchen).