Be thankful, not wasteful

At Thanksgiving, families and friends gather for a feast that kicks off the holiday season. Whether your gathering features board games, football, basketball in the driveway, or movies, chances are, the focus is on the food and the conversation that surrounds it. Make your event this year filled with thanks, but light on waste.

— Use email to invite guests, coordinate food assignments, share recipes, and more. Have a large family or group? Set up a Facebook group or send an Evite online.
— Count heads. Find out who is coming and who is not, so that you can plan to have plenty, but not too much, food. For the meal, you need to plan for about one serving of turkey, four side servings, and one dessert per person.
— Design the menu with care. If no one likes cranberry relish, don’t make it. If cornbread dressing was a hit last year, make it and skip the oyster dressing. Go for appetizers that are tasty but light. If you want to introduce an exotic food or ingredient, pair it with something familiar.
— Dress up the house with reusable fall decorations, such as festive tablecloths and vases, or choose edible or compostable decor, such as gourds, corn, pumpkins, apples, oranges, lemons, or fall foliage.
— Set the table with family heirlooms. This is the perfect time for Grandma’s china or the cloth napkins that were a wedding gift. If you don’t have enough plates, silverware, or glasses, borrow extras from a friend or consider renting what you need. Or go for an eclectic look and mix patterns.
— Turn down the thermostat as guests begin to arrive. Allow body heat to keep your rooms comfortable. How many times have you had to open a window on Thanksgiving because the house was feeling stuffy?
— Make sure your guests know how and where to recycle bottles and cans.
— Plan a “Leftovers Party.” Invite your friends over for an evening of games and ask each family to bring their Thanksgiving Day leftovers. This is a great way to sample other people’s special holiday foods and keep your leftovers out of the trash.

Over the next few months, Thanksgiving is just one of the parties that you’ll be planning or attending. The winter months are full of celebrations and get-togethers. From now through Super Bowl Sunday, enjoy your family and friends, feast away, and watch your waste! Remember, be thankful, not wasteful!

Photo credit © | Brandy Taylor

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