Happy Thanksgiving! And welcome to the week of excess.
I won’t get into that in this blog because it’s not about the 4 helpings of mashed potatoes (I’m talking about my last Thanksgiving, y’all -- those taters were good) or the Black Friday deals on things we don’t really need. This quick blog is for some things that you, yes YOU, can do this week and during your Thanksgiving celebrations to love your Mother.
1. Skip the paper
I know. It’s SO EASY to use paper plates and plastic cutlery instead of doing dishes. At the end of the meal, everyone just throws them away! I’m not goading you, I truly get it. The last thing I want to do when I’m stuffed with stuffing and my grandma’s fruit salad is wash a bunch of dishes. I’d rather take a nap. But the time spent washing and drying the dishes is worth it (also probably better for my digestion of said delicious meal than sleeping on it). Nothing is just “thrown away and taken care of.” It goes somewhere. It ends up in landfills. It makes its way to our oceans.
Reframe it. Try to think of washing the dishes (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher, or if you ARE the dishwasher) as a gift of time. Time to ask questions to each other. Or maybe time to decide what games you’ll play later that evening. Or maybe an excuse to step away from the chaos and warm your hands.
Cloth napkins are also the way to go here; they instantly class up the table. Plus they’re softer. Each person will probably only use one napkin the entire meal instead of several disposable ones and when you’re done, just throw them in with your other laundry! It takes 5 gallons of water to make one pound of paper, so between the paper towels and paper napkins, I’m willing to bet tossing the few napkins and rags in with your load of towels is the better choice.
2. Pass the veggies
Opt for more veggies than meat-based dishes. A quick google search will provide you with COUNTLESS easy and delicious recipes. Find some of my favorites here. If you eat meat, choose pasture-raised.
*For a bonus, try cooking and baking with in-season produce. A lot of the Thanksgiving type food is based off a fall harvest anyway, lean into it!
Watch those scraps when you’re prepping your delicious veggies. Here are some clever ways to use all those scraps--I challenge you to just give one a try this year! (I’ll do a future blog about composting, but in case you wanted to read ahead, here’s some light reading.)
3. Buy local
Whatever you can, whenever you can, buy local. I mean for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday. This might take planning ahead so as to avoid that last-minute trip to Kroger, but who ever regretted planning ahead? Buying local doesn’t just stimulate the local economy and forge relationships and invest in your community, it also avoids all the factors that come with having packages arrive on your doorstep: shipping materials, fuel and emissions of the planes/trucks that transport it, and potential damaged goods. (No disrespect to our hard-working postal workers--there’s just more risk of something arriving broken from California than from three blocks down).
4. Turn off the lights
Sounds simple right? That’s because it is! Did you know American as a whole actually uses less energy on Thanksgiving Day? Do you know why? It’s because we’re gathering together, with two or more families in one home instead of in their individual homes, using only one house’s energy. I think that’s beautiful. Way to go, humans! And how much better would that be if when you left a room, you turned out the light? I feel the need here to specify that I obviously don’t mean turn the lights off when there are people still in the room you’re departing so that I can’t get blamed for any sibling-caused sudden darknesses.
5. Drive safely
I’m going home for the holidays. We’re driving roughly 6 hours and approximately 330 miles. That’s about .19 metric tons of CO2. What does that look like? Start here. You don’t have to calculate your carbon footprint (but you can if you want to) to make a difference this Thanksgiving. And here’s how: drive less. If you’re going somewhere, carpool. Plan in a way to avoid idling in traffic (a double bonus because you’re not sitting in traffic). Walk if you’re close enough. Take public transportation if you’re in a place that has that. Stay in instead of going out.
Here’s the thing. I know I won’t be living a waste-free Thanksgiving. I’m not prepared for it. I’m not going to act like it’s happening. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do what I can, when I can, how I can to reduce my waste. Small matters, y’all.
Share your #motherlovinThanksgiving with me on the social medias and tag me (@cayligraphy) to be featured!