Making green preparations for Thanksgiving

We are going to be hosting Thanksgiving this week, and yesterday, we were at ye olde Bed Bath & Beyond again, looking for some tray tables.

Tray tables are exactly the kind of purchase I love to hate … too expensive and not attractive, but I know we will get a lot of use out of them. We have been looking at secondhand stores for probably a year, so we threw in the towel and bought new. I did price compare online, and BBB had the best deal, especially with the 20% off coupon thrown in. (We also bought a Christmas gift, and yes, they allowed us to use multiple coupons!)

The store, of course, was a madhouse yesterday! Per square foot, it was more crowded than Costco, where we also stopped yesterday.

The holidays are coming, and many Americans feel the temptation to buy all new things and decorate so life is beautiful. Our household is in no way exempt from this desire.

But when I looked at napkin rings and saw that many of them cost $5 to $10 each … for inexpensive pieces made in China or India … I thought that we can surely do better. I took a breath, moved away from the beautiful luxuries, and thought about what I can do at home.

First, I took a second look at this article about bringing a green spirit to Thanksgiving. (Full disclosure: The Green Parent published the article from a news release I helped a client write and distribute.) I have been thinking about centerpiece ideas, and I think the idea about using autumn items to craft a centerpiece is a great one. Besides, it will give us something to do during commercials.

When we talked about napkin rings, we realized we are swimming in beads and wire. I’m hoping Little Cheap will sit down and work with us to make some napkin rings to decorate the tables. If you are crafty, you could knit some napkin rings from yarn, or get uber-crafty with wire and beads.

As for napkins, check out discount stores for cloth napkins if you haven’t got any. We received napkins years ago for Christmas, and we’ve updated our stash, each year or two demoting the fanciest to “daily” because we aren’t fanatical about getting out stains. I saw this article, too, where comments mentioned stitching worn-out sheets (the nice parts, obviously) into formal napkins.

For other items — from candle holders to serving dishes to that extra ottoman — check out your local secondhand store first to see if you can recycle something. Sure, you might still have to buy something new, like our tray tables, but at least it’s worth a try to save a few bucks and a tree.

How are you planning to have a greener Thanksgiving?

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8 thoughts on “Making green preparations for Thanksgiving

  1. erin says:

    That is funny. I just (meaning like 30 minutes ago) purchased online some napkin rings for our family. We use cloth napkins at every meal and even though our little ones can often use a new one each meal (they are messy…) my DH and I could go a few meals with the same one. The idea will be that we will each pick one of the rings (they are different) and it will be ours.

    I am not much for buying seasonal decorations…last year I got some faux fall leaves in a candy basket I won and I put them on our mantle with some tiny pumpkins (which I purchased as the centerpiece for a “green your job” event I put on at work on October). We got a flyer from a tree service that had done some work for us and one of the items on the calendar was to gather seasonal branches to make wreathes. We have Douglas Firs and my friend has holly so I am going to try to make a wreath. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. jessimonster says:

    Oh geez, I guess I’m not. We don’t do any decorating for Thanksgiving. All we do is fix the meal and eat. We’ll probably use real dishes instead of paper, but we always do that, so it won’t be any greener than normal. I guess in order to go greener, we’d have to start doing more organic and local in our feast, but we really can’t afford an organic turkey (I looked into it).
    Christmas, on the other hand, we have a lot of room for greening, and I’m going to be focusing on it. My mom and I agreed that we would use up the rest of the wrapping paper we already have, but after its gone we’re not buying any more. I’m doing all my Christmas shopping on freecycle, craigslist and thrift stores this year, and we’re minimizing gifts. We’re spending more time on holiday activities, like the Zoo Lights and Golden’s Candle Light Walk. Its a work in progress, but we’re figuring it all out.

  3. L'an says:

    We’re going mostly local with our food since we’ve got plenty from our CSA… as for decorating, I’ve never been much into going all out. We realized that our current dishes are beyond yukky (as in, the glaze is all cracked and I know there’s some bacteria in there because I discovered one of the lesser-used plates had mold growing on it) but rather than buying new ones, we dug out a set of dishes that were passed on to me years ago and are, quite honestly, probably older than me. I like them because they’re simple (white, no embellishments) so they go with anything and they’re not overly huge.

    One decorating idea I picked up recently, though, that I love was to put clementines in a vase on the table and to use it as a centerpiece. I thought it was a little silly, but tried it anyway and we really like it. Not only does it bring some brightness to the table and dress it up a bit, but the clementines are super-easy to access for a post-dinner dessert (and having them there means the kiddo asks for one much more often than he would were they tucked in the corner of the kitchen as per usual.)

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  4. Harper says:

    My Thanksgiving will be greener as I won’t be making my yearly trip from Denver to Santa Fe. Sad though, because I love the drive and Santa Fe is nice and quiet for the holiday [although you have to be prepared for very few restaurants to be open on Thursday — last time I brought a turkey dinner plate from Whole Foods rather than roam the streets]. I am having dinner at a friend’s and am bringing a bottle of wine — your question has made me decide I’ll look for something greener — organic or locally produced.

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