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A Green Thanksgiving for Everyone

A Green Thanksgiving for Everyone

We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, and like many of you out there I have the monumental task of making a wide variety of people happy. I’ve got a newly vegan mom, a picky sister and a brother-in-law with meat-and-potatoes sensibilities, plus a dad who may or may not have wanted to host Thanksgiving himself and now wants to come over early to help cook the meal. In fact, now that I think of it, my 5-year-old nephew will probably be the easiest one to please.

But I also have to make myself happy and stay true to my beliefs–and what’s important to me is that the holiday be as eco-friendly as possible. So here’s my plan of attack:

The turkey: No factory farms! Our turkey will be organic, hormone-free and free range all the way. I am guessing my brother-in-law won’t even know the difference, but I will. And the extra money I shell out for this I’ll save by not spending any money on festive napkins or cheesy decorations (more about this later).

Vegan, too: Lucky for me, Care2 has lots of meatless main dishes for me to choose from (well, maybe I should let my husband pick since he’s the one who actually does the cooking around here). Something from this collection of favorite Thanksgiving main dishes plus plenty of vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans–organic, of course) and my mom will have plenty to choose from. If you’re going for an entirely vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving, read Melissa Breyer’s suggestions for a bird-free feast.

Mmmm, potatoes: In an effort to be healthier we’ve been eating an awful lot of brown rice lately and while I love brown rice, I am looking forward to the mashed potatoes. I supposed we could try this vegan recipe but I have a feeling that won’t go over very well. Better to throw a plain baked potato in the oven for my mom and make the regular, butter-and-milk variety for everyone else.

Dessert: This one’s a toughie, because if I get a vegan pumpkin pie so my mom can have some will the others not like the taste? I myself have eaten many vegan cakes, cookies and pies and have found almost all of them to be delicious. But then I am not as picky as my sister. So two pies, one vegan–and no whipped cream for you Mom. (Sorry!)

The table: I tend to keep my holiday decor pretty simple, but I got some great ideas from this article on incorporating nature into the Thanksgiving table setting. In fact, if the weather’s nice (this is California, so it very well could be) we might set up the table in our backyard, which is full of fall leaves and therefore already decorated for Thanksgiving! As far as napkins, it’s cloth always (even for daily use–I haven’t bought paper napkins since the ’90s).

So that’s my strategy. Wish me luck, and let me know how you are planning to green up your holiday celebrations in the comments field below. And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Read more: All recipes, Entrees, Holidays, Life, Shades of Green, Side Dishes, Thanksgiving, , , , , , , ,

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Jana Ballinger

Jana Ballinger has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and copy editor for daily newspapers. She lives in a vintage house in Northern California with her husband and an orange cat.


+ add your own
11:08PM PST on Feb 6, 2013


9:42PM PST on Feb 5, 2013


10:41AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

good ideas

5:23AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012


4:25AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012


2:21PM PDT on May 8, 2012

great tips

3:05PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Thank you

1:26AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

Interesting! Thanks.

3:02PM PST on Nov 24, 2010

Thank you for sharing! Good to see someone encouraging a factory-farm-free turkey for those who opt not to go the vegetarian route. It is very important to remember the horrors of factory farms, and to avoid supporting them.

4:22AM PST on Nov 20, 2010

TY Thanks Giving is that to me. Donating and Serving the homeless.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

What great ideas. I like the teacup planter as I have limited space and lots of teacups I do not us…

The label says Just Mayo and has a picture of an egg on it...I can see that being a bit of a confusi…

love all the ideas...will have to try a few of them to bring some green into my house


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