Tips for Hosting a Sustainable Thanksgiving & Christmas Party
With the holiday season right around the corner, you’ve likely already started thinking about this year’s gatherings. Though holiday parties are perfect for getting together with friends and loved ones, they can be tough on the planet. Why? From the food prep to dinnerware, group gatherings tend to produce a lot of garbage from single-use plastics and food waste. Not only that, but large meals make a lot of dishes, which in turn need large amounts of water to clean.
However, there are steps you can take to lessen your environmental footprint this season while hosting. Here’s our guide for a more sustainable Thanksgiving or Christmas party. (Psst: These tips work for all holiday celebrations — Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, etc.)
Shop in Bulk with Your Own Containers
The first place to start? Your local grocery store. When you’re out purchasing all the food and supplies needed for your upcoming holiday party, think about avoiding throwaway plastic. Look for stores or farmers markets that let you bring your own containers (like Stasher reusables) so that you can shop in bulk. We’ve got a guide to help you get started on bulk shopping in case you need it!
Don’t forget about greenhouse gas emissions. By shopping local and carpooling (or even better, walking or biking!) you not only support your community, but keep emissions on the street to a minimum.
Avoid Single-Use Plastic Dishes, Cups, & Servingware
Some of the most sustainable options for dinnerware are likely already in your home. Many families have special china, dinnerware, and glassware passed down generations — why not pull them out and skip the disposables? This is a special time of year, and spending it with friends and family is sacred.
Prep, Store, & Serve From One Stasher Bowl
In fact, why not think about how you can avoid large amounts of dishes entirely? The messiest dishes will be what you use in the kitchen when preparing the holiday meals like Thanksgiving dinner. With Stasher bags and bowls, you can prep, cook, and serve the meals all in one.
By using your Stasher bags and bowls for both cooking and serving, you avoid generating large amounts of dishes that feel like you’re guzzling water to clean. For example, go-to Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes, gravy, or cranberry sauce can be made directly in a Stasher and you can keep them there to serve. Here are some tips and recipes for making Thanksgiving favorites.
The best part? The beautiful colors of our reusables are sure to be a conversation starter to talk about sustainability. And one last note — to get even more eco-conscious, clean whatever dishes you do generate in your dishwasher (if you have one) to save water. For hand washing, include the family to help get the job done efficiently.
There’s almost nothing better than walking down neighborhood streets during the holidays to see the beautiful decorations in and on homes. But before you choose plastic and throwaway items at the store to fit your theme, remember how wasteful it is. Instead, look for ways to make your decorations last for years to come.
Similar to dinnerware and china, many families have decorations that have been used for decades. Ornaments, garlands, and other paper decorations like wreaths or signs, can be stored away and used every holiday season. Another idea is to incorporate “compostables” into your centerpieces. That is, why not choose items from nature to wow your guests? Simply pick your favorite fall leaves, gourds, pine cones, citrus, or other items directly from your yard to create beautiful decorations!
Let’s admit it — traveling isn’t great for the environment. Though being with family is wonderful, we should also be mindful of our carbon footprint and try (when we can) to travel more sustainably.
If you and your family are within driving distance, try arranging carpools to keep fewer cars on the roadways. When possible, avoid flying and opt for a road trip — you may be surprised how fun of an experience it is! Plus, technology now allows us to gather virtually with ease, so for any family or friends who would prefer to stay home to lessen their impact via plane, train, and car, encourage them to join from their phone or laptop.
Reduce Food Waste by Gifting Leftovers
Wasting food is another no-go for a more sustainable lifestyle. Big meals like Thanksgiving dinner will produce a lot of leftovers . . . thankfully, there are so many ways to use them!
Instead of letting leftovers from big meals build up in the fridge, make little take-home meals for family members to take home in Stasher bags and bowls. This is also a way to do early gifting with family you won’t see at Christmastime; Stasher reusables are the perfect gift to introduce loved ones to sustainable, multi-functional products! Other ideas for food scraps include donating to food banks and local community gardens (for their compost).
We hope these tips help you throw a more sustainable gathering this year. Happy holidays!