Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays to green up. With the focus on giving thanks rather than gifts, we honor not only our family and friends but Nature's bounty, too.
Simplify the day.
Celebrate being with those you love. Don't overdo the cooking and savor whatever you make. Linger over dessert, play games, watch football or a favorite movie, take a walk. Revive special traditions from the past and create new ones you can turn to next Thanksgiving, and the holiday after that.
Decorate with boughs and berries.
There's no need to buy fancy Thanksgiving decorations. Head out to your yard with a pair of shears and find tree branches, bush stems loaded with berries, flowers whose seed heads have dried on the stem and flowering grasses to fill tall vases, hollowed-out pumpkins and autumnal baskets.
Let there be light.
Illuminate your table with candles of varying heights and widths. Use votives in small glasses or carved sugar pumpkins.
Serve locally grown food.
Even in colder, northern climates, farmers' markets are still selling locally grown greens, potatoes, apples, pears, spices, breads and cheeses. You'll find lots of good recipes for salads, side dishes and vegetarian entrées here, as well as heritage turkeys.
Eat all the food you make.
Send guests home with leftovers in glass jars rather than wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil. Freeze leftovers in easily reheatable portions.
Serve your meal on cloth tablecloths and napkins, accompanied by "real" silverware and plates. Worried about cleaning up after a large crowd? Let everyone pitch in that's half the fun!
Roasting vegetables and baking pies should infuse your home with delicious holiday aromas. For even more fragrant smells, simmer a few sticks of cinnamon and a few cloves of allspice on the stove. Dab a few drops of pine oil or other favorite fragrance on stones or pinecones that are part of your centerpiece.
Turn down the heat.
If all your holiday cooking doesn't heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down 3-5 degrees no one will notice the difference.
Recycle and compost.
Keep a bin handy for glass, plastic and paper trash you can recycle rather than toss. Add vegetable scraps from cooking and dinner to your compost pile (meat and bones will need to be thrown away).
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.