Making the most of the original spirit and intention of the season’s holiday of gratitude feeds mind, body and spirit. Consider these happy and healthy choices.
Turkey: Free-range and organic gobblers are less likely to carry diseases and contain synthetic additives. Heritage turkeys are raised outdoors, freely roam pastures, are genetically diverse and eat the varied diet that nature intended (SustainableTable.org). Spare a bird: Turkey alternatives include fun, seasonal staples such as vegetable lasagna, butternut ravioli and acorn squash filled with onions, beans and dried fruits.
Beverages: Serving locally made apple cider, beer or wine supports local farmers and businesses, plus avoids the carbon footprint that distant choices incur in transport.
Festive preparations: Refrain from using Styrofoam, as it isn’t recyclable and can emit chemicals when meeting up with hot turkey; use washable cloth napkins instead of paper brands that go to the incinerator or landfill; and ask guests to bring a container to take leftovers home to avoid food waste.
Get kids involved: Tinyurl.com/GreenThanksgivingTips suggests giving children construction paper that can be made into decorations and recycled later. Baker’s clay, a mixture of flour, salt and water, can also be molded into creative pieces.
Revive the traditional atmosphere: The first Thanksgiving was a communal affair, so invite neighbors to join family members. Besides enhancing friendships, their proximity reduces auto emissions by keeping them off the road or encouraging shorter trips.
Honor peace and brotherhood across all races and ethnicities by sharing with guests the essence of the first successful summer harvest by pilgrims in 1621. According to Listening to America, by Stuart Berg Flexner, members of the Native American Wampanoags were also invited to the celebration because the tribe had taught them to plant native Indian corn, a key to recovery after their first difficult winter. Perhaps read a passage from the Iroquois Thanksgiving Prayer, encouraging us to “return to our mother, the Earth, which sustains us.” Visit Tinyurl.com/IroquoisThanksgiving.