5 Simple Ways to Have a Greener Thanksgiving

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A happy holiday also brings with it traditions of excess. Check out our simple guide for a greener pumpkin day!

Pumpkin centerpieces, sweet potato mash, caramel apples…not to mention pecan AND pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is fast approaching! While the holiday is a wonderful time of the year full of merriment, delicious food and family togetherness, it is also a time of extraordinary waste and what we at Green Queen like to call a ‘Too Much’ holiday. We cook too much, eat too much (especially animal foods), drink too much, throw away too much, and use WAY too much packaging, paper, plastics and other non-renewable resources. Nobody wants their holiday parade rained on, but there are ways to make the holiday a little friendlier on the environment and on our health. Below, our simple guide to a greener Thanksgiving.

Try A Vegan Main

The environmental cost of producing meat can be anywhere from 25 to 250 times the cost of producing plant-based food. And dairy is a sustainability disaster. While for many, the turkey is a must, there are actually so many delicious animal-free alternatives. We have a full list here in fact. Beyond the main, it’s a cinch to make all the rest of your dishes vegan. Use olive and coconut oil instead of butter, substitute plant-based milk and cream for dairy products and use nuts, spices and herbs to give your dishes flavour, instead of relying on butter, bacon or cheese.

Go Local

This is an easy one! Just pop down to your local farmer’s market or order locally grown vegetables and fruits online or even pick them up in your neighborhood supermarket. Eating locally (and seasonally as a result) takes away a huge amount of energy consumption cost from your meal. Plus, locally and seasonally grown fruit and vegetables taste better and offer greater nutritive benefits to your family than vegetables that have traveled from afar. Extra bonus: the more you support locally grown produce, the more incentive the local farmers will have to grow their businesses. Plus, you will be saving your dollars: locally-grown plant-based foods are far more cost-effective than imported animal-based ones.

Say Yes to Candles

Candlelight emits a glow that electricity cannot compete with- it’s more romantic, warmer, and softer, plus it gives us a fuzzy feeling inside. During the festivities, save on electricity costs and carbon emissions and switch off all the lights ( as well as computers and all appliances you won’t be using) and fill your home with soy-based or beeswax candles. Avoid petroleum-based candles at all costs: they are made from non-renewable resources and they release toxic fumes into your home and your family’s lungs. 

Recycle & Decorate

Don’t be one of the TOO MUCH (see post introduction above) and make your own homemade thanksgiving decorations. Involve your family and friends in the activity. Kids will love it! Make the event more fun and into a game by limiting yourself to materials found within the house and in your backyard if you have one. Recycle used paper, magazines, and newspapers – make ‘celebrity name cards’ by matching a photo cutout of a famous person with a family member; make use of leaves, branches, and pinecones – make ribbon with vines and use them as a napkin holder; try using fresh fruit wiped with coconut or olive oil in a glass bowl as a table centerpiece.

Get The Little Ones Involved

Holidays are also the perfect time to teach little ones greener, kinder and healthier habits. Involve them in food shopping by making a day out of a trip to the farmer’s market or a local organic farm. Have a craft party with their friends and make recycled, home-made decorations. Include them in the cooking and food preparations duties- this is the ideal way to inculcate your children on how to make healthier and smarter eating choices.

Lead image courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via Pexels.


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software. In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.

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