How to Give Sustainable and Mindful Thanks This Thanksgiving

National Headquarters  |  November 19, 2018

A Mindful and Healthy Thanksgiving: Less Waste, More Gratitude

Thanksgiving is often the cornerstone of being thankful for the people and things in our lives, followed by a lavish (decorative) consumption of food, plastic materials, and excessive shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Did you know that over 174 million people shopped over the five-day Thanksgiving period in 2017, and that an an estimated $335 was spent per person. That’s a whole lot of shopping! Think about what this means in terms of emitted fossil fuels from traveling, and plastic pollution from shopping bags and item packaging.

Here are some tips you can use to celebrate a more mindful and healthy holiday!

Reduce Plastic and Waste

As Thanksgiving is an exciting time of the year for sharing gratitude about what we’re thankful for in life, unfortunately it’s also one of the most harmful holidays to our planet. Thus, it’s also an important time of the year for giving thanks and showing gratitude for the planet.

Here are some tips to consider to globally give back:

  • Avoid food waste. Buy the correct amount of ingredients that you need for your Thanksgiving dinner preparations. Do the math before going to the store, and know what and how much you need to buy. We’re fortunate to be able to avoid waste in the first place! Remember to save your leftovers, or even share them with friends and neighbors. Another option is to compost your leftover food.

  • Consider donating shelf stable food items you don’t end up using. Food banks covet holiday-related canned food like cranberry sauce–someone might need it more than you do.

  • Use public transportation or carpool. If are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, make sure to use public transportation or carpool to minimize carbon emissions and be able to skip out on crazy holiday traffic.

  • Shop local and in season foods. Having a fun outing with family and friends to the local farmer’s market to purchase local in season foods limits the carbon emissions associated with the journey the food takes before it makes its way on your table.

  • And, remember to to recycle, reuse and skip the plastic! Decorate with homemade decor, or bring out seasonal decorations from previous years. Ditch any single-use plastic utensils, and set the table with cloth napkins and reusable dishes, glasses and silverware. You can even consider renting more formal tableware that you might not use very often.  

For more ideas on how to reduce plastic, take a look at our blog. Show us how you reduce your carbon footprint this Thanksgiving with a #PassOnPlastic challenge submission, and become eligible to receive a FREE GIFT from the Jing Si Shop!

Shop AmazonSmile

With all of the shopping in preparation for seasonal celebrations, it’s easy to forget the true spirit of the holiday. Make sure to do your seasonal shopping online with AmazonSmile and support the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. It provides the same benefits of Amazon, but with the added ingredient of ‘smile’ that will go a long way. This is a wonderful way to share your blessings this holiday season, and at no extra cost to you.

Shopping trips can take a lot of travel time and energy, not to mention contribute to the massive global carbon footprint. AmazonSmile is a terrific way to show your universal thanks, and a great way to skip the crowded malls, long lines and hours of traffic.To learn more about how to shop on AmazonSmile, check out our Three-Step Guide to Amazon Smile.

Choose a Healthier Dinner Option

Make the ethical choice and enjoy an incredible vegan or vegetarian meal to celebrate in which no living beings or animals will be harmed, and not to mention healthier for you and your guests. But, indulging in a vegan or vegetarian meal doesn’t have to come with a sacrifice for taste–it can be just as delicious with the right recipes! Take a look at these recipes for some ideas on how to start preparing. Bon appetit!

Regardless of what is on your dinner plate this year, strive to be grateful and practice loving kindness for all–especially with the friends and family who surround you.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation!

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