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How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in an Earth-Conscious Way

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

As the holidays approach, the Christmas season and days like Black Friday promote commercialism and materialism; concepts we strive so much to avoid during the rest of the year have been forgotten. Knowing that the New Year will bring resolutions such as “My goal is to lose weight this year” or “I want to simplify my belongings” or even “I will try to live life to the fullest” is even more of a reason to start your new year of success early by practicing each holiday with integrity and mindfulness. This includes conscious eating, decorating, celebrating, communicating with family and friends and most importantly, being mindful of what you give back to the earth. 

In order to celebrate the holidays and Thanksgiving in particular with mindfulness and preparation for the New Year, try to celebrate in a fashion that’s friendly to the earth. There are many ways to do this, including: 


One of the most important parts of any holiday is decorating for it, whether it’s Jack-o-Lanterns at Halloween or a pine tree for Christmas. For this Thanksgiving, opt for decorations that serve multiple purposes. Maybe it’s an artificial pumpkin that you used for Halloween, but it still goes with the vibe of fall and Thanksgiving. You could also opt for more natural decorations.

Instead of cluttering your home with plastic decor, try drying out orange slices in the oven, then lining them up on a string to hang across the window. Or, dust some pinecones with a light layer of glitter and place them in a glass bowl in the middle of the dining room table. These decorations are simple to put together and are good for the environment, while still fitting the theme of Thanksgiving. Even just placing pillows and blankets on your sofa and chairs that have autumn colors will add extra to the area. 


Thanksgiving is one of the top holidays that is centered around food festivity (not to compete with Fat Tuesday, of course.) Typically, every household will prepare a dish or two to bring to the main household that is hosting Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. This holiday, be more mindful about the food you prepare and bring, and what happens to it during this process. Buy any food you can that is locally sourced, organic or natural, as it is better for the environment.

When discussing who will bring what dish, ensure that there will not be an excess of dishes that will sit uneaten. For dishes that will be traveling, prepare them in reusable containers instead of plastic wrap. If there are leftovers that should be taken home, bring them back in reusable containers. Glass is preferable over plastic containers. If possible, donate any leftover untouched meals to local food kitchens. If this isn’t possible, you can leave certain foods outside for local fauna, or compost the food.

Practicing these two simple ideas will help you and your family have a healthy and environmentally friendly Thanksgiving. The earth will thank you for it!

Claire Early is currently a senior at VCU. She is studying mass communications with a concentration in public relations.