Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eco-Friendly Guide to Surviving Conventional Holidays

Although I enjoy spending time with the extended family, the holidays are a tough time for me. This Christmas, we are away from home for 5 days. There is no composting, no recycling, and no idea what ingredients were used in dishes or what dishes will be served. Add the fact that I am vegetarian and I am currently eating a high-protein diet to the mix and things start to get really crazy. What is a greenie to do when spending the holidays with her "conventional" relatives? Here is my eco-friendly guide for surviving "conventional" holidays.

First and foremost, put aside some of your eco-friendly philosophies just for a few days. Doing this presents the biggest challenge for me as my eco-friendly philosophies are a big part of my values and beliefs. Over the past couple of years, I have slowly been able to relax a few rules here and there. I can control some things (like bringing a couple vegetarian and organic side dishes), but I cannot control other things (whether scraps are composted or not). I also cannot control or judge other people's food choices. Going in with this mindset helps me to be at ease with practices and mindsets that I might disagree with.

Second, offer to bring one or two dishes or desserts. I can control what ingredients I use and I know there will be something I feel 100% comfortable eating. I always bring Cranberry Sauce, which I make with all organic ingredients and honey, and another dish or dessert. Check out what I brought for our Thanksgiving meal.

Third, use eco-friendly packaging for food storage/transportation, gifts, etc. Use glass or ceramic dishes, which are more decorate and festive than disposable containers. Gifts bags are most likely to be reused by the recipient, so if you buy an eco-friendly gift bag, you are paying forward and helping reduce the amount of waste that results from holiday gift giving. I also save boxes from packages I receive in the mail and reuse them for gifts.

Now, for some of the other informal things I do to deal with "conventional" holidays:
  1. Spend time in the kitchen while food is being prepared to see the ingredients used.
  2. Compliment a dish and ask what ingredients were used in it to decide whether to eat it or not.
  3. Read the ingredients list on anything that is put out in a bag/package/container.
  4. Bring my own organic, natural snacks and organic, grass-fed dairy items.
  5. Say "no" to certain items; just because there are 10 dishes does not mean you have try all of them.

>> What are your eco-friendly ways for getting through conventional holidays?


    


7 comments:

Katherines Corner said...

Our grandchildren are heard saying on the Christmas day video save the paper Grandma recycles. Yes!Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

EmmaK said...

Popping over from the Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop. Well the only eco friendly thing I do is make all the Christmas decorations myself. My kids make them too from pine cones etc. It is a start I suppose! pop on over and say hi
www.mommyhasaheadache.blogspot.com

mail4rosey said...

Bringing your own dish is a great idea. :)

Jen said...

I really struggled with this too this holiday Katie. I only have control over certain aspects of the holidays and it is really hard to realize that I can't control what others give to us and B as gifts. What we do have control over is what gifts he plays with/uses and which he doesn't.

Donna Heber said...

Hi Katie,

Great suggestions! I’m co-hosting with Katherine this week at Thursday Favorite Things and hope you will stop by for a visit. Wishing you all the best in 2013.

Jennifer Jordan said...

Thanks for sharing these are great tips.

Marysa said...

Love the wrapping paper idea (including the one in the image).

I wish there was a polite way to tell people that I only use natural products. I get so much unnatural stuff, so much is heavily fragranced, which unfortunately I can't use!

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