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:
- Spend time in the kitchen while food is being prepared to see the ingredients used.
- Compliment a dish and ask what ingredients were used in it to decide whether to eat it or not.
- Read the ingredients list on anything that is put out in a bag/package/container.
- Bring my own organic, natural snacks and organic, grass-fed dairy items.
- 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?