How to Host Friendsgiving – The Eco-Friendly Way!
Want to celebrate the wonderful friendships you’ve made at university? Host a Friendsgiving!
While Thanksgiving is traditionally a US holiday spent with family members and relatives, Friendsgiving is an alternative holiday set aside to prioritize friendships and spend time with your chosen family. It’s a day to enjoy each other’s company, eat lots of food (normally each dish is contributed by the guests, potluck style), and be thankful for friendship.
As lovely as that sounds (and it is!), the reality is that planning your own Friendsgiving can be quite stressful when you’re trying to figure out how to decorate your student apartment, what to cook, and how to be a good host to all your friends and roommates! It’s no surprise then, that environmental concerns and staying green can get left behind a little.
Here at Yugo, we care about our carbon footprint, and that’s why we’re here to help you to have the most eco-friendly Friendsgiving and holiday season. Keep reading to discover some of our best planet-saving tips for a truly eco-friendly Friendsgiving.
Eco-Friendly Friendsgiving Preparations
- Digital invites
Save paper by sending out invitations via email or group message. Or even better, get some exercise in and knock on the doors of your Yugo student neighbors to invite them over.
- Sustainable place settings and containers
Try to avoid using disposable paper plates and plastic forks. Instead, use reusable dishes and utensils! Put all your plates in the dishwasher or use the tub-in-sink method to wash the dishes after eating, to save time and water. If you want to send guests away with any leftovers, make sure the containers are biodegradable or ask them to bring their own.
- Buy locally
Buying your food from local shops and markets means that it won’t have traveled very far to arrive at your plate. That can only be a good thing for the environment - fewer planes, packaging, and shipping.
When you buy local, you’re also giving the local economy a boost and helping put money back into locals’ pockets.
- Only buy what you need
Don’t get reeled in by BOGO offers or special deals.
Before you go shopping, take a look at what you have in the refrigerator and pantry. Base your shopping list on what’s missing, and nothing more.
- Be realistic about portions and ingredients
Don’t go overboard when it comes to buying ingredients for your big Friendsgiving dinner. If you’re not great at estimating how many ingredients you need, check out this website to avoid food wastage. You can also have a plan of action for any leftovers, so nothing gets thrown in the trash. Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches? Yes, please!
- Go turkey-free
Did you know that each year, around 200 million pounds of turkey meat are thrown in the trash? Think about all the resources that went into producing all that meat, and you have the greenhouse gas equivalent of burning 100 million gallons of gasoline. That’s a lot of waste!
Going turkey-free is one of the most impactful ways to do your part in saving the environment during your Friendsgiving festivities. There are some delicious plant-based alternatives out there these days that might even fit in your oven better and be less of a hassle.
If you really can’t deal with Friendsgiving without turkey, then opt for a slow-grown, pasture-raised, high-welfare turkey - they are better looked after and have a higher nutritional value.
Once it comes to actually enjoying the friendly holiday, here are a few more tips to ensure you have an eco-friendly Friendsgiving and beyond.
- Dish out small portions
Give your guests small salad plates so that when they pile it up with food, they’ll be listening to their stomachs more. Plus, they will only be going back for more food if they are hungry. This way you avoid food wastage.
- Keep vegetable peels
Save yourself time and effort by setting aside the peel and leftovers from your vegetables. You can use them later, along with leftover meat, to make gravies, purees, stuffing, stock, and other treats.
A big part of the Friendsgiving meal is how you create a homely atmosphere using decorations and displays. Before you go home for the holidays, it’s always nice to get into the festive spirit by decorating your student apartment. It also doubles up as a fun activity to enjoy with your roommates.
Avoid buying plastic decorations and choose more natural alternatives like pumpkins, leaves, pinecones and branches. Also try using candle lighting to minimize energy usage – 100% beeswax candles can create a cozy atmosphere with a delicate, sweet aroma.
In the aftermath of a Friendsgiving celebration, a whole lot of food can get wasted and untold damages can be done to the environment.
Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, about 5 million tons of food are wasted in the US. Here are a few pointers to help with food and plastic waste.
- Freeze leftovers
Almost anything can be frozen. If you find yourself with excess food, there’s no need to throw it directly in the garbage. Freeze it and come back in a few days when you’re not so stuffed! You’ll be glad to have a pre-made meal when you’re back from exam cramming and short of time!
- Get creative
Aside from freezing leftovers, you can recycle them in an endless array of recipes - the list is only as long as your creativity! Check out these amazing Friendsgiving leftover recipes - you’ll be glad you had leftovers after all!
- Get into the giving spirit
Find out where your local food bank is and donate any excess or unused food to people who really need it. That way you’re not only celebrating an eco-friendly Friendsgiving, but you’re also getting into the true holiday spirit - gratitude, sharing, and giving back.
- Send guests away with leftovers
If you can’t handle all the leftovers by yourself, then dish them out to your guests! Send them away with to-go bags or get them to bring their own container so you can all share the leftover love.
Perhaps the biggest culprit when it comes to environmental damage over the holiday season is… yep, you guessed it… traveling!
Many of us head back home when holidays come around and the semester ends, and that traveling can take a toll and create a big fat carbon footprint.
Try to travel smart by traveling off-peak. By doing so, you reduce the time spent in traffic, not to mention an almighty headache!
Some advice to our US friends celebrating Thanksgiving- avoid traveling around 3–4 p.m. on the Wednesday before the holiday. That’s the peak time for travelers and you don’t want to get stuck in traffic! If possible, opt to travel by train to reduce emissions, and if you really do have to take a plane, choose an airline that uses greener fuel.
Whether you’re headed home this holiday season or want to enjoy an eco-friendly Friendsgiving with your Yugo roommates, we hope these tips have inspired you to make the most of this holiday with your chosen family at your home away from home here at Yugo. Share this blog to spread the Friendsgiving love and eco-friendly tips with your friends!