Use what’s in season and local as much as possible. Roast a local pumpkin for the filling for your pumpkin pie. Buy sweet potatoes from the farmers market for your sweet potato casserole. Head to the farmers market and see what’s there before you make your trip to the grocery store for the bulk of what you need for your dinner.
Buy a better turkey. Those free turkeys that you can get from the grocery store may be a money saver, but chances are they came from factory-farmed birds. If you want a turkey that was raised more humanely and in a manner that is better for the earth, opt for a heritage, organic, or free-range turkey that comes from a local farmer or a source you trust. To find a seller of one of these better birds, check out Local Harvest’s turkey finder.
Serve local wine or beer. Most small, independent wineries and breweries will be happy to suggest which of their creations will go best with your holiday menu. If you’re not sure where wineries and breweries are located in your region, check out the websites for Winery Bound and Brewers Association to search by your zip code.
Use durable tableware. Get out the good dishes and your best stemware and use it. Chances are, your guests won’t mind helping you wash the dishes after dinner. Cloth table covers and napkins aren’t really much more work than disposable ones. At the end of the evening, just throw them in the washing machine. If you’re short on any of these items, head to the thrift store where chances are you’ll be able to find items to complete your table at bargain prices.
Make good use of your leftovers. Don’t let food go to waste. We waste about 30% of the food produced in this country, and you’ve got to imagine that a good portion of that waste is created during the holidays. Check out Food Network’s Top 10 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes for some ideas if you need them.