“Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.” – Ray Stannard Baker

Thanksgiving – A time to gather, celebrate and be thankful for the year’s bounty of the land.  This once-a-year time to reflect all that has been given is in a few days, and I know my Green buddies are looking for ways to Green this holiday, so here are five tips to help you get there.

One: Pick a central location for your big feast. Whether it’s friends or family who are gathering, or a combination of both, find the most central location for everyone regardless if they’re traveling across the city, or across the country. Every carbon emission we can cut out reduces our entire carbon footprint.

Two: Plan your meal in advance to minimize trips to the grocery store.

Three: Purchase as many parts of your feast from local buyers as possible. Several local grocery stores sell many fruits and vegetables from local growers. Most will advertize these as locally grown – save those transportation dollars!

Four: Buy a free-range, hormone-free, pesticide- and antibiotic-free, natural-fed bird. If you haven’t ever had one, you wouldn’t believe the difference between a “natural, free-range” bird and the typical ones found. Pay attention to what you’re buying. Sure, they may cost a little more, but believe me they’re worth it!

If you want to go bird-free, try a Thanksgiving dinner with sautéed tofu and gravy with mushrooms, shallots, or cashews. These options can be just as delicious, and often, more healthy.

Five: Decorate simply. Use beeswax or soy candles, and use natural items to decorate your Thanksgiving table. After all, that’s what the Pilgrims used. Spread an assortment of small pumpkins, gourds, apples, pinecones, acorns, and dry fall leaves down the center of the table. Add a bowl or basket of fall fruits with Indian corn. The colors and unfussiness will be a simple reminder of what Thanksgiving is really all about.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful to be enjoyable. With just a little planning and a commitment to simple and Green, you can make this one of your most memorable Thanksgiving’s yet.

I’ll leave you with a few favorite words from Irving Berlin: “Got no check books, got no banks.  Still I'd like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.”