Green Tip: A Thoughtful Approach to Thanksgiving

Green Tip: A Thoughtful Approach to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and togetherness, and what better way to show appreciation for our beautiful Santa Barbara community than by celebrating in an eco-friendly manner? Making your celebration sustainable can be both enriching and rewarding. In this month’s Green Tip, we’ll dive into some sustainable Thanksgiving traditions that not only honor our planet but also enhance the warmth and meaning of this special day.

Farm-to-Table Feasting:

One of the best ways to celebrate Thanksgiving sustainably is by making farm-fresh produce the centerpiece of your meal. Santa Barbara County is blessed with an abundance of local farmers and markets offering seasonal delights. Consider starting a new tradition by visiting SB farmers’ markets as a family or with your friends in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Selecting your ingredients together not only supports local agriculture but also deepens your connection to the food on your table.

DIY Decor with a Santa Barbara Twist:

Let’s talk about decorations. Instead of opting for store-bought, disposable items, why not gather your loved ones for a fun nature walk? Explore our local trails, beaches, and parks, and collect fallen leaves, pinecones, and branches. These natural treasures, thoughtfully placed on your Thanksgiving table, not only infuse rustic charm but also remind us of the stunning natural surroundings we’re lucky to call home.

 (Photo credit: Naumova)

(Photo credit: Naumova)

Giving Back to Our Community:

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, and one of the most profound ways to show it is by giving back to our community. Make it a family tradition to volunteer. Whether it’s at Santa Barbara County’s Food Bank, a shelter, or one of our many environmental organizations, there are plenty of opportunities right here in Santa Barbara to make a positive impact.

Why Waste Matters during the Holidays:

While the holiday season is undoubtedly a time of joy and celebration, it’s also a period when our waste generation soars. Did you know that, on average, Americans generate 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than during the rest of the year? This alarming increase in waste includes everything from discarded decorations and wrapping paper to extra food that goes uneaten, and can strain our local waste management systems and impact our environment.

Reducing waste during Thanksgiving and the holiday season is a way of honoring our commitment to sustainability. It’s a recognition that our actions have a direct impact on our environment. By reducing waste, we preserve the natural beauty that draws us to Santa Barbara in the first place.

Reducing Food Waste with a Potluck:

Now, about that Thanksgiving meal. How about hosting a Santa Barbara-style potluck? Invite your loved ones, and encourage each family to contribute a dish, whether it’s a beloved family recipe or a culinary experiment inspired by our local flavors. Not only does this reduce the cooking workload, but it also cuts down on food waste. And let’s not forget the “Leftovers Potluck” the following day – ensuring that no delicious bites go to waste.

Thoughtful Gift Exchanges:

For many families, gift-giving is a cherished part of Thanksgiving. But let’s make it thoughtful and sustainable: instead of the usual material gifts, consider eco-friendly options that promote sustainability. Reusable shopping bags, stainless steel straws, or potted plants make excellent choices. Better yet, encourage experiences and quality time over material possessions. Share stories, memories, or talents during your Thanksgiving gathering – creating lasting connections with your friends and family members.

Embracing Santa Barbara’s Great Outdoors:

Last but not least, our Thoughtful Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the great outdoors. Organize a family hike or nature walk on the day before or after Thanksgiving. Invite your dear ones to join in, and explore the breathtaking landscapes that surround us. Reach out to local hiking and conservation groups to discover ways to support and protect our cherished natural spaces.


Let this Thanksgiving be a thoughtful celebration that showcases our deep connection to both our community and our environment. By embracing these sustainable traditions, you’re not just making an eco-conscious choice; you’re honoring the values that make our region so unique. Together, we can reduce our environmental footprint, deepen our bond with Santa Barbara, and inspire others in our community to do the same. This Thanksgiving, let’s celebrate together, care for our environment, and continue to make Santa Barbara a place we’re truly thankful for.