Annie grimaced as she heard the closet door screech in protest. She grabbed the handle with both hands and tugged, but it only moved a few inches. The rusty track was preventing the door from moving. She took a deep breath and pulled with all her might, hoping that the door would finally give way.

“Hey, step back Annie, I’ve lubricant that will help.”

“It’s all yours Mr. Fixit,” she said as she moved out of LJ’s way. “When you get the door open, do you mind handing me the tablecloths? I’m starting to get ready for Thanksgiving, and I need to examine them.”

“Sure, this track is not in good shape, so this may take a while. Keep me company while I work on it.”

“Okay, maybe you can help me with the theme this year? I’m thinking about a Kindness Challenge leading up to Thanksgiving.”

“Tell me more.”

“The Kindness Challenge involves.

  1. Before the dinner, prepare small pieces of paper and pens for each guest.
  2. Send a note along with the invite explaining that we would like each guest to be prepared to write a brief description of a kind behavior they performed within the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. It can be sending a card, making a phone call, visiting someone they haven’t talked to in a while, volunteering, donating time, or financial support.
  3. When guests arrive, ask them to write their description on a piece of paper.
  4. Collect all the pieces of paper and put them in a jar.
  5. During the dinner, pass the jar around the table and ask each guest to pick a piece of paper from the jar and read it out loud.
  6. After the description is read, guests will guess the author. Once the author is revealed, they can expand on what they wrote if they’d like.

“So, what do you think?”

“Well,” said LJ as he wiped excess lubricant off the track, “I think it’s a wonderful way to encourage guests to reflect on their acts of kindness and share them with others. We have some very humble and modest friends, so this is a great way for everyone to learn more about each other. It’s also a fantastic conversation starter and can help create a warm atmosphere at the dinner table.

I hope when you write your act of kindness note you describe how you always make sure we practice sustainable and earth-friendly habits during every holiday celebration. It’s not easy keeping and storing tablecloths and napkins, but you always manage to do it. I feel like many people are still using single-use and disposable items to get through the holidays, so it’s inspiring to see you take the extra effort to be kind to the earth.”

“Thanks, sweetheart. Being sustainable is not hard at all. It’s just a matter of recognizing the value and long-term ramifications of doing it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American households generate 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s compared to the rest of the year. The Worldwatch Institute, states, the cranberries, potatoes, and turkeys eaten at Thanksgiving travel on average 1500 to 2500 miles from their original farm. Additionally, Food Tank,  writes Americans waste about 5 million tons of food between Thanksgiving and New Year.

Here are sustainable tips to celebrate an earth-friendly Thanksgiving.

  1. Buy local and in-season produce: Including seasonal fruits and vegetables in your holiday recipes is an easy way to celebrate Thanksgiving, support local farmers, and reduce the carbon footprint of transporting food long distances.
  2. Include more plant-based dishes: Plant-based dishes are a delicious and heart-healthy way to include in your family meal, reduce its cost with less expensive veggies, grains, legumes, and fruit desserts.
  3. Communicate specific potluck details: To avoid food waste, communicate with your guests ahead of time how many are attending to ensure they bring only what is needed.
  4. Use cloth tablecloths and napkins and reusable dishes, glasses, and cutlery Instead of using disposable plates and napkins.
  5. Store leftovers in reusable containers: Instead of using disposable plastic containers to store your Thanksgiving leftovers, consider using reusable containers.
  6. Compost food scraps: it helps reduce waste going to landfills and provides nutrients for the garden.
  7. Volunteer and donate at a local food bank: Consider donating any excess food to a local food bank and volunteer. Both provide a double positive impact.

It is important to practice a sustainable and earth-friendly Thanksgiving because it can help reduce the environmental impact of the holiday and promote a healthier planet.”

“I agree, so what about a sustainable Thanksgiving menu? Got any recommendations?”

Annie smiled, “I do. I think it’s important to have a nutritious and delicious meal, but not one that is so excessive it sends our guests into a sugar coma or deep regret for overeating.

Here’s a sample menu for a sustainable Thanksgiving:


  • Hummus with carrots and celery
  • Garlic & Herb soft Vegan Cheese with gluten-free crackers:

Main Course

  • Arugula and pear salad
  • Deconstructed roasted rosemary turkey (optional)
  • Vegetarian stuffing made with whole-grain bread, mushrooms, and herbs
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Green beans with almonds
  • Cranberry sauce


  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie

“That’s a perfect meal. Coupled with the kindness challenge I’m excited about Thanksgiving this year.”

Annie smiled, “Me too! It’s going to be a great holiday. By choosing sustainable foods and using sustainable dishes, tablecloths, and napkins, we can make Thanksgiving more earth-friendly and reduce our impact on the environment. And by doing a kindness challenge, we can focus on the positive things in life and appreciate what we have. Happy Thanksgiving!”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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