Dempsey Perno

Dempsey Perno

How To: Host a Sustainable Holiday

SI just hosted our first Friendsgiving event of the season! Hosting large gatherings can be challenging when you want to stay sustainable. Here are some tips & tricks to making sure the planet has a seat at the table.


What better way to keep your potlucks sustainable than going entirely plant-based? Our Friendsgiving invitation requested that all attendees bring a vegan dish regardless of their dietary preferences. This is an excellent spot to stop and make sure your friends/family don’t have any food allergies! Be mindful that plant-based diets can often contain items that individuals may be allergic to, including items such as soy, tree nuts, gluten.

Alright, so everyone is coming over, you’re prepping the Tofurkey, you’ve set out all the tables and chairs you own and some you borrowed. You can opt to use your own plates and cutlery instead of using single-use cutlery and paper plates. This may be more labor-intensive, but you won’t have to create any waste! Use different cups and coozies so everyone can keep an eye on their drink, and you can avoid purchasing solo cups and writing your name in sharpie. Avoid extra plastic wrap and packaging by letting your guests know they should bring their own Tupperware, and everyone can make leftover plates for lunch the next day! (Or two, or three.)


Here at SI we have talked about sustainable giftgiving for other holidays, even making our own gifts for ecoalition as we learned about negative externalities. To keep with the theme, instead of purchasing your loved one a new item, think about some alternatives to more “stuff.” This may manifest itself in many ways, including making a meal for your love one, or creating a piece of art for them to hang in their home.  

If you are not particularly creative or haven’t quite found your passion for all things culinary, experiences are a great alternative and create some long-lasting memories. Check out these great hiking spots in the Central Florida area that you can spend an afternoon hiking. Bring some reusable containers and utensils, and you can eat lunch in the woods. If you or your loved ones aren’t much for the outdoors, stop by your second-hand store and help them pick out some new-to-them clothing!  

For those gifts that you did purchase and need to wrap before you can celebrate the holidays, consider alternatives to traditional wrapping paper! Reusing old newspapers or switching to cloth to reuse for later gift-giving are great alternatives to wrapping paper that will only be used once and is not recyclable.  

Vegan Recipes

Check out our list of dishes and recipes down below. Don’t forget! If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, you can sign up to receive a new vegan recipe every other week, along with other sustainability content such as local events and job postings.  

Materials pictured above: newspaper, magazines, pieces of a ruined silk shirts, leftover tule and craft materials, and paper bags from the grocery store.