The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: holidays

December 7, 2016

An (Almost) Plastic-Free Thanksgiving Holiday Meal

Thanksgiving came and went.  We gathered with friends, gave thanks, ate food, and took lots of pictures.  Well, I took lots of pictures to share with you.  Because the only thing better than preparing and eating beautiful food is looking at pictures of it, right? I mean, just ask your Facebook friends.

Our Thanksgiving meal was not entirely plastic-free and zero waste, but it was as close as we could get and still have a turkey.   And while Thanksgiving won’t be back for another year, Christmas, Hanukkah,  and other winter festivals are right around the corner.  What ideas will you implement to create a waste-free holiday meal?

The Menu

We hosted a Thanksgiving potluck, which meant we didn’t have to make the entire meal ourselves.  That said, we did prepare a hefty share of it:

Roast turkey Gravy Cheesy mashed potatoes Green Bean Casserole Baked yams Appetizers Dessert Fizzy water

Our friends brought:

Yellow squash casserole… Read the rest
November 25, 2015

Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. Goodbye Campbell’s!

Happy almost Thanksgiving, Americans.  For those of you for whom Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be right without green bean casserole, I present: DIY organic condensed cream of mushroom soup that honestly tastes better than Campbell’s.  It’s so good, I was eating it straight out of the pan with a spoon last night.  I hope I still have enough tomorrow to make my casserole.  (Only sort of kidding.  This recipe makes a lot!)

Three years ago, I confessed to my weakness for casseroles that contain Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.  Now, there’s all sorts of badness associated with that product:  from the BPA and/or other mystery plastic lining the can to the non-organic, factory farmed ingredients.  Still, I couldn’t imagine living without it…

…until now.  My recipe is a modified version of this one I found at Deep South Dish.  Warning:  This is NOT health food and it is definitely… Read the rest

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner with Less Plastic

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Michael and I are going to a potluck feast at the home of our friends David and Nancy. Our contributions will be baked yams, mashed potatoes, and a persimmon orange pomegranate salad. And nearly all of the ingredients will be plastic-free:

Salad greens, orange, pomegranate, persimmon, lemon, yams, and potatoes are from the farmers market.… Read the rest

February 4, 2013

Giving Up Plastic for Lent

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Gabriel Lamug-Nanawa (Gabby), a Jesuit priest in Cambodia, who has a proposal for churches in his local area to promote Plastic-Free Lent this year.  Last year, Gabby went on a plastic fast for Lent and found the experience to be not only good for the planet but an important part of his spiritual practice as well.  I asked him to describe his experience from last year and his proposal this year.  Here is Gabby in his own words.

Cambodia has had a tragic past and has only quite recently begun to open up to the modern world. Our cities are urbanizing very rapidly. But as people reach out and embrace modernity, a lot of other things such as disposable plastic is seeping through and is turning Cambodia’s beautiful rustic landscape into a littered mess. Cambodia does not need these problems, and perhaps this coming Lenten season will be a good opportunity to pray and discern together how better still… Read the rest

January 4, 2013

What to Do with All That Holiday Plastic

For those of us working to reduce the amount of plastic we consume and the plastic waste we produce, the holidays can be challenging.  What do we do about plastic gifts and wrapping we might receive from well-meaning friends and family?

First, it’s important to have some strategies for avoiding acquiring a lot of holiday plastic in the first place. I let my friends and family know early on in my plastic-free experiment that I would appreciate gifts of experiences or donations to charities instead of “things,” which reduces the chances that they will get me presents made from or packaged in plastic.  (Here’s an example of a letter I sent to my family a few years ago.)  Those are the kinds of gifts I like to give as well.  But if I do order gifts for others, I’m very careful to request no plastic packaging in the box. I reuse gift bags, boxes, bows, and ribbons from gifts given to me at previous holidays and can’t remember… Read the rest

October 4, 2012

Cardboard Costume Challenge for a Plastic-Free Halloween

Halloween Plastic can be scary!  But blogger Amber Dohrenwend has one solution to Halloween plastic.  She’s the author of The Cardboard Collective, a blog about using recycled cardboard (the kind you would fish out of the cardboard only recycling bin or dumpster) to create toys, crafts, and furniture. She lives in a small apartment in Tokyo, Japan with her husband and two children, where she says, they “strive to maintain a simple, cardboard affirming lifestyle.”  In an effort to reduce plastic consumption this Halloween and encourage fun and creativity, Amber has organized the Cardboard Costume Challenge.  I asked her to explain the challenge in her own words and also tell us a bit about herself and her own efforts at de-plasticking in Japan.  So, here’s Amber:


I’m so excited to be joining you here on My Plastic Free Life! I’m a huge fan of all the work Beth’s done. … Read the rest

April 20, 2011

Plastic Easter Eggs for Your Eco-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt?

Ah, the seasonal aisle. It’s always full of some kind of plastic. This time of year, we’re confronted by walls of brightly (some would say garishly) colored plastic Easter eggs, and bunnies, and baskets, and plastic grass, and all that stuff. Because what’s a holiday without plastic, right?

After running into the plastic egg wall at CVS and having the expected freak out, I started remembering all the fun I had as a kid, hunting for those plastic eggs with their little surprises inside. Sure, we dyed real eggs too. But the plastic ones held secret treasures! Then, as I was walking home reminiscing, I passed a local thrift store in my neighborhood, and what did I spy through the window? Secondhand plastic Easter eggs!

And more plastic Easter eggs…

And further down the street, another thrift shop had them too, as well as Easter baskets.

I thought I’d found the perfect Easter solution for folks who have kids and who really… Read the rest

December 10, 2010

How Green Are Your Charitable Gift Cards? And How Much Money Actually Goes to the Charity?

In my post on green holiday gift giving last month, I mentioned donations to nonprofits. Several commenters suggested charitable gift cards, so I decided to look into them.  Giving directly to an organization that you know your giftee supports can be a great idea, but if you’re not sure in what way your recipient is philanthropically inclined, charitable gift cards are a good alternative.  The way it works is that you buy a gift card in the amount of your choice, and your giftee then visits the website to enter the gift card number and choose which charity will get the money.

But with several different gift card organizations to choose from, how do you decide which one to support?

If I buy a $20 gift card for my co-worker for Christmas, will her selected charity receive that entire amount? It depends on the policies of the gift card service I use. Most will deduct processing fees before sending the money to the charity. Some services charge a fee to … Read the rest

November 23, 2010

Green Gifts Don’t Have to Suck

I’m starting to feel anxious already. The start of the holiday shopping season is upon us, with the stampedes of Black Friday coming up in just a few days, followed by the Internet shopping frenzy of Cyber Monday. I tend to put on my Grinch Face and hide at home during the holiday shopping season. I’ve never enjoyed the crowds and anxiety and Christmas jingles that get stuck in your head through the rest of the winter. And with the growing awareness of how our shopping habits impact the planet, I’ve noticed myself becoming just a little smug about my choice to opt out.

And that’s not fair.

Because there are ways to opt out of the madness and still enjoy the season. And gift giving can be a beautiful thing when you remove all the ulterior motives behind gift choices and concentrate on the happiness of all involved. With that in mind, here are my top ten guidelines for happily green gift giving.

1) Surprise is overrated. As a kid, I used… Read the rest

October 25, 2010

Plastic-Free Fall Decorating Ideas

Do you enjoy decorating your home for the holidays?  I’m kind of a scrooge when it comes to anything holiday-ish.  It seems Michael and I find ourselves in denial from October through the end of the year.  But I realize we are in the minority.  My friend Lisa Sharp, who blogs at Retro Housewife Goes Green, loves to decorate  — without plastic. In this guest post, she takes you around her house to share her own decorations and reveals the hidden plastics you might not think to watch out for.

What’s your favorite plastic-free holiday idea?

A walk down the fall decor aisle at the store and you see plastic, plastic and more plastic.

So can you have your home beautifully decorated for fall without all the plastic? Yes, you can.  Here are some great plastic-free decorations to get you started.

Decorating with nature is a great way to avoid plastic. Look for local pumpkins, mums, gourds, freshly fallen leaves, acorns, pine cones, and anything… Read the rest