Disposable Thanksgiving (or, how to not have to wash dishes all evening)

Nobody likes washing dishes at Thanksgiving.  I mean really, how often does it end up that the usual handful of people who set up, cook and serve the turkey dinner are also the ones that clean up and wash the dishes afterward?

Here in Canada, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this Monday.  And we are so looking forward to it.

But this year, because of renovations, we don’t have access to the generations-old family china that we usually use.  So, I’m taking advantage of the situation.

I’m going disposable.

That’s right, there’s no shame in making life easier for yourself and for the others that are cooking, serving and cleaning up.  It’s a holiday after all!  Thanksgiving is a time to relax and spend time with family, while giving thanks together for all of the blessings that we enjoy.

And your table doesn’t have to look like the Royal Chinette family came to dinner either.  I had a great time looking at all of the various styles of disposable dinnerware and cutlery at our local party store.  From paper, to flimsy plastic, to dishes that feel like the Melamine your kids’ Disney plates are made of, there are a ton of options.

I toyed with the idea of using square plates – 10″ ones as chargers, and 8″ ones as plates.  They looked amazing, but the price per plate would have made me want to wash and reuse them … which kind of defeats the purpose.

So here’s what I settled on:

  • 10″ round plastic plates in chocolate brown
  • 6″ round plastic plates in cream for bread and/or dessert
  • Dinner napkins in cream
  • Simple, well made clear plastic cups for cold drinks, and rustic looking paper cups for hot drinks.

I chose to buy a set of inexpensive metal flatware, since we’ve had several bad experiences with plastic cutlery (one involved a trip to the ER!).  These ones cost about the same as a good quality set of durable disposables.  I did keep an eye on the sales and grabbed them as soon as the price dropped.  We can use them for any number of occasions, so they’ll get lots of use.

Now I know what you’re thinking: all of this plastic will end up in the landfill and take hundreds (thousands?) of years to break down.  Actually, our recycling program where we live should be able to handle them.  Even if they couldn’t recycle them though, I really do believe there’s a time and a place to be a little wasteful, especially if you’re a good steward the rest of the year.

I think our Thanksgiving table is going to look great this year!  I’m really looking forward to having less clean up time, and more of a chance to chat and visit with everyone.

Is the idea of using disposable dishes taboo for your family gatherings? Or is washing dishes together an important part of your celebrations?

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