These affordable, recyclable boxes have made me a better host and helped me reduce food waste.
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takeout boxes
Credit: Amazon

Most of my holiday gatherings revolve around food. Preferably big spreads of food that make my friends and family feel the bounty of my love for them. But the bounty of my love is plentiful, and a plentiful spread means LEFTOVERS. As someone who worries about food waste—have you heard it's a huge problem?—I do my best to wade through the food that remains after holiday parties and Christmas baking extravaganzas. But sometimes I fail. And that's why I keep takeout boxes stocked in my pantry all year round, but especially during the holidays.

Take Thanksgiving. Half the point of Thanksgiving is the sandwich you make with the leftovers, but if you're not hosting the holiday, you might end up at home the next morning without any turkey and cranberry sauce for your sandwich. The counterpoint of that is the host, who is probably still trying to get her refrigerator to close against the straining weight of all the food she's never going to finish.

Throughout my childhood, my mom solved this problem by packing up gallon bags of leftovers for guests to take home after large holiday meals. This was about as appetizing as it sounds, but these paper containers achieve something similar. I'm not trying to brag, but when I pulled these containers out as everyone was leaving my house this Thanksgiving, people were very impressed. In addition to being a delightful host, don't you want to impress people? I thought so.

In December, when my desire to cream butter with sugar and be near my oven increases in reaction to some kind of natural instinct that I cannot control, I use these boxes to store and transport all the cookies and confections I crank out each weekend.

On my way out the door to meet a friend, I'll pack a box with these Joy Cookies which do, indeed, inspire great joy. Or, I'll fill a box with a mixture of chocolate snowcap cookie and linzer cookies and take it into my office, where people are somehow always starving. My neighbors are all getting boxes as well, casually topped with bows because, frankly, they make people happy. And isn't that what the holidays are all about?

I like these boxes because they're cheap (just $19 for 50, 27-ounce boxes), sturdy and completely recyclable. Pick them up on Amazon.