Throw an Eco-Friendly Party for Unique Birthdays or Holidays

Throw an Eco-Friendly Party for Unique Birthdays or Holidays

Whether it’s a birthday party, one of the holidays like Christmas or Eastern, or just a party because we feel like it. Food, family, friends, and fun – it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Well, actually it can get better than that. We can have that same food, family, friends, and fun while also having a positive, or at least a neutral, effect on the environment. It’s so easy to forget all about our intentions if it gets too busy with preparations for a large group.

Yet, it certainly is possible to be sustainable and conscious, even when you are preparing for a large number of people. Here are tips to throw an eco-friendly party.

9 Tips to throw an eco-friendly party

Use e-invitations

Making an E-card is fun

Avoid paper waste and send out electronic invitations instead. There are lots of websites that offer templates where you only have to fill in the details. Or make your own designs in Canva. Just make sure to use the BCC field if you send them via your own email program. That way you avoid spam and you keep your guest list secret if you want to.

Buy organic and whole foods

With ‘whole foods’ I mean that you buy foods that aren’t already prepared and sitting in a box or package at the store. This is a sustainable way to celebrate because you’re not throwing away (often plastic) packaging.

Moreover, processed foods are less healthy for you. They contribute to emissions and take a lot of energy to make. If you buy organic food then you also contribute to biodiversity because you make sure that no pesticides and herbicides were used to grow your food. 

By buying locally grown food you also contribute to your local economy. The food didn’t travel thousands of miles, using natural resources, to finally land on your table.

Related: Healthy Lifestyle: What are the Lifetime Benefits of Organic Food

Consider buying free-range, organic poultry or meat

Thanksgiving in the US or Canada is just not Thanksgiving without a turkey for many families. Christmas in Europe is often the time to go expensive on the meat choices.

If a turkey is on your menu, then consider buying a free-range, organic turkey. These healthy birds are better for the environment because raising them doesn’t put harmful pesticides into the environment. And they don’t contain any added hormones or other items which can be bad for the environment and your health.

Vegan is delicious as well

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I am not 100% vegan, nor am I 100% vegetarian, but I am certainly not a carnivore. You should eat what your body best reacts to. Yet, it is good to take into account that meat production is a huge cause of hunger in the world. And non-ecological meat is highly unhealthy and polluting.

Try vegan at times. For some reason, lots of people have the impression that vegan stands for boring and not tasty, but that is far from the truth. And if your guests belong to that group, surprise them with delicious vegan appetizers or snacks.

Related: Review of Your Super – Superfood in a Cardboard Can?

Don’t overdo the food

There are usually lots of leftovers at parties. Think ahead and don’t prepare everything at once. If you do have lots of leftovers, offer them to the party-goers to take home.

Back in the Netherlands, I organized exhibitions in our house with groups of artists. After closing time, we celebrated with a meal for the participants. Tom usually prepared containers with separate ingredients for a salad. That way everyone could choose what they liked and leave out what they didn’t like. And afterward, the containers were closed and kept in the refrigerator for a few more days.

Make the birthday cake yourself

Homemade birthday cakes are a lovely treat. They don’t have to be eccentric. Often kids and grownups appreciate the effort of a homemade birthday cake even more than the fanciest store-bought cake. It means that someone took the time out and the effort to bake something especially for them. 

It also means that you can skip the extra trip to pick up the cake or don’t have to worry about getting it home in one piece!

Use your own dishes and utensils

For a party with a large group of people, it’s tempting to serve from single-use paper or disposable dishware. Most party dishes are made from paper, cardboard, aluminum, or plastic. Afterward, all this material lands straight into the garbage. It’s better to use your own dishes and cutlery. Ask the guests to help clean and wash up.

It can be a big part of feeling connected when everybody is involved in either the preparations, the serving, and the cleaning afterward. I always feel more at home at a party where not only the host or hostess is running around and doing everything.

Decorate naturally

Natural confetti
The yellow confetti looks nice, but rose petals dry out very quickly. So you would have to use them right away.

Decorations don’t have to be fancy and glittering. You can make pretty flag bunting from fabric scraps. Personally, I think wrapping paper is beautiful to look at and since we have been in lockdown regularly and had to order online, I was able to keep various pieces.

Let the kids paint rocks in bright colors. Our grandsons love to paint when they are here, so we can make stock in advance.

Autumn is a beautiful season and nature provides some amazing decorations. Colored leaves, dried flowers, pine cones, and the curls of vines make wonderful holiday decorations. Skip the paper and plastic ones and enjoy what nature provides.

Spring and summer offer a choice of flowers. I can recommend looking at weeds. Often underrated, but the leaves and flowers dry easily and have their own charm. Typha latifolia, known as common cattail, looks marvelous on a buffet table.

Stay within 100 miles from home

Public transport: train

Many families travel great distances to be with family for the holiday festivities. However, that mass travel is harmful to the environment, contributing to global emissions. If you stay closer to home you’re saving on fossil resources. 

When everyone is living far apart, it might be nice to create a new tradition and meet up together with friends nearby. Or volunteer to help others on those special days.

Another solution is to go by public transport. That is not available for everyone of course. In some areas, there are no trains and hardly any buses available. In that case, you could drive to the nearest city and take a train or bus from there.

Reducing your ecological footprint is fun

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Being eco-conscious on festive holidays and parties is as easy as following the basic principle of reduce, reuse and recycle. Stay close to home, take advantage of your local resources and shop for whole, organic, and locally grown foods.

Throw an eco-friendly party and have fun. 🙂

Happy Celebrating!

Do you have more eco-friendly tips for us? Tell us in the comment box below.

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6 thoughts on “Throw an Eco-Friendly Party for Unique Birthdays or Holidays”

  1. Loved this article, and it made me realize that one can in fact organize a party while thinking of our environment. I have never really thought about this before when entertaining, but you have brought up some great points. Next time I make a salad, I am going to cut everything up separately and everyone can take what they want, which leads to less wastage on the plate if they don’t eat something.

    Giving away your leftovers is also a great idea, as it is always nice to have some snacks for the following day, especially if you are tired and don’t feel like preparing food, which is normally the case when you have been to or hosted a party.

    Reply
    • Marvelous, Michel. I, in my turn, am glad that I made you think. I am aware that a lot of people don’t think about sustainability and the environment. Not because they don’t want to, but because they never knew about any alternatives. And as it is my mission to inspire a lot of people to live a sustainable life, it’s great that my article resonates with you.

      Having everything of a salad separate is brilliant for everyone. During the first few of our group meals, my husband made a couple of salads that were complete. Just hoping there would be something for everyone. It turned out to be way more difficult than having everything separate. I had to ask for diet wishes and preferences. Pff, that way I ended up keeping a complete administration. So we were saving time and trouble as well. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Reply
  2. Loved this article. We definitely get the kids and grandkids involved when we celebrate.

    I either grow my own or buy organic whenever possible. Yes, the grandkids help with the planting and harvesting.

    After any family dinner, the granddaughters load the dishwasher, we never use disposable dishes.

    Alex even helps by taking out the compost.

    It is a real family affair with jobs for all and it works out great.

    One thing my parents did at Christmas was rather than buy a bunch of gifts they didn’t need, they would buy each other one nice gift then donate the money they would have otherwise spent on unnecessary gifts to a charity that benefits the earth.

    They would also spend part of Christmas at the local homeless shelter helping to serve food, often donating their own leftovers.

    Do you have things like that in Spain or the Netherlands?

    Reply
    • Now I know where you have your kind nature from! Your parents seem to have been marvelous people, I guess I would have gotten along with them just fine. <3

      Donating and volunteering are great additions to my list, Deb. In the Netherlands, there are initiatives like that. Maybe here in Spain as well, but I haven't noticed any yet.

      My son, who lived in Barcelona back then, tried to organize a Christmas meal for homeless people a couple of years ago. But some Spanish people are rather without any initiative, so the project came to a dead-end because people didn't keep their promises. Or didn't feel like it anyway, but didn't dare to say so.

      On the other hand, the Spanish are great at celebrating and helping each other with that. Not always in a very sustainable way, but we'll get there. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Thanks for the great article. I’m gonna be honest; I never thought that way. But you’re totally right.

    There are so many ways to stop ruining our planet, and this is one of those ways. The tradition here in Croatia is that there should be plenty of food and beverages. But then there’s too much waste at the end of the day.

    How do you prefer to send e-invitations? E-mails seem to be too “professional” to call some friends, using Viber or Whatsapp is a better option?

    Reply
    • Hey Petar, I am glad I put some new ideas inside your head. 🙂 It is great to have a lot of food and beverages as part of a party, and very useful to only have recyclable or compostable waste. The beauty is that usually, that way of celebrating is also cheaper than buying prepared food.

      Not everyone has Viber. As not everyone has Facetime. Personally, I don’t regard e-mail as too professional or businesslike. But if you know your friends and family do then Whatsapp is a good choice. And you can also consider Facebook in such a case. Or Text message (SMS). I hope this helps?

      Have fun at your next party. 😉

      Reply

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