When you first begin changing your habits in order to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle, you may have a difficult time coming up with alternative solutions for wasteful habits and practices that pollute, simply because you’ve been brainwashed by a society that embraces consumerisms and a disposable mentality. But it’s just that kind of thinking that has put our planet into a state of environmental crisis, and hence caused many people to begin looking for greener ways to conduct their daily lives. And over time, you may be surprised by just how many options are out there for concerned citizens like yourself that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. So when it comes time to plan your next family party (be it a birthday, a holiday, or just a special dinner) you’ll want to look for ways to make the event as green as possible. Here are just a few tips to help you out.
One of the easiest ways to get eco-friendly with family parties is to do away with the paper decorations that permeate most of these occasions. Instead of paper banners, napkins, tablecloths, and plates, and plastic cups and utensils, why not look for more sustainable (and reusable) materials? Over time, you can amass a sizeable collection of pottery plates and cups from local artists that can be used year-round (or saved for special occasions). And if you have a flair for sewing, tablecloths and napkins should be no problem. You can even make specialized banners to hang for specific events like holidays and birthdays. If you want to go even greener, use organic textiles.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The major portion of any gathering usually revolves around food. And luckily, it’s pretty easy to make eco-friendly choices in this arena, as well. If you’re arranging the edibles on your own, all you have to do is shop markets that support local farms. The amount of pollution that is created through shipping is astronomical, so instead of supporting big-money agricultural operations like Monsanto, give your money to area farmers that can provide you with organic produce and animal products that are both organic and humanely treated. If you’d rather free up your schedule by hiring a catering company, call around to ask if any offer organics, vegetarian/vegan options, or locally-sourced foods. This is the type of company that will help you stick to your principles even as you throw a great party.
Finally, you should consider entertainment. While the kids may be clamoring for a clown or close up magician, you don’t really need to blow the dough on outside entertainment (especially considering that they’ll have to drive over in their gas-guzzling vans and they’ll likely be wearing horrible synthetic-fiber costumes…ugh). Instead, go old school with the amusements. If you’re inviting extended family and friends to the party, have anyone with a talent for performance prepare something to share (like the days before TV). Or pull the old board games out of their resting spot at the back of the closet and dust them off for a nostalgic night of gameplay. You could even bust out the charades, which could be the greenest game on the planet (no materials or electricity required!). Your family will have a lot of fun, spend some quality time, and celebrate the occasion in eco-friendly style.