The last holiday party you attended probably included plastic plates and silverware. And let me guess, there were paper napkins and red plastic cups. If gifts were exchanged, how much wrapping paper was thrown out? Be honest. It was a lot, right? And the food! How many parties have we all been to where there wasn’t a lot of leftover food! Most people don’t consider all the waste associated with celebrations. But there are ways to reduce your waste while still having a great party.
Here are 11 Waste-Free and Green Holiday Ideas:
- Use cloth napkins. This is an easy step in the green direction. I never leave the house without my PeopleTowel, but this year I also have some cute red and white napkins that Green Planet Parties sent me. And as a bonus, both are made in the USA!
- Go paperless! Instead of buying cute invitations from the party or stationery store, notify everyone online. This is getting easier to do with the popularity of social media and apps. Paperless Post is a popular website for creating stunning invitations that are simple to send. And e-vite now allows you to text your guests an invitation.
- If it’s feasible, serve your food using reusable dishes and cutlery. You could also buy greener disposable options. But skip the plastic.
- Create a beautiful tablescape with real plants. Again, please skip the plastic.
- Instead of decorating with candles, try an oil diffuser. There are a lot of shapes, sizes, and colors these days. Some diffusers even look like modern art sitting on your table. And during the holiday season, you have a host of scents from which to choose. You could go with a traditional Christmastime scent like Clove or Peppermint. Or try a more “tree-scented” oil like Balsam Fir, Black Spruce, or Pine. And when you use good-quality oils, they’ll add health benefits as they diffuse as opposed to the toxins put off by candles.
- I’m not really big into Advent calendars, but some people are. I get it! It’s hard to resist a guaranteed daily piece of chocolate! If you’re still using the disposable Advent calendars, you might consider some of the reusable wooden or cloth calendars. Simply stuff the little pockets yourself with treats each year.
- Leftovers may not be your favorite thing in the refrigerator. That doesn’t mean you should throw them out. Send your guests home with doggie bags. Or go a step further and ask them to bring their own containers. Heck, make it a fun, new tradition! Come for dinner, bring your container, and leave with lots of yummy foods!
- Recycle. It would be nearly impossible to keep all plastic and paper away from your party. Have a recycle bin and make sure you and your guests properly dispose of recyclables.
- Did you get a gift you don’t really want to keep? I don’t think I need to tell you that throwing it out isn’t exactly the best plan. Instead, check out these 6 Fun Ideas for Unwanted Gifts.
- Giving waste-free gifts at the holidays can be difficult, but there are some options you may not have even considered, like donating to a person’s favorite charity. It’s not as easy to do with kids because, let’s face it, kids like stuff. But researches made some big noise this season already about going back to the basics when it comes to kids’ toys. They say traditional toys like blocks and dolls help children develop in ways that video games cannot. Some experts are even suggesting giving kids experiences instead of toys, like a trip to the museum or a day at the park.
- Wrap gifts with items you may already have around the house. Have a long-sleeved shirt you’re not wearing anymore? Cut the sleeve and use it to wrap a wine bottle. In Japan, they use something called Furoshiki cloths to wrap their gifts. This video shows you step-by-step how to tie them.
I’ve learned over the years how to reduce my waste and live a more minimalist lifestyle. I’m not suggesting you build a tiny house and park it in someone’s backyard or wrap your gifts in junk mail, but you might try making this Peppermint Sugar Scrub instead of buying spa gifts this year, which is a step in the green direction.
Here are more ways to live a waste-free lifestyle:
- Create a Zero-Waste Lunch
- Read about my family’s pledge to go waste-free for a year.
- If food is a big source of waste in your home, you’ll want to read this.
- Leftovers don’t have to refer to just food, especially during the holidays. I can help you handle leftovers in an eco-friendly way.