Hosting a holiday bash this year? Check out these green holiday party ideas.
by Megan Ross
The holiday season is characterized by spending time with friends and family. Unfortunately though, it is also associated with excess and waste. But rather than having your holiday party contribute to the latter, maintain the festive mood without the environmental harm by using these green holiday party ideas.
1) Hark, All Ye: Invitations
Many of us are already accustomed to event invitations being relegated to the realm of Facebook. Having an event page on social media is especially good for organizing potlucks and gift exchanges, whereby everyone can easily share what they plan to bring. Or use an ‘e-invitation’ website, like www.evite.com to send something electronically, with a little more pizazz.
However, if you prefer the more traditional method, be sure to use 100% post-consumer recycled paper for your invitations, envelopes, and posters.
2) Bringing Comfort and Joy: Lighting and Decorations
We are living in the golden age of Christmas lights and nothing makes more eco-sense than using LED lights instead of their incandescent predecessors. LED lights use less energy, which means they last longer, save you money, and do not produce unsafe amounts of heat.
Though if you desire a more natural ambiance, you may opt for candles instead. While doing so safely is important, you should also consider the impact of paraffin wax. Paraffin not only releases toxins into your home as they burn, but are also a petroleum by-product, and thus require non-renewable resources for their production. Instead, select candles that are made from Beeswax or some sort of vegetable wax.
Or why not light a fire? Turn down the thermostat and use that oft neglected wood-burning fireplace in your living room. Just be sure to partake in efficient burning techniques in order to minimize the amount of air pollutants you release into the atmosphere.
Can’t decide between getting a real Christmas tree or one that is fake? Hosting a real tree in your home contributes to the dedication and use of land for the planting of trees (trees which capture all those carbon emissions!), plus they smell great! Alternatively, the production of fake trees requires far more fossil fuels, and they are not as easily recycled as their authentic counterpart. Similarly, use natural garlands and decorations made from things you could readily harvest from your backyard or nearby park.
3) Drink and Be Merry: Food and Beverages
Feed the masses in order to keep them happy, but don’t do so at the expense of the environment. Try shopping at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, or other locally-sourced options. Likewise, try out one of the many local distilleries our province has to offer.
Then serve up your delicious concoctions with real dinnerware, silverware, and cloth napkins. If this simply is not a feasible option for you, then ensure that any disposable items used are compostable or made with recycled content.
4) Spreading the Joy: Gifts
“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” — The Grinch
Listen to the post-enlightened Grinch and express your generosity in less materialistic and more sustainable ways. Try exchanging locally-produced goods or perhaps some of your own Christmas baking, or make a donation to a non-profit organization in the recipient’s name. If something is in need of wrapping, use recycled materials, and then save all the leftover gift bags and paper for next year.
5) Saying Adieu: Cleanup
Your guests will not want to bother their host with where they should put their waste, whether it be food, disposable plates, or beverage containers. So avoid confusion and unnecessary additions to the landfill by having clearly marked recycling bins and compost for food scraps. Afterwards, substitute cleaners with harsh chemicals for natural alternatives. For example, a mix of water, lemon, and baking soda will not only clean up any accidental spills, but also leave your home smelling clean and fresh.