Green up every celebration & holiday in 2013
Resolved: To green up every celebration in 2010, from anniversaries to Valentine’s Day
The great thing about this resolution is that it’s so easy to follow! Just start with these tips and you’ll be on your way to celebrating in ways that are better for the planet and people too. An added bonus? You’re likely save save a bunch of cash as well.
1. Plan. Take advantage of the new year to get a calendar and fill in the dates for every event you think you’ll celebrate this year. Include birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, weddings, graduations, family reunions, even office parties, then add every holiday you celebrate in any way big or small.
Now make a list of items you’ll need, i.e. tableware, decor, gifts, food etc.
Check off what you already own. Then list what you need to beg, borrow, exchange or purchase.
Print out the list (on recycled paper of course) or put it in your phone, PDA or calendar you carry with you.
When you’re at the thrift store or a garage sale, or see a great local sale, check the item off your list. Or, if you’re into setting up an exchange, one month before the event on your calendar, add in a date for a neighborhood get together to trade costumes, decor, plates or anything else you come up with.
2. Shop local and handmade. Shipping long distances is a no-no when you’re trying to live in a more eco-friendly way. So it’s always preferable to seek out items you’re going to buy locally.
If you’ve planned ahead (see tip #1), then buying organic berries in the summer from your local farmer’s market and freezing them for the blueberry pancakes you’ll make your love on Valentine’s Day makes the process easy and fun.
3. Throw no-waste celebrations. No waste doesn’t mean no trash (unfortunately). It means that everything purchased around a celebration can be recycled, composted or reused. Planning ahead (see tip #!) helps a lot.
Here are a few ideas to make it easier still:
- Be sure to have labeled bins available.
- Ask guests to bring unwrapped gifts, then hide them (the gifts, not the guests) and have the recipient hunt for them
- Collect glass jars, decorate them if you like and have them available for guests to take home leftovers
- Resist purchasing throw away decor–plates, cups, tablecloths etc.–no matter how cute or how well they match your theme
4. Make gifts and decor from items you already own, can collect, trade with friends or re-purpose. Some people consider themselves crafty and some don’t. If you’re in the latter category, it’s not a crime, but how about giving it a try in 2010? By planning ahead (see hint #–OK by now you know what we’re referring to), you’ll have plenty of time to assemble the needed items, instructions or even take a class. This could be the year to learn to take old sweaters and turn them into gifts by learning how to needle felt. Or make an eco-friendly holiday tree, recycled jewelry or cook up green tomato preserves!
There are instructions for anything you’d like to craft online. Instructables and Craftster will get you started, but simply by typing in what you want to make plus the word, “instructions,” you’ll be on the road to DIY stardom.
5. Think about how to minimize energy waste before, during and after events.
- Plan parties during the day to minimize need for heat (depending on where you live) and lights.
- Keep the temperature down if you’re celebrating in the winter with masses of people. Body heat may suffice.
- In summer, try using a solar oven for cooking instead of heating up the kitchen
Top picks for celebrating green all year
- Gazillions of ideas in the book, Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family and from the website www.CelebrateGreen.net
- Earth-friendlier party goods from www.GreenPartyGoods.com and www.GreenPlanetParties
- For handmade gift, food and decor ideas, check out www.Etsy.com
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.