Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Greening your holiday parties

Green for ChristmasSince my son is keeping me busy with his stomach flu, I'm serving up an updated green holiday post for your reading enjoyment.

For many people, food and drink is what getting together is all about. And today's posting is all about how to make your holiday dinners and parties green.

Tableware - Let's start with the foundations. Forget the paper plates and plastic cups. Try to use real dishes if you can. If you must use disposable, try to get something compostable. There are a number of different options. If you must go with disposable, choose bamboo tableware, corn "plastic" or other biodegradable dinnerware.

Table decorations - As with the rest of your house decor, go for the natural. Decorate with bowls of edibles, vases filled with cranberries, etc. For place markings, you can make your own using old Christmas cards or gift tags.

Food - Follow the same guidelines as you used for the Eat Local Thanksgiving Challenge. That is, try to find foods that are local and in season for your area. Choosing organic is even better. If you must have something out of season, look for the organic versions before settling for the conventional. If you eat local, you'll save tons of food miles and if you choose organic you be saving the soil from all those petrochemicals used to grow it.

Beverages - Stick with local or organic wines, local juices and stay away from soda and bottled water. Most people won't notice that the pitcher of ice water on the table contains tap water.

Cocktails - What's a holiday without a little classic cocktail party? Just make sure you choose fruits and juices that are organic, if possible, and try some of the following organic spirits if you can find them:

     4 Copas Organic Tequila
     Juniper Green Organic Gin
     Square One Organic Vodka
     Rain Organic Vodka
     ModMix Organic Mixers comes in the following flavors:
  • Pomegranate Cosmopolitan
  • Citrus Margarita
  • Mojito
  • French Martini
  • Lavender Lemon Drop
New Year's Eve - There are a few organic champagnes out there or you can choose any sort of bubbly organic beverage. Again, keep your tableware to reusable, decorations on the natural or reuse side. For example, reuse silver or gold wrapping paper over cardboard boxes to make silver stars you can hang from the ceiling with leftover silver ribbons or even raffia. Dig out that silver tray for your drinks. Frost some grapes in superfine sugar and egg whites for the table (see directions at the bottom of this page).

Stay away from fireworks and throw confetti instead. Preferably something recyclable. You'll save yourself from toxic chemicals and spare your lungs from air pollution.

Host an Eco New Years Resolution Party where each guest commits to a resolution to do something new and green in the New Year. Make a list of green ideas for party goers to choose from.

Ambiance - If you want to light candles, go for the soy or beeswax ones to eliminate breathing in petroleum byproducts from paraffin. If you want to
roast your chestnuts by an open fire (especially if you're Freezing Yer Buns) then choose a Java Log or other eco-friendly firelog instead of a Duraflame. The Java Log burns hotter and higher than the average firelog, diverts coffee grounds from the waste stream and produces far less emissions.

So spend some time this season planning to green your holiday parties. But just remember to eat, drink and be merry!


na0 said...

lovely ideas! i like the cranberry idea a lot. :)

Anonymous said...

Another great centerpiece is a clear bowl with some of your christmas ornaments (ball type, usually) piled in it. My mom used to do this for the coffee table with all of the gold and silver ornaments that we didn't put on the tree. I also have a number of artificial fruit ornaments that I use in the same way.

Granted, not as non-consumptive as using real fruit that will then be eaten later :) but I already have the ornaments, and use them year after year.

Green Bean said...

I totally need to look into organic champagne!! Sounds wonderful.

Also, as to the confetti, why not give kids some colored flyers (after used on both sides) and let them go to down with some scissors. Mine love to do that and then you've got some homemade, eco confetti which can be dumped into the compost bin when done.

Anonymous said...

sugar frosted fruits are so pretty... great idea

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Duraflame reformulated their logs so they are no longer made with petroleum. Not an issue for me, because I have a natural gas fireplace but if I had a firepit and didn't have access to wood, I might consider it. I haven't seen the Java logs for sale locally.

Anonymous said...

You just reminded me to pick up some Java logs on my way home tonight. Thanks. We are not exactly freezing here in Oakland, but we did finally give up and turn on our central gas heating.