Planning

How to Go Green during the Holidays!

With all the planning, cooking, and cleaning, the last thing you want to think about is being eco-friendly during the Holidays, right?  But it’s not as hard as you might think.

  1. Inviting your guests
    Hand-lettered invitations on recycled paper or a emailed Evite can set the tone for a truly special event.  17 million Evite invitations are sent electronically from the Evite website!
  2. Plan your meal
    Make sure you determine any special food needs your guests might have.  1 pound of food per person is the recommended serving size of your main course—turkey, tofurky, or whatever you’re serving—plus another half-pound for leftovers.  Are they Vegan? Vegetarian?  Do they have food allergies?  Simple questions now can save last-minute headaches and wasted food.  Purchase a heritage and/or organic turkey.  If the farmers’ market season is still on when your party shopping happens, this is the ideal spot to buy local food.  Local produce is not only good for your health, its good for the Earth too: the shorter distance it travels to get to your plate keeps carbon out of the air.
  3. Reducing the Amount of Meat on Your Menu
    Meat production contributes significantly to climate change. One pound of beef alone requires 1860 gallons of water. Cattle and other livestock also produce serious amounts of methane, a gas 20 times more harmful to the Earth than carbon dioxide.  You can simply serve less meat at your party and still do a good green deed.  If you are inspired to take your party a step further, why not make your menu entirely vegetarian.
  4. Sip Green Drinks
    When you’re planning what drinks to serve at your dinner party, try to avoid buying those that come in cans and bottles, but if you do, be sure to clearly mark a place where guests can recycle.  There’s also the option of picking up beer from a local brewery, or buying it organic. If wine’s your thing, green wines abound. You can make your own sangria and avoid drink packaging altogether.  And if when dessert rolls around you want to serve a little pick me up, why not brew some shade-grown coffee?
  5. Clean house
    Using non-toxic cleaners can make your house sparkle without chemicals.  Mix up some baking soda and water to scrub out your sinks and tubs.  Wondering how to get your windows squeaky clean?  Try vinegar and newspaper.  These household staples really work-and you won’t run the risk of inciting a synthetic-fragrance induced allergy attack in your guests.
  6. Decorate lightly
    Think outside the box when it comes to decorating your home.  Do you typically put a wreath on your door and a cut flower arrangement on your table?  Instead of the traditional wreath, buy one made from living, organically grown succulents and cacti.  Make your table arrangements from organic flowers, and herbs like rosemary and lavender for gorgeous, fragrant bouquets.  Instead of buying one time use decorations think about going green.  Party store decorations are often paper and plastic and usually only last the night of your party.  Look outside in your yard for nature inspired decorations. Why not gather branches, flowers foliage and rocks?  Filling vases with hints of the season like pinecones, lemons or leaves is a great way to add a bit of “green” to the dinner table.  Petroleum free soy candles can help you create a mellow mood.
  7. Use the Right Tableware
    If you can, avoid the usual paper cups, plates, napkins and plastic utensils.  If you are stuck on these for your party, look for unbleached or biodegradable products.
  8. Give Thanks
    Many families show appreciation at Thanksgiving time by going around the table, with each member saying what he or she is giving thanks for this year.

Clean Up Green
Set up bins at your party that clearly mark where guests can recycle, compost and send trash to the landfill.  Scrape the plates and suds up…but wait!  Even if you don’t compost, you can separate the green scraps from the rest and toss them in your leaf bin.  Also, be sure to collect the plastic bottles and aluminum cans in a separate bin and drop them off at the nearest recycling center.