It’s party season, and nothing makes the little ones happier than a good old-fashioned celebration! The kiddies love the action, the special foods, the costumes, the decorations and the buildup of excitement that precedes festivities. Trouble is, the way we celebrate special occasions – be it birthdays, Christmas or New Year’s – seems to be an excuse to worship at the temple of conspicuous consumption. Not to mention a sustainability disaster! Paper plates, anyone? As role models to our children, we ought to attempt to show them more ecological alternatives and help mould them into conscious adults… Below, Green Queen shares 9 simple ways to ‘greenify’ kiddie parties!
1. E-vite, Don’t Invite.
What could possibly be more wasteful than printed invitations? Not to mention envelopes. Yikes! Luckily there are free online options that are plenty creative and have a total tree cost of zero.
2. Ditch The Decorations
On the decorations front, it’s hard not to sound Scroogey but most options are wasteful and can be avoided, especially due to their very temporary nature. Our tips for going green: use recycled paper streamers, biodegradable balloons and reusable decorative pieces.
3. Secret Santa All The Way
Most kids don’t need more toys and end up never even opening some of the presents they are given. One truly thoughtful and meaningful gift for Christmas will go far further than dozens of knick-knacks that are tossed aside once the opening frenzy is over. And while you are it, make Secret Santa a year round tradition.
4. Donation Inspiration
Even better: have a no-gifts policy and use it as an opportunity for inspiration and education. Ask guests to commit to donating to a charity of their choice or have the little ones choose toys they no longer want and encourage them to donate them at the party – these can then be distributed to charities where they will reach children in need.
5. Wrapping Blues
If you must wrap, use old magazines and newspapers. Wrapping paper and gift bags are truly an eco-lose. They go straight into the trash. There are so many fun ways to envelop things, so get your creative on!
6. Chef It Up
Processed foods are 100% NON eco-friendly. From the air miles they travel to reach you to the excessive amounts of plastic packaging to the need-a-science-degree-to-read-it ingredient labels, it’s hard to feel good about a table full of ready-made eats. Use the opportunity to bond with your children by teaching them how to prepare delicious treats. Kids don’t need fancy foods. A slice of cake, a few finger sandwiches, a couple of cookies, maybe some crudites and homemade lemonade is an easy-to-prepare menu that everyone will love. Bonus: it’s healthier to eat homemade food too – no chaotic sugar highs. All the other parents will think you are a genius!
7. Say Goodbye to Goody Bags
Who needs disposable plastic bags filled with cheap trinkets and processed snacks? Do away with them and instead, have an arts and craft station where the kiddies can make a take-home memento or send them off with homemade brownies/cookies/treat of your choice.
8. Party in The Park
Why bother with expensive, heavily air-conditioned indoor rental venues where you have to worry about kids breaking things? Host your event at a playground – it’s free, loads of fun and so healthy for the little ones to be out in nature. Energy cost? Nil.
9. Choose Local & Sustainable
If you are having a party emergency and have to buy gifts, decorations or treats, make sure to choose consciously-made options like wooden & fabric toys instead of plastic, and support local food artisans who source their ingredients locally.