Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Tips For Greening Your Holiday Parties And Celebrations

As you start planning your holiday parties, Earth Eats thought it might be helpful to round up some tips to help keep your parties green this year.

holiday placesettings on a dinner table

Photo: tkellyphoto (flickr)

One of the most wasteful party practices is the use of disposable plates, consider renting or having your guest bring their own place-settings instead.

holiday table

Photo: tkellyphoto (flickr)

The holiday season is upon us and as you start planning your holiday parties, Earth Eats thought it might be helpful to round up some tips to help keep your parties green this year.

A Scientific Take

Scientists at Ryerson University in Toronto assembled a list of 15 ways people can green up their holiday season – like using LED lights for displays and taking the time to sort through recyclables after a party.

Although there is some debate about which is really greener: real or artificial Christmas trees.

They also recommend giving experience presents – like theater or concert tickets – instead of something that will just end up in the back of the closet or in the landfill.

Green Party Planners

We wanted to know more about how to make the holidays more environmentally friendly, so we talked to a couple of experts.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are the mother daughter team behind Celebrate Green, a company that helps people green up their special occasions.

Corey says that the pair likes to put the meaning in the greening, “So not just the sustainability issues, but finding a way to really put people first.”

One of the most wasteful party practices is the use of disposable plates. Last Thanksgiving, Corey hosted a dinner and came up short for place settings. While she highly recommends renting things like place settings for those situations, she came up with a way to make it more meaningful.

“We asked each guest to bring a place setting,” Corey said, “and along with their place setting we asked them to bring a story behind the place setting. So that as people ate their Thanksgiving dinner we also got to share in the stories behind them.”

Green Your Holiday Decor

Holiday and party décor is another big waste-maker. Lynn says she likes to look for things she already has to decorate her home more sustainably.

“What we do is pick a theme,” she said, “say you are doing red and green for Christmas. Go on a hunt through the house. See what you can find. What do you already have that is red and green, rather than feel like you have to go out and purchase something.”

Lynn recommends branches and outdoor plants for centerpieces and wreaths, or even artfully arranging baskets and cooking pots. They also talked about what they call “edible décor”. You can take fresh produce like apples, gourds, and pineapples, core out the center and place candles or flowers inside.

Corey even likes to use hollow pumpkins to serve soup. “When the celebration is done,” she saidm “These things can be eaten or composted. So it’s a zero waste way to bring the outdoors in, to support local farmers, and just to create less waste.”

Learn More: Lynn and Corey keep a blog of their tips on their website.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are regular contributors to Earth Eats and mother-daughter green lifestyle experts. They are authors of the book, Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family.

View all posts by this author »

  • GreenSmithC

    These are some great suggestions, thanks for making them in time to implement some.

    On the subject of disposables, if you can't get people to bring their own, and depending on the size of the event, I've found Verterra to be quite handy. They're made from one thing: Palm leaves. I've been able to reuse them ~3-5 times each, washing them gently. And, being made of leaves, I've found them to compost really well. If you're doing a big size event, I'd think these may even save on resources/cost, not having to rent them, wash them, and all the resources that go into that.

  • GreenSmithC

    These are some great suggestions, thanks for making them in time to implement some.

    On the subject of disposables, if you can't get people to bring their own, and depending on the size of the event, I've found Verterra to be quite handy. They're made from one thing: Palm leaves. I've been able to reuse them ~3-5 times each, washing them gently. And, being made of leaves, I've found them to compost really well. If you're doing a big size event, I'd think these may even save on resources/cost, not having to rent them, wash them, and all the resources that go into that.

  • Pingback: Holiday Party: Green Decor, Holiday Cocktails, Squash Tempura | Earth Eats - Indiana Public Media

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media