Holidays are joyous occasions that bring us closer to loved ones. No matter what season of the year, there’s nothing like gathering to celebrate a milestone, a moment or a meaningful remembrance.
Holidays are also the source of tons of waste every year. From single-use wrapping paper to disposable plates to plastic packaging to food waste, our holiday celebrations could use some greening up. We took the lessons we learned during Clean and Green Week, and World Clean Up Day, and figured out how to cut down on the avoidable waste generated by holiday festivities.
Whether you’re looking to scare up a green Halloween, throw a sustainable summer soiree or make any celebratory event more eco-friendly, we’ve got great tips for you, every step of the way.
Invite Less Waste From the Start
Digital invitations help your zero-waste goals from the very beginning. Sending emails or messaging through social media instead of choosing snail mail saves you big upfront while avoiding all the waste from manufacturing and shipping cards, plus driving them around in mail trucks.
If your event skews formal, like a wedding, seek out eco-friendly companies that offset their contributions to global warming by planting trees with every sale or crafting “plantable” invitations from biodegradable paper embedded with seeds. Adding a spritz of a signature scent that’s made of sustainable ingredients in a cruelty-free way ups the intrigue of your invite while setting the eco-friendly tone of your event. Try a light spritz of CLEAN RESERVE Fresh Linens , a gentle vegan formula crafted with sustainable ingredients and presented in a chic reusable glass bottle. Twist off the pump and it becomes a vase for a single favorite flower or a few candy canes!
Decorate Like Mother Nature
Let the season guide your party’s theme and décor! Spring get-togethers can feature potted bulbs as centerpieces. A summer garden or lakeside pavilion comes with a gorgeous ready-made backdrop. Fall leaves already look like confetti — take a hole punch to them for eco-friendly sprinkles without the cleanup woes. Embrace the beauty of winter by bringing pine boughs, holy leaves and pinecones indoors for naturally heaven-scented décor.
When you need floral decor that isn’t part of your locale’s environment, seek out sustainable flowers like those from a local market or fair trade importer. If other decorations are necessary, put your artistic skills and those of your loved ones to work. Fodder for sustainable DIY decorations include recycled packing materials for streamers, cardboard boxes for signage and thrift store sheets for a draped photo backdrop. Eco-friendly soy candles can set an intimate mood without the extra energy needed for string lights.
Weather-permitting, choose to host outdoors to take advantage of the sun’s rays and reduce energy consumption. If you opt for an evening soirée, ditch the string lights and set an intimate mood with heavenly-scented vegan candles made from a natural soy wax blend featuring sustainable Lavender & Sage and poured into a chic reusable glass votives. The scent is inspired by a joyful holiday away in the woods.
Eat Like a Local
Keep your party fare eco-friendly by crafting a locavore menu. Whether that means ordering a birthday cake from the local bake shop, choosing the caterer who’s in your downtown neighborhood or buying produce and other treats at the farmers’ market then preparing the spread yourself, your guests will love the insider feel. And if you’re inviting people from out of town, they’ll get a glimpse of the local gems that make your hometown special. Integrate plant-based recipes where possible for a creative spin on Holiday classics - from a Vegan Mushroom Gravy (https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/vegan-mushroom-gravy) to a Vegan Cranberry & Apple Stuffing (https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/vegan-cranberry-and-apple-stuffing). You'll have everyone lining up for seconds, vegans and meat-eaters alike.
Give Green Gifts a Chance
Encourage guests to skip the gifts and simply enjoy being together! If the occasion hinges on gift-giving, like a birthday or bridal shower, consider guiding guests toward experiential presents like IOUs for a coffee date. For tangible gifts, a white elephant requires thrifted finds or re-gifts that reduce waste on many fronts. Suggesting a few eco-friendly gift ideas can help guests find sustainable options, like clean perfume gift sets or home products made without harmful ingredients. Challenge everyone to wrap their gifts sustainably, too, with scarves, recycled newspaper comics, maps, towels or fabric.
Make Recycling a Win-Win
Home in on your zero-waste goals by eschewing disposable paper and plastic dinnerware in favor of the real deal. If you’d rather not use your own glasses, plates and silverware, find lots of great options at the thrift store. A mismatched table laid with a vintage cloth, Mason jar glasses and dinnerware from many eras puts out a fun, festive, Grand millennial vibe. Cloth napkins are an eco-friendly hosting must, and second-hand napkin rings present a fab opportunity for personalized party favors (more on those in a minute). As for the energy needed to wash those napkins, consolidating them into a larger load is one of the ways to be more sustainable by using water wisely.
Set up a waste station with clearly marked bins for food waste, reusables like metal flatware and recyclables like cans. If you or someone you know composts, opt for biodegradable dishware you can mix right in with the food waste.
End on a Green Note
Every partygoer loves a party favor. Keep yours green by including earth-friendly items and leaving out any unnecessary wrapping or packaging. Great options include home-baked treats, seed packets and cards that indicate donations you’ve made to pollinator supporting organizations. If you’re looking for the perfect little something to cap off any event in elegant style, you cannot go wrong with an eco-friendly digital gift card, especially when guests can use it on sustainably sourced, clean products that will elevate their everyday experience.