Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, practically any celebration can be a challenge if you are trying to live sustainably, especially when kids are involved. It is hard enough not to fall prey to consumerism throughout the year but holidays can be even more difficult. Recently, Krista and Chris put on a birthday party for Lily. Here are some of the choices they made to create an event that was not only fun for everyone but also fit with their green ideals.
Buy flowers from the Farmers Market from vendors that don’t use pesticides. We are careful to buy organic foods whenever possible but sometimes forget that the floriculture industry is known for heavy use of pesticides that are poisoning workers as well as the environment.
A craft table is always a hit and a great way to re-use ribbons and all kinds of packaging materials. Let everyone make their own party hat, or in this case, crown.
A basket of dress-ups and one of musical instruments are fun for all ages. Thrift shops are a great source for dress-ups, as are our own closets. Musical instruments will often encourage some of the parents to get involved (dress-ups may too, especially hats).
Bubbles are very environmentally-friendly, especially if you make your own bubble-stuff.
Having a healthy snack before cake is a good idea. Making “salad people” encourages kids to eat vegetables, even some they may not think they like. You can vary the veggies depending on what is fresh and available locally. Some simple dips on the side make it even more delicious. Don’t be surprised if the Moms and Dads join in and want to make their own salad people.
Let guests know that handmade gifts and pre-loved toys are welcome. Sometimes gifts from an older friend’s toy box are especially treasured. Gifts of experiences, like dance classes, cut down on waste and for adults, think about donations made to non-profit organizations.
There are always going to be a few things that are non-negotiable like a princess castle cake from QFC. They will make a carrot cake in this shape, if that is acceptable to the birthday girl.
The point is not seeing how ecologically-correct you can be. When you make choices in favor of sustainability, you are not only setting a great example for the next generation, you may find that simple celebrations can be the most memorable.