At the Party Kit Network we are all about being eco-friendly, especially over the Holiday Season. It's also a great time to make sustainable resolutions for the new year. We have rounded up five tips to help get started with your eco-friendly holiday event planning and beyond.
Reusables party ware
Swap out the single-use party ware for regular plates, cups, bowls, cutlery and serviettes. If you don't have enough, ask to borrow or check out the Party Kit Network for a reusable party kit.
Gather extra serving platters from family and friends, or see what the local charity store has available – they might have Christmas themed ones. If someone at the party offers to help wash up (there is always one!) take them up on the kind suggestion and use the opportunity to have a catch up. You might find others will want to jump in to help too.
Christmas tree and decorations
Use a real tree or plant you have at home as a Christmas tree. It may be possible to rent a Christmas tree locally or if you do buy a living Christmas tree make sure it’s composted after the holidays. Should you already own a plastic Christmas tree using it and looking after this tree is the most sustainable choice.
Secondhand stores are a great place to find Christmas decorations should you need any. Ask around family and friends to see if anyone has items they no longer use or need. Another option is to make your own from old fabric and other found materials, a great activity with the kids.
Wrap presents without plastic
Wrapping presents with cloth that can be reused again and again without any of the plastic tape is becoming more popular and are sure to start conversation about reducing waste this holiday season.
Other options is to use second-hand silk scarves from the Op shop. You'll also find second-hand wrapping paper, alongside gently used gift bags, gift tags and even Christmas cards. If you do use wrapping paper swap out the tape for string and ribbon over plastic tape or make your own glue using flour and water. Another fun activity is to use kids artwork and old maps as wrapping paper.
If you don’t want a Christmas present OR don't want to buy one for others, let them know. You are not forced to buy a present for everyone. You could make a donation to a charity on their behalf to support an environmental or social justice group. But the best place to start is having a conversation.
If you would prefer handmade, second-hand or experiences – let your family and friends know. And to keep things simple provide a list of ideas to help them pick a useful rather than useless gift.
Suggest a Secret Santa/Kris Kringle. Participating in these will reduce how many people you will have to buy presents for. Instead of buying a gift for five different people, you can now choose one gift.
Try these gift ideas:
Homemade or locally made gifts - Jams, iced cookies, relish, chutneys, a cake, body scrub, face oil, wooden toy, personalised artwork, either by yourself or a local maker.
Re-gift items - Take a look in your jewellery box, kitchen cupboards, and give away items that you don’t use and think someone else might enjoy.
Experiences - Movie tickets, theatre tickets, dinner or lunch voucher, dog walking, bush walk, buy a month of coffees from their local cafe.
Green things - Plants like vegetables or herb plants, and house plants too are gifts that keep giving back.
Reduce food waste
It's no surprise food waste increases with more socialising during Christmas and New Year holidays. Meal planning and writing shopping lists is key to avoiding the many marketing tricks food stores use to make us buy more than we need. You can cut back on packaging and fight food waste by shopping at bulk food shops. These stores allow you to buy the exact amount needed for a recipe, unlike supermarkets where we don't have a choice.
Find out if you can get drink refills for your beer, wine or even bubbles. We like to make homemade lemonade and fruit water in reusable bottle.
Don't forget to empty the freezer in the lead up to the holiday period so there is plenty of room to store uneaten food away and we like to encourage guests to take home leftovers too. For help and ideas on making the most of your freezer check out Kate Hall's The Full Freezer (@thefullfreezer). Kate has a downloadable guide for making the best use of your freezer this Christmas as well as tips on how to freeze any leftovers.
If you are hosting Christmas lunch make it easy for your guests to find the compost bin. We set up separate bins for compost, plastics, paper, glass, metal and general waste. Each one is clearly labeled, especially helpful with a big group of people.
Anticipate leftovers and collect extra glass jars before the event to send leftovers home in. We take containers to all events just in case the host needs help moving uneaten food on.
Wishing you a happy, fun, and safe Holiday Season.
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Christmas family photo created by pressfoto