Real life friend turned blogging friend! I actually have quite a few of these and it has been really fun to get to know them even better through their blogs. My guest blogger today was a friend of mine in college. But several years after college I found she had a blog and started following her parenting journey. I envy her ability to make almost anything for her son and of course the fact that she lives in HAWAII! She is an amazing green mama!! You can check her out at Malama Aina.
Green Birthday Party
With my son's 1 year lu'au (party) rapidly approaching, I've been concerned with preventing this celebration from becoming an eco-disaster. Even though tradition somehow mandates that we give out loads of sugar and plastic, I think a party should reflect the host's values. If your values are green like mine, then here are a few simple tricks to incorporate at your next lu'au! Party on!
Instead of hooking every kid up with a plastic bag full of plastic toys and candy, set up bulk-style tubs of healthy treats (yogurt covered raisins, fig cookies, pretzels, etc) and/or eco-friendlier playthings (sidewalk chalk, pads of paper with crayons, etc). Give each child a brown paper bag and let them choose the things they truly want.
Encourage guests to bring sippy cups and serve beverages from pitchers. Not only will this prevent disposable cup waste, it will help the kids to remember which drink is theirs and avoid spills. You can even go a step further and encourage adults to BYOC (bring your own cup).
Finger foods as appetizers are an easy way to cut down on plates in the trash. A bagel chip spread with hummus and topped with a cucumber is simple to make and always a hit!
Make cupcakes instead of cake (no plate required) and bake them without the paper - just spray non-stick cooking spray into your muffin tins.
Consider having a "NO GIFTS" party. Personally, the reason I'm choosing no gifts is because I want my kids to see their birthday as a time to celebrate with their friends and family. I want them to feel special, I want them to eat an amazing meal, and I want them to have fun. What I don't want is for them to grow up with the expectation that just because they are a year older they deserve a pile of presents. Also, IMO, gifts generate too much trash and potential for tantrums.
If you must do gifts (my family likes to send gifts in the mail, which is understandable) then request second-hand or package-free toys. Another great alternative is gifts of experience like a movie ticket or beach day (even better if friends go together).
Focus on the food. Baby parties are usually more for the adults (my son's lu'au should really be called Mom Survived the First Year) This might be a cultural thing (in Hawaii, we love the grindz), but I would skip the matching plates and napkins, and focus my budget on serving the most amazing food possible.
Focus on the fun. For older kid's parties, which are more about the kids than the parents, focus on planning games and activities that they will enjoy. Kids won't remember decorative details, they want to play!