Have you been appointed to host the family's Christmas dinner? Did your friends reach a consensus that the New Year's party will be at your place?
Hosting a party is fun. However, it can be a herculean task especially when you consider the season's impact on the environment.
Sustainability is a major issue especially during the holiday season. But did you know that your kitchen is a treasure trove that contains all you need to host a sustainable party?
So go ahead and accept the hosting task! We have here six smart sustainable party ideas to help you out.
Create a menu that celebrates imperfect produce
According to the Ugly Produce Is Beautiful℠ Educational Campaign, 40% of the food produced in the United States never gets eaten.
"Ugly produce" are the fruits and vegetables that did not meet the USDA's standards because they look "wonky". These fruits and vegetables, however, are just as healthy and safe as "normal-looking" produce.
When you plan your menu for the party, make sure that you make room for dishes where you can use "ugly produce". This way, you will be able to do your bit in diminishing food waste. You can easily source these fruits and vegetables from local farmers market. Signing up on websites like ImperfectProduce.com will ensure that you get your weekly supply of fresh ugly produce right on your doorstep. As these services are fairly new, it will be good for you to check if your choice of supplier delivers in your location.
Make your own refreshments
The beverage industry faces a massive sustainability issue due to packaging and transport. Instead of buying your usual soft drinks, ready-made juices and other refreshments, go homemade.
Even when you will have wine or beer, skipping soft drinks and their packaging is a great move.
When planning your menu, include what refreshments you will serve to the party. This is another avenue for you to use locally-sourced produce.
Find decor-worthy items in your kitchen
While decorating is a party must, it generates a lot of waste this season. Your best bet is to reuse decor from previous years. But if this is not an option, you can go to your kitchen and find food items that you can use to beautify your home instead.
Dried citrus fruits can replace your plastic Christmas tree decor. DIY paraffin-free candles can be made using neutral cooking oil and salt. Twigs and dried herbs can be a substitute for your store-bought wreath.
Think green when giving gifts
Even when you missed out on saving the gift wrappers, holiday ribbons and greeting cards from last year, you can still make Mother Nature proud.
Instead of gift wrappers, you can wrap gifts in reusable cotton bags and eco-friendly textile. Cotton bags can be later used as shopping bags. Eco-friendly textile can be table napkins or kitchen towels. Your garden twine can replace the holiday ribbon. Greeting cards can be made from cereal boxes, too.
One more tip for gift giving: do the Secret Santa instead of having everyone give gifts to everyone else. This way, each person in the group will only buy one gift for one person.
This saves a lot of money and gift-giving resources. This will also give everyone the chance to think about that special gift their recipient will actually use.
Choose nature-friendly cleaning products
Your kitchen will be a mess during the holiday season especially when you will be hosting parties. This means you will be using a lot of cleaning products for the dishes, cookware and linens.
Decrease your environmental impact by using eco-friendly brands. You can also use natural & environment-friendly cleaning agents such as salt, lemon juice, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, liquid castille soap, and borax.
Go with an eco-friendly theme
An eco-friendly theme will encourage everyone to think up ways to be sustainable for the party. It will encourage recycling, upcycling and even re-gifting.
A sustainable theme means you and your guests are together in this effort. That makes it more fun and rewarding. So you can share tips and ideas with each other too.
Speaking of sharing tips and ideas, starting today up to Christmas Day, we will be featuring #CleverChristmas updates on our social media channels. Here we will share recipes, gift giving tips, home decor ideas using stuff you will find in your kitchen.
We will also feature submissions. So if you want to get featured, use the hashtag #CleverChristmas and tag us. We will repost our favorite content. Good luck and happy holidays!