My youngest son is going to turn one next month and I find myself pondering the inevitable...do we have a birthday party for him? We have considered the obvious such as, he is too young to realize he is having a party and do we want to spend money on such an event and if so, how much? We have always done something significant to acknowledge the birthdays of our family members because we sincerely see them as a celebration of life. My son has been on our earth for one year and I truly feel blessed to have been chosen as his mother. Yes, this deserves a party!
So, back to square one...what kind of party? We have decided on something small with family and a few close friends. Here are a few ideas that we have come up with to keep this party eco-friendly:
1) Instead of using traditional "paper" invitations we have decided to save a few trees and e-mail our invitations using www.evite.com. This is a great website and they have a ton of invitation options to choose from. We even found a "green" them design.
2) Instead of awful latex balloons we have opted for colorful paper lanterns to decorate the area.
3) We have found paperware tableware that is biodegradable and forest friendly. We also found an intersting line of cornware for table settings as well. We found these items at www.greenpartygoods.com. These are great alternatives to your typical plasticware and much easier on our environment. We have also opted for cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins. I am making about 20-30 8x8 cloth napkins out of fabric remnants. These are also great to have at home and use for each meal instead of napkins or paper towels.
4) We are going to serve organic fruits, veggies and trail mix for snacks. We are making an organic chocolate spice cake with a glaze instead of frosting and fruit on top. This is a great alternative to a traditional sugar-loaded cake and healthier too. I'm sure parents will appreciate this! (Lara has this recipe and we will post it for everyone very soon).
5) We are setting up an art/craft table for kids to create a project. We are using eco-friendly paints and supplies that we found at Michaels crafts www.michaels.com. The kiddos get to take their project home with them and ta-da it's a party favor. No small plastic junk bags here! It's something that they have created and we are not sending them home with candy and useless toys. Hooray!
6) Ooh, gifts can also be an issue. In our particular situation we have decided to include on our invitation, "Please, no gifts." In all honesty, our son does not need anything. We want a simple celebration without unnecessary toys and wrapping paper. Oh the wrapping paper...need I go on? (Although I have seen people who have gotten incredibly creative and used newspaper or fabric to wrap gifts. Awesome idea!)
Another creative gift idea that I have seen for an older child is a family requesting their guests to bring a used toy that they have outgrown. The birthday child and their family donated the toys to an organization of their choice. I really enjoyed this idea of giving back. What a great opportunity to show your children the ability to do something selfless on their birthday and give to someone who may need it more than they do.
Yes, my youngest son is only turning one but as the mother of three children I see this as a great opportunity to teach all of my children the importance of being socially and economically conscious and how to have fun at the same time. We are going to have fun...alot of fun. And in this fun celebration process we are going to save a few trees, cut down on some waste and eat healthier. It really is a simple process, you just have to be a little creative and open-minded. Also, see what ideas you kids have. I am always amazed at how their creative minds work. If you have any other suggestions please share! I will post pictures and let you all know how it goes!