by Ann Douglas
Your child's birthday party doesn't mean you have to pass out gifts galore, loot bags filed to the top with plastic goodies, or use enough wrapping paper and packaging to fill your family's recycling bins and trash cans until you have a heap of garbage.
There are all kinds of things you can do to smart-size and green-up your child's birthday bash. Green living is becoming more popular. Why not get in on the trend?
Turn Your Birthday Bash Green
There are companies you can use that will plan the event for you. These eco-friendly birthday planning companies can take care of everything from the birthday party invites (electronically sent) to suggesting gifts. One company likes to create a single gift for the party guest plus a donation to the charity of the birthday boy or girl's choice. A tax receipt for the party hosts is included.
Of course, you can apply a lot of the same wisdom á la carte -- and throw your own creative solutions into the mix. There is no shortage of good ideas when you innovate and use your imagination!
Green Party Loot
We see a lot of plastic used at party stores. Loot bags don't have to be. You could reuse grocery bags with a couple of earth-friendly items tossed in (ideally items with tremendous kid-appeal, of course). Or, if you're hosting a do-it-yourself workshop birthday party, the completed project could substituting for the loot bag and its contents. Old-fashioned lunch bags work great! Kids love to decorate them, too!
Birthday party activities will usually determine how much waste is generated. A birthday party that is hosted by the local fast-food restaurant is going to be much less earth-friendly than a field-trip birthday party that finishes off back at your place for food and cake on reusable dishes. You could argue that the gas used to get there isn't "green" enough but just wait!
If car pooling makes sense for getting the kids to school or extra-curricular activities, why not car pool at birthday party time, too? Encourage parents to share rides as part of the party planning process. Car pooling works great for the "field trips" we just mentioned. On that note, field trips don't have to be far away. Depending on where you live, discovery and wonder could be around the corner!
We'd like to hear your ideas on how to give your birthday party that green makeover. What are some of your ideas?
Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.
Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.