As a parent, you’ve likely been to at least one over-the-top birthday party. You know the big bash with the entire ensemble of Winnie the Pooh characters posing for photos, pony rides, six inflatable castles, and a cake commissioned by Colin Cowie?
Maybe that’s extreme, but you’re probably nodding along. It feels like someone has something to prove… and it’s not the birthday child. What do these super-consumer parties set the child up for in the future? A lifetime of “bigger is better,” which isn’t the ideal mindset for living within our means or taking care of our rapidly depleting resources.Elaborate decorations, cardboard, paper, plastic, and heavy-duty tie wraps can fill a garbage bag or two when the party is over. And that’s just wrapping paper and packaging! You may not realize that with all the laminates, dyes, and glitter, most wrapping paper is not recyclable. Then there are all the toys and favors. What’s the long-term impact of batteries and all the indestructible molded plastic? So many of those toys will never, ever break down in a landfill. And many of them were made in China or are loaded with plastic toxins.
Why plan an Eco-Savvy Party?
A birthday is a celebration of life. When we look to nature, life is simple, beautiful, and everything is renewable. A meaningful celebration can be the same, and even young children will understand and appreciate it. It all comes down to keeping it simple.
These tips might turn the conventional birthday party upside down, but they can set you free along the way:
• Celebrate Outside – Studies show that children who spend time in nature are happier, calmer, and well adjusted as adults. Some fun party venues might be touring a butterfly conservancy, organic farm, local or state park, or botanical garden.
• Flip the Switch from Disposable to Reusable – Reusable plastic plates are the savviest, simplest way to reduce the impact of your party. Stock up on extra plates, cups and even silverware from your favorite store, local flea market, or Goodwill. Even if you host the party at a park or other outdoor venue, you can still bring your own tableware and an extra bag to carry them home.
• Spare a Tree, Save a Dime – Aren’t we all tired of spending $4 on something that gets torn and tossed? Wrapping paper is just plain wasteful. If you have paper gift bags left over, by all means use them. But rather than buy new paper, try wrapping with your child’s artwork, old travel maps, the comics, or any box, bucket or basket you have on hand. Another unique, reusable alternative is a fabric gift bag.
• Safer Toys – Start with the obvious toy culprits – batteries and plastic. Save other moms the headache of another musical, light-up toy. Studies show babies and children don’t learn to use their imagination if a toy does all the work and entertaining for them.
• Green (or Ditch) the Goodie Bags – Do kids really need another sheet of tattoos and a tiny plastic jug of bubbles? Experience parties (pottery making, touring the local fire station, etc.) leave a memory that doesn’t get lost in the
bottom of the toy box.
Author bio: Amity Hook-Sopko created Green Gifts Guide with her passion to share how gift giving can be responsible, sustainable and fun! She loves helping busy moms find simple solutions for eco-friendly gift giving.
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Andrea is a Mom who hasn't lost her style to motherhood. Andrea loves social media and works on a variety of social media campaigns with brands big and small. Connect with Savvy Sassy Moms on Instagram