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green holiday entertaining tips

Green holiday entertaining doesn't mean you have to forgo the seasonal fun.

You can still decorate and entertain in festive style - and you can do it with a clear conscience, knowing that you are not contributing to the tons of landfill waste the holiday season generates each year.

It might even be more fun knowing that you are lessening your carbon footprint while merrymaking this holiday season.

These green holiday entertaining ideas can help get the party started.

Go Au Natural with Your Green Holiday Entertaining Decor

Forget the plastic Santas and other gaudy trim.

Go natural this year with your holiday home decorations, and you'll be helping the environment along with extending your holiday budget.

A few ideas to get started: 

  • String popcorn and cranberries to trim the tree. This is going back to holiday basics at its best.
  • Make paper chains instead of hanging tinsel, which must be removed before your tree can be recycled. (Plus, it can be lethal if consumed by pets.)
  • Decorate naturally, with dried flowers, pine cones, felt, leaves, photographs, last year's ribbons, yarn, drawings, shells, sand dollars and, edibles such as candy canes.
  • If you do buy ornaments, choose those made of recycled metal, glass or paper.
  • Trim your home with nature, create decorations and centerpieces of pinecones, dried flowers and, other natural materials.
  • Choose smaller bulbs with lower wattage. They are cheaper, consume less electricity, and are safer because they give off less heat.

Think Green For Your Party Supplies

When shopping for holiday merrymaking of the festive kind, buy in bulk and take your own canvas bags or reuse shopping bags from Christmas Past.

Select items with the least packaging and buy only what you'll use this year.

Make sure your entertaining efforts use the least amount possible of items that end up in our landfills. Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • E-mail Party invitations. Use e-mail for your party invites instead of printed invitations.
  • Decorate with plants. Deck the halls with holiday plants (keep them healthy with this Christmas plant care guide) instead of traditional store-bought ornaments.
  • Use washable plates and utensils. Don't opt for the more convenient, but more waste-generating disposable plates and utensils for your party.
  • Rent or borrow punch bowls or large platters. Consider renting or borrowing items such as punch bowls or large platters. Or share the expense of these dishes with a neighbor.
  • Recycle. Set up a highly visible area with containers for recycling bottles, cans and, paper.
  • The party's over... Once the party is over, compost the edible leftovers and give your yard a holiday treat. In addition to improving the soil structure, texture and aeration, compost also increases the soil's water-holding capacity. 
  • Good compost ingredients include fruit and vegetable trimmings, flowers and coffee grounds. No-nos include meat, fish, poultry and dairy products, which might attract wildlife. 

Call your local recycling company to find out which materials are accepted for recycling in your community. Not all facilities recycle all materials, even those marked "recyclable".  

For example, gift wrap, cards, and cardboard boxes with special finishes cannot be recycled because they release potentially dangerous fumes when burned.

If you send greeting cards, choose recyclable ones or postcards. Or buy cards from local organizations that benefit good causes. Save the cards you receive to cut up and reuse them next year as gift tags. They're also a good resource for kiddie art projects. 

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› Green Holiday Entertaining Tips