Happy Eco-Birthday!: Parties that Celebrate Life and the Planet
The most memorable birthday parties make us feel good, and going green makes them feel even better.
Location matters. Consider a park or beach as a setting to promote exercise and time outdoors. Children’s museums and wildlife centers frequently host kids’ birthday parties. Other “experience parties”, as suggested at Tinyurl.com/GreenChildPartyTips, include pottery making, tie-dyeing organic T-shirts or touring a local fire station.
Forgo traditional trappings. Rather than using paper materials, consider decorating an old sheet as a festive tablecloth, utilize recycled computer or other repurposed paper to print custom placemats, and personalize cloth napkins found at estate sales or made from old clothes with guest names written with fabric pens for a unique and reusable party favor. Find details on these and other tips at Tinyurl.com/PBS-Green-Party-Ideas.
Sustainable gifts. PlanToys makes its toys from rubberwood, a sustainable byproduct of latex harvesting, and non-formaldehyde glues. For preteens, gift a subscription to the National Wildlife Federation’s Ranger Rick magazine or a birdhouse or bird feeder.
Make a maestro. Presenting a gift card for introductory music lessons can launch a young musician. A recent study by the National Association for Music Education notes that early exposure to music develops language, reading, math and memorization skills; improves hand-eye coordination; builds confidence and a sense of achievement; and promotes social interaction and teamwork when performing with others. Or, give tickets to introduce a child to classical, pops or jazz concert-going.
Healthy drinks and eats. Serve or bring organic, locally made beer and wine and pure fruit juices. Have the party catered by a health food restaurant or store, or order organic takeout.
Do-good gifts. Antique and consignment shops are filled with items rich in culture and history. Museums, art centers and specialty gift shops offer fair trade creations handmade by overseas workers that all purchases assist.
Family ties. Work beforehand with a partner or family member of the birthday celebrant to showcase family photos at the party and spark sharing of nostalgic stories among guests.