Posted on November 21, 2011 - by

Bring Your Own Plate and Other Green Party Ideas

Though your neighborhood may be blanketed with white snow, the holiday season is actually one of the best opportunities you have to go green. After all, your holiday gala can serve as a role model for green, resource-efficient practices. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to guide your planning:

  1. Buy local and seasonal. Skip those rock-hard supermarket tomatoes and venture to your local farmers market or natural foods grocery instead for locally farmed, seasonal foods. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the late harvest abundance of squashes, root vegetables, cooking greens and apples. See for a market near you.
  2. Skip (some of) the meat. Raising conventional livestock requires large amounts of fuel, pesticides and fertilizers, making the process a major contributor to greenhouse gases. You don’t have to make your holiday meal vegetarian, but it is worth considering whether you can move from meatcentric dishes to ones that feature smaller amounts of meat as a seasoning. Think sausage crumbles, not steaks. If you do buy meat, purchase from reputable farmers for flavorful meats that are free of antibiotics, growth hormones and E.coli.
  3. Drink local. Consider getting wine from a local, organic winery, with less pesticide intensive viticulture methods. Or, support our nation’s growing craft brewing industry by picking up beer from a local brewery.
  4. Dust off the china and glasses. One of the biggest generators of waste at holiday parties is the use of disposable cups and silverware. Though it’s definitely easier to throw everything away, you’ll find that with a couple volunteers to help you wash dishes or load the dishwasher, everything will be rinsed and dried in no time flat. If you don’t want to buy additional dishes, consider asking each guest to BYOP, or bring your own plate, along with a glass and fork. That way, you will have plenty of dishes to go around, and the dirty ones will go home with their owners!
  5. Organize the leftovers. Once the meal is finished, don’t let it sit idle. Encourage guests to dispose of their scraps in a compost collection. Leftover should be packed or frozen and used for future meals. If there is too much for you to handle, the food should be redistributed for guests to take home. Ask people to bring a container with them, so that they can tote a piece of the dinner home at the end of the night.
  6. Give gifts that grow and inspire. Consider spreading the magic of real food culture through a hands-on cheesemaking kit or a homebrewing kit. Or share your favorite cookbook of culinary fundamentals. A seasonal produce calendar can be a fun reminder of what to anticipate next year at the farmers markets. Seed packets are a cheap and creative way to help develop a green thumb. You can also give postcards or greeting cards that have seeds embedded inside the paper, and can be planted after being read.
  7. Use wrapping “paper” that lasts. Skip the wrapping paper for a practical and stylish alternative. Try using reusable tote bags or light scarves. Reuse old maps, the comic pages from newspapers, and sheet music. If you do have a heap of discarded wrapping paper at the end of the night, be sure to recycle it, along with any other cans and bottles.

Have additional ideas for sustainable dinner parties? Leave a comment below!



We'd love to hear yours!

  1. Visit My Website

    November 23, 2011


    Kristall Ankhara said:

    Want to Be GREEN and support your community?! Then DO this this Holiday session!!!
    (not just for Canadians)

    Winter Holiday session 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition

    As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
    gear to provide Canadians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced
    goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Canadian
    labor. This year will be different. This year Canadians will give the gift
    of genuine concern for other Canadians. There is no longer an excuse that,
    at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by Canadians
    hands. Yes there is!

    It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit
    in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
    Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
    from your local Canadian hair salon or barber?

    Gym membership or monthly Yoga pass? Appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health and wellness improvement.

    Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, Canadian owned
    detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
    book of gift certificates.

    Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
    the Loonies on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
    receiver would like their driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
    driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

    How about you sign a loved one up for a cooking classes, dance lessons, potter, yoga, singing or a sport at their local community center? This is something you could do together? And is not only supporting the local instructors but is also a fun way to meet some of the people in their community.

    There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift
    certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what
    about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember,
    folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting
    your home town Canadian with their financial lives on the line to keep
    their doors open.

    How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or
    motorcycle, done at a shop run by the Canadian working guy?

    Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
    local cleaning lady for a day or a massage and facial from locally owned spa.

    My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who
    is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

    OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
    their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
    and beautiful wooden boxes.

    Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
    your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet
    at your hometown theater.

    Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

    Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
    lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about
    fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
    burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

    You see, this Holiday is no longer about draining Canadian pockets so that
    China can build another glittering city. They are now about caring
    for us, encouraging Canadian small businesses to keep plugging away to
    follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Canadians, we care
    about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we
    couldn’t imagine. THIS is the new Canadian Winter Holiday tradition.

    Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion
    groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
    your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
    and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
    and isn’t that what his time of year is about?

    BUY CANADIAN – BE CANADIAN – The job you save might be your own!

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    December 10, 2011


    Franzi Hudora said:

    Hi, thats a great Idea. I live in Augsburg, Germany. We have many local farmers and breweries. But most people go to the big supermarkets and choose the big brands. Eco local is a great party theme for spring. Will try to remember that.