A green birthday party? When my daughter Athena turned eight, she decided to ask her friends to bring donations to two charities: Wildlife Images in Grants Pass, Oregon, and Friends of Trees in Portland, Oregon. Instead of getting presents for herself, she wanted to help animals and plants.
In the spirit of having a green birthday party, she also asked her friends to walk and bike to the party, and to wrap gently used presents (if they decided to bring those instead of cash) in recycled gift wrap.
We asked that nothing be store bought. And we made goodie bags out of an old calendar and didn’t use any paper plates or disposable napkins.
The fashion among parents, even in our trying-to-be-forward-thinking town, is to have plastic goodie bags filled with plastic junk made in China, a store-bought cake wrapped in plastic, and everything disposable.
But there does seem to be a trend towards hosting a green birthday party, or, at least, throwing greener or more sustainable parties.
I wrote an article about throwing a green birthday party for the Back Page of the Ashland Daily Tidings:
When Paul Giancarlo suggested to his not-yet-6-year-old twins that they host a “green” birthday party, his son Gabriel burst into tears. His mom, Mary Shaffer, asked her son why he was crying and Gabriel said that he didn’t like that color and he didn’t want everything to be green.
But Giancarlo and Shaffer had something else in mind. They wanted birthday guests to bring gently used presents instead of going to a store to buy new things.
“Once we established what we meant and told the twins kids would bring them something that they had played with and thought was really cool, they got into it,” Giancarlo, who is 58 and lives in Ashland, said. “They received lots of nice gifts that had special meaning because they had been important to their friends. Some people made CDs of favorite stories or songs, and there were great books and toys.”
You can read the rest here.
The sidebar, called Green(er) Parties At A Glance, has even more advice about how to host a green birthday party.
9 excellent ideas for throwing a green birthday party for kids (or grown-ups)
- Ask guests to bring gently used or handmade gifts instead of store-bought items.
- Wrap presents in newspaper, old maps, calendar pages, or cloth.
- Instead of presents, ask guests to bring a donation to an Oregon charity, such as the Ashland Food Project, Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center or Friends of Trees.
- Skip the plastic bags: Make goodie bags out of old calendar pages or recyclable paper bags.
- Buy in bulk: Don’t serve store-bought treats with lots of packaging, instead get bulk items (including candy) or make your own.
- Offer special prizes to guests who walk or bike to the party instead of driving.
- Use regular plates and silverware instead of disposable items.
- Make a homemade, recycled piñata by dipping stripes of newspaper in a combination of equal parts flour and warm water and spreading these over an inflated balloon. Once dry cut a hole in the top and fill with gently used party favors and bulk treats. Decorate with soy-based inks and compost the piñata after it’s been broken.
- Wash, save and reuse birthday candles.
Published: November 16, 2009
Last update: February 2, 2020