Ok. When Liam turned 1, we threw a party at our house to celebrate. I was really, really excited about it since I felt that there was minimal waste and I had succeeded in utilizing all the local food sources. This time, I realized that while I wanted to have the same environmentally friendly celebration, there were older siblings to entertain and the yard still is not yet fenced in. We booked our party the local children’s museum and then all I had to to was figure out how to make this party happen without a lot of waste.
Paper Product Usage:
Of course, I still have my cups and plates from Liam’s first birthday and they have gotten a lot of use. While I realize they are plastic, I don’t care. Nope. Parties with children mean at some point, something will get dropped and in our case, the plates and cups just bounce. And also, at the end of the party, we literally tossed them in the tote, snapped the lid on and brought them home. We were late setting up the food stuffs at the party so I couldn’t find my biodegradable forks (found them when we got home, though) and the huge box of plastic silverware came out. Also used, paper napkins. However, I’d like to mention that they came from a package purchased for a baby shower over a year ago and have been used for several parties since then. In light of this, I think I will have to start scoping out the fabric sales in search of fabric that will work with the party stuff and just make a huge stash of napkins to go along to parties.
Once again, I stuck to the locally grown or produced foods. I made my first deli tray this weekend. It was nice and I learned that for every 30 people, they recommend 4.5 pounds of meat and 3 pounds of cheese. People at local delis are so nice. Meat and cheese produced an hour from our home. I made Remoulade sauce, brought a jar of my pickles, and some homemade jams. I had thought that the kids would like peanut butter and jelly, but not a soul wanted any. Also, fun idea for fruit: smaller bananas, clementines and grapes. Bonus: leftover fruit is perfect for afternoon snacks and Matt’s lunches!
Decorations and Gifts:
Sylvi didn’t get a giant banner because as a second-time mother I realized that it was impractical. Instead, I made her a picture that used the same fabric I used for her invitations and bib. It worked great for portability and I will be making another one for Liam. I also made little toppers for the cupcakes, but that was probably my most wasteful decision yet. Seriously. They were cute and all, but I threw every single one away. I saved all the tissue paper and cardboard in the recycling bin. Most of the gifts people brought were books, but one friend brought a plant (she was informed she rocked for knowing me so well) and another brought a handmade outfit. Matt and I bought her a shopping cart and some felt veggies from Etsy; I was really into a food theme this year as her Easter basket had books about gardening and food too. It was a great way to celebrate her first birthday!
In retrospect, I see a need for cloth napkins to permanently take residence in my party tote. Even though I did my best, there was still a lot of plastic useage, but considering that there were lots of kids and I had to haul everything from my home to the museum and then all the way to the back and up a flight of stairs (thanks to those to helped me with muscle!) I think that I’m doing the best I can for now. Maybe in the future, I’ll add glass plates and phase out the plastic, but for now, this was as low impact as I can get!
How do you celebrate birthdays in your family?