Give your guests an extra reason to celebrate by throwing a shindig that's as eco-friendly as it is fun.
1. Bring the Outside In
Instead of heading to the mall for commercially-made seasonal decorations, raid your yard for goodies like fir tree boughs and holly to create a centerpiece or some garlands to dress up the joint. If you don't have anything in your yard, wait for dark, grab some shears, and sneak over to the neighbors' place. Just kidding. Seriously, though, use what's around you. If you're in the desert, throw reusable ribbons around some cool potted succulents. If you're by the beach, scatter an array of gorgeous seashells across the tablecloth. Celebrate whatever the natural resources of your area are by inviting them to your fete as decorative guests of honor.
2. Papa Don't Preach
Sure, it's great to share your green knowledge and eco-passion with your friends and comrades, but definitely put your recycled soapbox away for the night. There's a time and a place for everything, and a light-hearted holiday party might be a better time to exchange recipes for locally-sourced meals than to shake a judgmental fist at some of your less eco-conscious pals. Limit your green evangelism to friendly tips, as opposed to hellfire-and-brimstone-and-doom speeches. Keep it positive, and lead by example.
3.Wear it with Pride
It might be more important to look marvelous than to feel marvelous, but luckily, you don't have to choose. When you're out hunting for that new holiday frock, think green, and select a smashing ensemble that's as good a fit for the planet as it is for your figure. Find a green fashion designer who works with eco-friendly fabrics, or try going vintage. Better still, go shopping in your own closet, and pull out something you haven't worn in a while. Adding some unique accessories and a different look for your hair and makeup will make that old frock seem like a whole new garment.
4. Mood Lighting
Lowering the lights will give your party a cozy atmosphere, and lighting a few sustainable candles will provide a generally attractive glow that's totally pleasant, and flattering to your guests.
5. Booze in Moderation
There's nothing wrong with a bottle of organic beer, but staying relatively sober is smart for lots of reasons, many of them sustainability-related. Loading your system up with lots of alcohol means extra trips to the bathroom, which means extra toilet flushes, which means extra water going...well...going down the toilet. Put that together with the amount of resources used to make all the bottles or cans you'll be emptying, and you'll see why it's greener to take a moderate tipple than to get blindingly drunk, above and beyond the fact that you'll have more fun if you aren't stumbling around like a buffoon.
6. Build your Green Network
Use your party as a way to reach out to a few people you've met who are, like you, committed to positive, lasting global change. Invite some newbies who share your values into your social circle, and get to know them so that you can exchange eco-smart tips and tricks. The greenies who play together are the greenies who stay together, and joining forces is one of the best ways to make a difference.
7. Keep it Chill
Turn down your thermostat, and you'll encourage a lively shindig while saving energy. The body heat of the assembled revelers will raise the room temperature a few degrees, even if they're just standing around in a throng, and if you keep things a little on the chilly side, you'll encourage people to move, mingle, dance, and maybe even warm each other up by getting a little handsy.
8. Make Recycling Easy
Keep recycling containers in plain, clear sight so your guests can responsibly dispose of their bottles and cans throughout the night. Try placing small bins in different rooms of the house, so that choosing to recycle is always within arm's reach.
9. Serve Slow, Serve Local
Whether it's finger food on a platter or a serious sit-down banquet holiday dinner party, feeding the masses with sustainably grown snacks is definitely an eco-smart move. Plus, whipping up something made from fresh, local, in-season veggies is almost guaranteed to have delicious results, so you'll be adding to your hostess cred while saving the planet.
10. Designate Drivers
Encouraging guests to carpool is safe, considerate, and carbon-smart. Fewer cars on the road going to and from your gathering means less pollution, less emissions, and less of a chance that someone will end up tipsy behind the wheel. Help your guests protect themselves, and shrink their carbon footprints by sending out an email or making a few phone calls a day or two before the party to suggest arranging carpools. If several attendees are coming from a particular neighborhood, suggest that they share a ride, and make sure they know how to contact each other to set it all up.
Have champagne taste but organic beer money? Live vicariously and check out the most luxurious eco-digs on Planet Green TV's World's Greenest Homes.