Green Decorating for Holiday Dinners
Here's how to celebrate the upcoming holidays with an eye towards conserving resources.
Submitted by Iris Houlihan
Easter and Passover are fast approaching and that often means entertaining family and friends. Make the holidays, or any gathering, an occasion to remember with unique table décor and of course your favorite recipes.
Fortunately you can still prepare meals on a large scale and create a festive setting while going green.
Try incorporating a few of these ideas for a stunning, eco-friendly affair:
- Buy local ingredients. Visit a farmers’ market, like Melick's Town Farm or Linda's Farm Stand, for organic produce and even local wines. Foods in season, grown within 100 miles of your home are always best. Instead of racking up bottles, make batches of beverages, such as lemonade and iced tea. For beer, a nearby brewery will typically offer kegs.
- Forgo plastic dinnerware. Instead, make friends with your local thrift stores. You can find silverware, plates, glasses, and serving dishes on the cheap. Mix and match vintage finds for an eclectic table. To ensure that guests know which glass is theirs throughout the party, try marking them with ribbons in different colors or even wine glass charms. Don’t be afraid to get a little quirky when it comes to drink ware. Mason jars and jelly jars can add a rustic touch.
- BPA-free, re-usable cups and plates made from recyclable materials are a smart option for younger guests.
- For a formal soiree, rent or borrow tableware. Since you can return it when you’re finished, you will cut down on clutter and excess.
- If you can’t part with the idea of disposable plates and serving dishes, purchase compostable items made from sustainable materials. There are even utensils made from bamboo. Unbleached, biodegradable products can also ensure that trash won’t sit in a landfill.
- Cloth napkins are a must. Again, a thrift store or yard sale can be a treasure trove of funky prints and affordable options. The same goes for tablecloths. Throw on a family favorite, buy a second-hand one that is in good condition, or consider fair trade, eco-friendly fabric.
- Create your own napkin rings by cutting a cardboard tube, such as those found in your empty box of tinfoil, into even sections. Cover the cardboard with fabric and hide the inside seams by gluing on a piece of ribbon. Cute and reusable!
- Placemats come in a range of eco-friendly materials. Try bamboo or organic cotton.
- Old wine bottles and jars are perfect for housing branches and seasonal flowers to serve as centerpieces. For party favors, add a succulent in a found container to each place setting. Attach nametags to a string or use a Sharpie to write directly on the pot for an instant place card. Whatever guests don’t take home, you can plant in your own garden or use as home décor.
- Keep bins labeled recyclable, compostable, and washable near a buffet or hors d’oeuvre table.
- When setting up a buffet table, label each dish and bite so that those with dietary restrictions can easily find something to eat. This will also cut down on food waste.
- Make sure you send guests home with leftovers so that nothing ends up in the garbage. Ask everyone to bring their own Tupperware container or allow them to borrow your green containers. Everyone loves leftovers!
Iris Houlihan is a Hillsborough-based interior designer. Her work was named "Best Of Houzz" for 2012 in the social media website's annual survey of readers.