Ring in the New Year by going green!

By Anne Brock of Flour Sack Mama

We move individually into the new year resolving to live better and go greener. Yet, it’s easy to fall back into wasteful habits when we approach special occasions on the calendar and slide into entertaining mode. How can we lighten up and still be everyone’s favorite host?

Just like substituting yogurt for another ingredient can lighten up a traditional dish, switching to a greener approach can lighten our ecological footprint. Here are a few simple tips for entertaining in shades of green.

Setting the Table

  • Opt for reusable rather than disposable dishware.
  • If you must use disposables, choose compostable or recyclable dishware.
  • Set the table with some vintage pieces.
  • Try cloth tablecloths and napkins.
  • Serve at least some local food.


  • Live plants are always a timeless part of décor for any special occasion.
  • Flowers and other greenery from your own backyard can help you decorate frugally.
  • Pick flowers and herbs from local farms or greenhouses when possible.
  • Shop thrift or consignment stores before retail, especially for seasonal décor.
  • Splurge on fair trade and eco-friendly specialty decorations.
  • Use ribbon, tulle and fabrics on hand that can be repurposed later.

Party Favors

  • Plants or seed packets are thoughtful and might come from your own garden.
  • Seek alternatives to plastic wrappings or plastic goody bags.
  • Vintage containers like thrift store wine glasses or mugs can hold anything.
  • Reusable shopping or tote bags can decorate the back of each guest’s chair.

Instead of More Stuff

  • Create a giving theme that involves donations to your favorite charity or cause.
  • Invite children to bring a gently used book or toy for an exchange party.
  • A grownups’ party could involve making homemade pampering products.
  • A simple craft can allow guests to create their own party favors.

After the Party

  • Compost peelings from party food prep.
  • Make recycling bins obvious for guests to use.
  • Share take-home leftovers so food doesn’t go to waste.
  • If you won’t be reusing dishes or décor, donate them to charity.