Even though the holidays are imminent, I am still making efforts to reduce waste in our home and rethink how I entertain. The past year has actually been about building that awareness in our home, so this will be the first true test of those goals during the holidays. As I plan our holiday dinner parties, I have been brainstorming ways to reduce the environmental impact of playing hostess. I hope these tips help you to be more aware while hosting — all without impacting the aesthetic and atmosphere of your party.
How to Host a Low Waste Holiday Party That Still Feels Luxe & Inviting
For any successful party or event, planning and organization are key! I typically meal prep on a weekly basis, but for a dinner party I go even further. I will literally make a spreadsheet of each dish I want to make with all the ingredients listed out. This helps me to see the crossover of ingredients that I could potentially buy in bulk. Or I can make adjustments to the overall menu when I see that a dish requires a specialty item that can’t be shared with anything else.
From there, make a grocery list accordingly. I organize my shopping list to match the flow of the grocery store because it helps me from buying too much food or things I don’t need. The idea behind this is to reduce the amount of food waste!
Also, brainstorm creative ways to use any leftovers. Consider freezing things so that you don’t risk throwing anything out. Another tip: search on Pinterest for recipes that utilize leftover turkey, baked veggies, and stale bread! And lastly, you could always send guests home with leftovers if you’re worried that you won’t be able to finish them all.
Be intentional about your holiday decor
I know how fun it can be to add to my collection of holiday decor, but this year I am going to challenge myself to not buy anything. We have so many ornaments, garlands, stockings, and strings of lights… I literally do not need more! Instead, I am going to take care to really think about each piece and remember what makes it special to me.
If you really want to add something new to your decor, make your own with compostable and/or biodegradable materials, like our himmeli ornament DIY and himmeli cinnamon stick and dried orange garland DIY!
Serve batch cocktails or beer in growlers
Instead of buying individual bottles of wine and beer, you could serve a batch cocktail or stock up on growlers of locally brewed beer. This will help reduce the overall amount of garbage your dinner guests generate. Plus, it’s a really fun addition to the overall vibe of a party.
Think of alternatives ways to give gifts
More and more it feels like traditional gift giving is becoming an option instead of a requirement. Personally, I love treating a loved one to an experience instead of a physical thing. That can mean planning a trip together, going out for a nice dinner, or tickets to a show. I love this idea especially because it creates a memory with the recipient that you’ll look back on fondly.
Another way to rethink gift giving is to challenge your family to shop secondhand. You’d be amazed at the deals and variety of things you can find at a local thrift store — somethings even still have tags on then. Sites like eBay, Poshmark, and The RealReal are a great way to find speciality ideas that are secondhand and at a reduced price.
Here’s another crazy idea: decide to forgo holiday gifts altogether! After the expense of our kitchen, our wedding, and my recent hospitalization, Sean and I are doing just that this year. Instead, we’re choosing to spend time together and plan more adventures.
Encourage guests to recycle & compost
Leave out bins that are clearly labeled so guests know where to put their trash. A lot of the time I find that guests aren’t sure which bin is for recycling and what needs to be composted. This rings especially true if you have out of town guests who come from places where composting and recycling requirements vary. Putting out receptacles with subtle, but clear signage helps to alleviate this! Plus, it makes clean up so much easier for you when the dinner party is over.
Skip the disposables
I know it’s tempting to entertain with paper plates and plastic cups so that clean up is easier, but that is just additional waste that is unnecessary. Even though we live in a small house and only two people live here, we keep service for 8 on hand. This means we are able to offer up to 8 guests real plates while hosting a party. Yes, we will have to wash them at the end of the night (or next day, who am I kidding!), but it means we’re not throwing away plates, utensils, and cups. Plus, we also save on the expense of buying disposable items in the first place!
Looking for more posts about sustainability? Check out these:
- How to Go Green at the Grocery Store
- 6 Documentaries About Sustainability to Inspire Your Zero Waste Journey
- How to Store Produce Without Plastic
- How to Live a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
- How To Make Reusable Beeswax Wraps for Food
What other tips would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let me know!