Christmas is approaching and, if you're organising a party for family or friends, whether a large or a small gathering, you might have worries about being able to host it while still aligning with your environmentally friendly values. If you feel overwhelmed or confused about how you can create an eco-friendly party, we have put together some helpful Christmas party ideas in this blog.
Sustainable Christmas Party Food
We all have been receiving a loud and clear message that too much meat is not only bad for our health, but its production is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and the pollution of our waterways. Eating a plant-based diet, with lots of plant proteins, like beans, fruits and vegetables, is better for our health and better for the planet.
This can be more difficult around the holidays because, generally, our traditions are centred around a meat centrepiece - for instance, turkey with lots of trimmings.
However, it's much easier now to have a delicious plant-based dish as the highlight of our Christmas party food. Supermarkets are well stocked with fake meat or nut roasts and all the other things you crave, like sausage rolls or mince pies, are readily available in vegan form. Unfortunately, these items are often heavily wrapped in plastic.
Help is at hand from organic veg box brands, like Abel and Cole, who offer amazing dishes like a Winter Vegetable Wellington with Cranberries. Created by Lodge Farm Kitchen, it's made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and is 100% organic. It's packaged in mostly recyclable and compostable materials too.
The most eco-friendly and sustainable way to buy is to shop locally when it comes to the traditional Christmas veg surrounding your mouth-watering centrepiece. Go to your local market, farmers market or greengrocers, take your reusable grocery bags with you and support local businesses and growers. This cuts down emissions from food transport and injects money into your local economy.
If you don't have access to any local grocers or markers, you could order from an organic veg box scheme, this zero waste box from Riverford has no plastic, no punnets, not even an elastic band, just loose, seasonal organic veg.
We also can’t talk about Christmas food without mentioning food waste - we wrote a blog about how harmful food waste is for the environment. Wasted food creates around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions - nearly 4 times more than all the world's airlines put together. Planning your party, or meal, well in advance, buying only what you need, will not only save you money but will help the environment too. If you're worried about not having enough food and tend to overbuy to feel safe, getting some recipes or ideas for how to use leftovers is helpful so you know you'll use all the food you buy.
The production of alcohol is actually pretty taxing on the planet, as the process uses lots of heat, energy and water. Another environmental downside is the packaging that's often used, for example, the well-documented dangers of plastic rings on cans of beer. To add to this, a lot of alcoholic beverages are not vegan, with producers using animal products either in the drink itself or in the processing and filtering.
If you're concerned whether the alcohol you drink is vegan, a fantastic resource is Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory, a free service that lists over 54500 entries.
If you're extra concerned that your alcohol is ethical, sustainable or plastic-free, try checking out Freedm Street. The products they sell are all cruelty-free and vegan and are shipped in eco-friendly packaging, and you can see on the website if they are palm oil free or organic.
We are aware of the plethora of plastic that our favourite snacks come in, whether that's sweets, chocolates, nuts or crisps. Everyone loves nibbles at a Christmas party, so how can you have one without overfilling your black bin with packaging destined for landfill?
If you have a bulk order zero waste shop nearby, you can buy unpackaged nuts, seeds, dried fruit and, often, chocolate-covered treats. You can also buy corn to pop and flavour yourself.
There are lots of delicious nibbles you can make yourself at home, too, like vegetable crisps, tortilla crisps, roasted chickpeas or fava beans, biscuits, cupcakes or muffins, even little flapjack squares. Don't forget that a plate of crudités (colourful vegetables cut into sticks) with some dips make an attractive display on your party food table, as can a dish of cut fruit.
A lot of towns and cities are finding old fashioned sweet shops opening up again. They are a great way of buying loose sweets with no packaging. Or you can order online from a company like Nearys, which sells zero-waste sweets that come in a plastic-looking package from renewable wood pulp, so it is biodegradable. They have sweets for all dietary requirements too.
Eco friendly Christmas Decorations
If you're hosting a big party or are worried about your space looking 'Christmassy without the use of lots of plastic, mother nature has the answer.
We talked about real Christmas trees vs fake ones in our blog, but there is another option too - renting a Christmas tree. This is a great idea if you're hiring a big space for a party or only want the tree for a few days. Many Christmas tree farms offer this option where you collect the tree from them or have it delivered, decorate and enjoy it; then, it can be returned and replanted. A truly green option, there is no waste being generated.
To make your room beautiful and fragrant, you can decorate your surfaces with holly, ivy, pine or mistletoe. All provided by nature and will biodegrade into compost for the garden. Creating a centrepiece for your table can be as simple as a vase full of colourful holly branches and berries or a homemade wreath of foliage and greenery you have picked up on a walk. No plastic necessary.
We can help our carbon footprint by thinking about the way we travel. If you are hosting a party, encourage your participants to lift share or come on public transport (great for those who want to try all that eco-friendly alcohol!).
We can all make a difference to climate change this Christmas by making small changes, like walking or cycling to parties or sharing taxis.
Wild & Stone’s mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our wide range today.