We turned once again to our Green Entertaining Expert, Nicole Aloni, this time for tips on how to green our holiday parties a bit. And boy did she deliver; from how to invite to what to imbibe, Nicole shares how to make a softer impact on the environment this season.
Go Paperless – This applies to both invites and table. Use an online invite service like evite or pingg to plan your gathering and save a few trees in the process. Other bonuses are the running tally of the guest list and the ability to send reminders as the date approaches. For the table, Nicole suggests opting “for real plates, flatware and glasses” (either yours or rented . . . which can be more cost-effective than you may think) instead of paper or plastic. Otherwise, “look for biodegradable and renewable sources like sugarcane or bamboo.
Go Natural – Nicole recommends decorating with “live plants, bowls of fruit or nuts, or organic, local flowers instead of exotic or imported cut ones.” Branches, too, make dramatic arrangements this time of year, especially when festooned with colorful berries. So put on your decorator glasses and take a tour of the yard or your local nursery before picking up a bouquet at the supermarket; it’s easy to overlook how much a dozen roses imported from Colombia can add to your carbon footprint.
Plan Less Meat – Nicole suggests planning “at least a third of your dishes to be vegetables or whole grains,” she counsels. “Or opt for fish instead.” (See our Feast of the Seven Fishes article for ideas, or browse our Seven Super Sustainable Seafood Picks) But don’t think no meat needs to mean ho-hum. Think Sweet Potato-Kale Bread Pudding and Curried Mussels. Think Edamame Spread and Mushroom, White Bean and Sage Soup.
Smart Pours – “Look for organic and bio-dynamic wines,” says Nicole. “They have improved remarkably in the last several years, both in quality and availability.” Benziger, Parducci, Tandem and Ceago are all good bets. And for the water glass, opt for filtered tap water in lieu of bottled. Slice a variety of citrus to float in the pitchers for a festive flavor and look.