If you love hosting get-togethers, parties, and game nights at home, you’re not alone and if you want to entertain sustainably, that’s even better. A recent international survey indicates that a quarter of the world’s population entertain guests at home either on a daily or weekly basis, and those in their 20s or have young children are the ones who entertain the most. Even though the days of having glamorous dinner parties are long gone, the numbers show that people still like to host gatherings to spend some quality time with their family, friends, and colleagues.
Whatever your hosting style is, it’s important to keep the environment in mind, especially if you have frequent parties at home. Not only will you feel better about making eco-friendly choices, but you’ll also lessen your environmental impact while you’re having fun. Here are five ways to entertain sustainably at home.
How to Entertain Sustainably
Serve local and seasonal food
One of the easiest ways to have a sustainable party is to serve pairings of obtainable food and drinks, which are in season and local to your area. Though your favorite grocery may stock all kinds of produce, eating local foods is more eco-friendly as it takes a shorter distance to get the food from the farm to your plate. Moreover, serving seasonal fare is also a lot cheaper, and this means that you can get the best quality ingredients to make your party food without breaking the bank.
A good rule of thumb is to serve food that is plentiful during the current season, so for a fall dinner party, you can have pork chops with apples and pair it with a nice Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re having a party during the winter season, think about using winter squash in one of your dishes. A butternut squash lasagna can be a comforting dish during the cold months, and it’s absolutely delicious when paired with Chardonnay.
Forget about using disposables
Instead of buying plastic cups, cutlery, and paper plates, use what you have at home. Go ahead and bring out the “good” china that you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Using real glassware, wooden or china plates will not only benefit the environment but having these items on your table can elevate the look of your party. Having a tablecloth and napkins made from washable fabric can also go a long way to reduce waste during your gathering.
Decorate using natural elements
Sure, you can buy paper banners and other inexpensive items to decorate your home, however, there’s a good chance that these things will just end up in the trash after your party. Instead, decorate with natural elements, or better yet, have a nature-themed party. Potted plants and cut flowers will liven up your entertainment space, while fairy lights on artfully arranged twigs and branches will give your home a rustic yet cheerful vibe. For some color, hang or drape swathes of fabric in the living room, and place a few candles on the tables to create atmosphere.
For a great conversation piece, think about having a water feature in your living room. An indoor water fountain is a great thing to have during a party, but to save money, you can create a DIY water feature using a few items that you may already have in your house. Place a few smooth pebbles or colored glass marbles in a large clay or clear glass bowl, then fill it halfway with water. Add a few drops of essential oil to the water to scent the room. Float a few flower petals, a small wooden boat, a few candles, or any other amusing toy in the water, and you’ve got an impressive-looking water feature that costs next to nothing.
Go for live entertainment and games
Instead of turning on the TV or connecting your phone to blast your playlist on your speakers, opt for live entertainment to amuse your guests. If you know how to play an instrument, perform for your friends, and let them have a go too—not only is it a great way to conserve energy, but it’s more fun for everybody. Save the playlist for a bit of dancing after dinner.
You can also play games that don’t need electricity or gadgets, such as charades. Just swap the pen and paper for a mini dry-erase board and a whiteboard pen. If your guests are musically inclined, take a cue from the “Pitch Perfect” movies and have a riff-off. To play, choose a category, such as “80’s songs,” “boy bands,” “90’s divas,” and the like, and players should only sing the songs that fit the chosen category. For prizes, you can give a bottle of wine, movie tickets, or a gift certificate for a day at the spa.
Give guests some eco-friendly party favors
Photo booths are all the rage these days, and if you absolutely have to rent one, ask if it’s possible to email the pictures to your guests instead of printing them out at the party. You can also send your guests home with sustainable party favors. Edibles such as trail mix or chocolate chip cookies in mason jars are always a hit. Plain canvas shopping bags are also thoughtful and eco-friendly favors that grownups will like. To perk up a plain bag, you can iron on a nature-themed stencil to the center of the fabric.
Meanwhile, a cute mug and a bag of ground coffee beans will remind your guests about your party the next day while they sip their morning java. Miniature succulent plants in tiny pots will also get raves from your friends. To personalize, simply write your guests’ names on the pots using a permanent marker. Simple, elegant, and eco-friendly— what more can you ask for?
Having a party at home is a good way to catch up with your friends and family. Take this opportunity to impress them with great food, fun entertainment, amazing decor, and thoughtful gifts that are good for the environment while you entertain sustainably.
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