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Holiday Party Tips

Planning a party?  Make it one Mother Nature herself wouldn't mind attending. 

* Reduce paper and postage costs by inviting your guests electronically. Apart from being quick and easy, Evite is free; Sendomatic charges a small fee, but there’s no advertising on its website.

Twisted Limb*If you want to print and mail an invitation, recycled paper is available in many colors and designs from most art, stationery, and office supply stores. On-line, Twisted Limb makes invitations and stationery from recycled paper by hand.

* Use postcards so you can skip the envelope and save a couple of cents postage on each card.

Location and Lighting
Weather permitting, celebrate outside. A front porch, wrap-around deck, roof top, patio, or park add to the fun and get nature involved. 

If it’s an evening affair, candles can help brighten your setting (and keep the bugs at bay if you do meet outside).

Way Out Wax offers a variety of candles made from pure vegetable waxes scented with natural essential oils like citronella, rosemary, orange or eucalyptus.

• Elegant beeswax tapers with all-cotton wicks can be found at Candlebee Farm, Abundant Earth, or the Beeswax Candle Company.

Want to be more festive? String energy-efficient LED lights, which use 80 to 90 percent less energy than incandescent mini-lights, through trees and along walkways. Try the Light string from Inirgee; check Home Depot, Lowe’s, or your local hardware store.

Serve locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh hand-pressed ciders, artisan cheeses and homemade breads and pastries, all available from your nearest farmers market.

Farmers MarketWhole Foods Markets and some natural foods stores prepare delicious platters of organic vegetables, fruits, breads, crackers, dips and cheese.
Organic beverages – including fruit juice, sparkling cider, wine, beer and spirits -- are available at most natural food stores, Whole Foods Markets, food coops, and an increasing number of standard grocery store chains and liquor stores. Some brands to look for:

R.W. Knudsen Organic Juices
Santa Cruz Organic Juices and Nectars

Frey Vineyards’ award-winning organic and biodynamic sulfite-free wines
Samuel Smith Organic Ale & Lager from Tadcaster, England
Wolaver’s Organic Beers from Middlebury, VT
Rain Organic Vodka

If you opt for soda, buy cans or bottles you can recycle (though a better option is to squeeze lemon, lime or orange juice into ice-cold water). Skip the bottled water in favor of cooled (and filtered, if necessary) tap water or iced tea.

Setting the Table
plates.jpgUse cloth table linens and napkins, and reusable plates and cutlery to reduce trash.

Reusable plate options can include ceramics you can get for a dollar a plate at local dollar stores, or “china” made from recycled plastic. Preserve offers sturdy, dishwasher safe plates in two sizes, a seven-inch that’s perfect for buffets, and a ten-inch that you would serve for a larger meal.

If you must use paper, shop recycled. Seventh Generation's paper plates are made from 100% recycled content; no chlorine bleach is used to whiten them. Marcal makes lunch and dinner napkins with high degrees of recycled content as well.

Adorn the table with flowers and greenery from your yard, enhanced with fruit, candles, ribbons and other nature-based decorations available at your fingertips.

When the Party’s Over
Make recycling easy by setting up a bin for empty cans and bottles in the kitchen or on the porch. If you compost, clean plates into the compost bin before washing. Wrap up left-overs in reusable containers to send home with your guests or save in the freezer or refrigerator for a delicious reminder of the great time that was had by all!


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