I really, really love parties. And that might be an understatement. So when I realized my baby girl would be turning one (I was in denial for a while so it snuck up on me), I knew I wanted to throw a sweet bash for her. Even if she won’t remember it, she will always have pictures and our stories of how cute she was toddling around on her special day.
In the spirit of attempting to leave the world a better place for Vi’s future birthdays, I wanted to keep waste to a minimum. I just knew I could create a fun and festive gathering while using (mostly) upcycled, reusable, and recyclable items. Bonus points: it ended up saving me money!
1. Ditch the Disposable Paper Products
I have to admit, my husband rolled his eyes when I first mentioned using real glasses and plates, but he came around when I told him my plan. We used a hodgepodge of dishes an eclectic array of dishware and specifically planned a menu that would require no silverware. I have seen other people (who are apparently better at planning ahead than I am) line wooden crates or plastic bins with trash bags and post signs to leave dishes there after scraping them in the trash.
2. Just Say No to Plastic Bottles
Yes, my baby’s birthday is in August in Orlando, so I knew we had to have plenty of refreshments on hand. Instead of offering a bunch of plastic bottles that would end up half full and forgotten, we made pitchers of cucumber water and summer-perfect sangria. It was delicious, festive, budget-friendly, and resulted in much less waste of the worst kind.
3. Decorate Thoughtfully
Crafting up some colorful décor is possibly my favorite part of throwing a party, but I didn’t want all my hard work to end up in the trash at the end of the day. I picked a color scheme that I knew I could reuse and spent time making garlands and a banner that could be saved for another fete. I am in love with the rag garlands and tissue paper tassels that are everywhere right now, so I upcycled some old pajamas into t-shirt yarn (I washed them, promise!) and used some tissue paper I already had to make them party perfect; now they are adding some color to a wall in our home until the next time I need a quick decoration! Some flowers in vases and glass jars made simple, beautiful centerpieces. Instead of buying kraft paper, I opted for brown packing paper I saved from a package I ordered. Since she was the star of the day, I used my favorite photos of Vi’s first year everywhere; I framed some and hung others on string with clothes pins, which were added to little photo books I made and gave to her grandparents as keepsakes. My favorite example of chic upcycling might be the bohemian wall hanging I made out of a wire hanger, yarn, an old bracelet, and that same t-shirt yarn.
So, I didn’t do a perfect job, but I did my best to keep it pretty eco-friendly. I did use balloons, but I made sure they didn’t float away (they can land in a body of water where they could become a hazard to wildlife, which is not cool with me) and I am currently Pinteresting some ways to reuse them (insert hubby’s eye roll here). All in all we had a fabulous time celebrating Vi’s first year of life and our first year as a family of three.