A green birthday party…coming right up

Twice I have missed a presentation on Eco-Friendly Families, once from my twins club, Gemini Crickets, and once from my preschool. I scheduled the second talk, so I really have no excuse…other than I had a fever and, thinking I was for sure headed for a week of the swine flu, I stayed home like a good citizen and infected only my immediate household. (It turns out I did not have the swine flu, but we did indeed have a week of sickness in the house between all of us. It was a good call to stay home from that meeting, really. Trust me.)

From what friends have told me about the talk(s), it was a big eye-opener.

Yes, yes, yes, we are all trying to be more green. We are buying (and using!) reusable bags – we wouldn’t be caught dead accepting a plastic bag from the farmers market vendors on Sunday mornings. I now carry a reusable bag in every handbag, laptop bag, beach bag, park bag that I own. My favorite reusable bags for grocery shopping are the Olive Smart Sacks (which I received as a gift at a Silicon Valley Moms Blog sponsored event that we organized last November) – 6 bags come in a set and the whole set fits perfectly in the cup holder in my car, they have held up very well since November.

The point is, the bag thing is easy. Easy.

But what about the stuff we just don’t think about? It is not daily, but it is a regular occurrence and the old habits just die hard.

Case in point: birthday parties.

Do kids really NEED themed plates and forks and napkins? Star Wars The Clone Wars? Disney Princess? Dora? Elmo? Yes, we have done those and more….I can’t even remember what now. This stuff is not reusable in any sense of the word. It is paper, disposable, designed to be tossed and enjoyed for one 2-hour period of mayhem. Even more so, since as soon as this birthday has passed, my kids are on to some other theme and any leftover plates are unusable. “Oh, that was when I was a baby.”

For other reasons than green ones, I have begun rejecting the overly character driven birthday. Why, why, why do we celebrate kids birthdays by celebrating a character? We should be celebrating that child! I know, it is just a plate, just a birthday cake, just…well, I want to get back to a little simplicity in my birthday parties for my kids. I have started baking their cakes myself in the past year or so and I try to steer clear of the character stuff.

Ava...almost 4

Ava’s 4th birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I have decided (even though she may not be a fan of this!) to try to be as green as possible for her party. Try to minimize the stuff, the loot, the packaging. To just enjoy HER. The plates and napkins are part of it, but there is more to it. A lot more. I’ll let you know how it goes.

This post is inspired by National Geographic’s Green Guide for Families as part of SV Moms Group Book Club this month (just in time for Earth Day!) and also by the Yahoo! Mother Board (of which I am a proud member) and their topic for April on Earth Day. I received a copy of the Green Guide for Families in connection with the SV Moms Group book club.

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