The most popular season for entertaining is right around the corner, beginning with Thanksgiving and then the slippery slope to Christmas and New Years. Many will receive invitations to homes during the holidays for either dinner, drinks or a party. Combining etiquette and sustainability, how can we become a “greener” guest?
Here are some tips to help to minimize your environmental footprint and that of your host during this upcoming holiday season.
RSVP or “répondez, s'il vous plaît," which means "please reply." – By sending your RSVP to your host, you are actually minimizing waste! By letting your host know that you will or will not attend, you are ensuring that they do not overbuy or over-prepare food for the party, therefore minimizing waste.
These Boots are Made for Walking – When considering transportation to the party or event, consider how you will travel. If you live close, consider walking. Not only will you be minimizing your carbon footprint, you will not have to worry about determining who will be the designated driver. High heels? No problem, throw on your runners and change into your heels when you arrive. If you live in the city, there is no shame in taking public transit or sharing a cab ride with other guests. Of course, carpooling with other guests is always an option.
Hostess gifts – We always want to bring something for the host or hostess just to say thank you. Many bring wine….if this is the case, try to bring a local wine. In lieu of the traditional flowers consider bringing a lovely soy candle. If you have just finished a great book and are ready to pass it along, don’t be shy about tying a lovely ribbon around it and bringing it with you…..wrap it with a package of tea and a note that says, “Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did and you have a chance to relax with it and a cup of tea”. Home decor & living icon, Martha Stewart, suggests bringing something homemade like a preserve with a lovely personalized label. Whatever you bring, don’t be disappointed if they don’t serve it or use it that evening. There is no rule that a hostess gift needs to be used during the course of the evening. In fact, it is the opposite. Your host has already considered the food, wine and décor for the event and quite frankly, your gift may not suit the theme.
Potluck? – If your host asked you to bring a food item, consider using local ingredients. Make sure you bring your dish in a reusable container. Tip – If you are concerned about getting your serving dish back, put a piece of tape on the bottom with your name.
Green it forward – What about bringing your host something which will help them green their future dinner parties. Purchase some linen napkins in a neutral colour and present them wrapped in a lovely ribbon. Simple napkin rings can be added the next time you are invited. Linen napkins can be used over and over again, taking the place of single use paper napkins.