With my husband's birthday having just passed, and my daughter's only a few short days away I have had birthday on the brain. I really wanted to make sure this year we did a better job of creating less waste, and not showering my daughter with ideas of consumerism.
Last year I think we did pretty clever things. I started planning a few months before by saving Macaroni and Cheese boxes after we ate them. The size of the cardboard was perfect for making block letters that spelled out "Happy Birthday". I also stockpiled all our Sunday newspapers. I cut strips, and made paper chains from them. I sprayed painted them to liven them up a little (not the most eco-friendly, I know....but it was a little blah). I saved the letters I made, because they were flat and easily fit into our file cabinet, the paper chains made it to the recycling bin when we were finished.
This year we are planning on reusing the letters (with a new coat of paint). We are also wrapping our daughter's gifts in festive cloth bags. I did this for Christmas this last year, and loved it. It took a whole 10 minutes to sew up the bags, and mere seconds to put the gifts inside, which is way less time than it would have taken for me to using actual wrapping paper. I love that we can reuse them.
We are also trying something new this year. We asked in our invitations (which were all sent via the internet except for a few for the grandparents) for guests to split their gift 50/50. Half the gift goes to a small toy for Tootsie Roll, and the other half is cash that is going to be collected to provide a goat or a cow to a family in need (we are doing this through Compassion International).
Now, onto the food. I am still throwing around ideas for this one. We don't want to push our ideas onto our family and friends by making them eat our exceptionally healthy diet. I am fine splurging and letting our daughter and our family eat junk food once in a while. This birthday party is going to probably be one of those times. I am planning on dipping small balloons in dark chocolate to create bowls, and then filling them with mousse and fresh fruit.
Our theme for the birthday party is a Tea Party, so we will be using a combination of corn-based throw away utensils, and my great grandmother's china she gave me (gasp, I know. Nobody uses china, but I think it is silly to have it and not use it).
Well, I think that about sums up most of what we are doing. I will probably put another post up here, after the party with how everything played out.