All is well. You did not come here to fix a broken world. The world is not broken. You came here to live a wonderful life. And if you relax a little and let it all in, you will begin to see the Universe present you with all that you have asked for.


31 March 2010

A Green Birthday Idea

Nothing has me cringing more than the thought of a conventional birthday party with the enormous amount of garbage they generate from torn wrapping paper and cardboard boxes to the disposable cups, plates, and napkins that are often used. Kids are hyped up on sugary birthday cake, and they get lots of toys that frankly they just don’t need.

Recently I had a birthday picnic for my 2 year old and forgot to ask the guests for used toys or books wrapped in newspaper or cloth. In the future I might create a registry list of eco-friendly gifts that my child would appreciate such as laptop lunch boxes, klean kanteen bottles, but these items I would order them myself.  I know that traditionally the birthday child is showered with presents usually wrapped in delightful shiny paper that gets torn to shreds and tossed on the floor but it's just not necessary and it sends a message of consumerism that that I just don’t like. Furthermore, many of the common gifts will be plastic toys full of toxins and chemicals that have harmful effects on children and plastic breaks quite easily, then because they’re non-recyclable, they end up in landfills.

Another idea is to have guests bring a gift to donate to a worthy cause. For instance, I read about a woman that orchestrated a puppy-themed party for her child to benefit a local animal shelter. She made dog-bone shaped oatmeal cookies for snacks and In lieu of birthday gifts, guests brought donations, dog food, leashes, water bowls and toys for the abandoned animals. All the kids and especially the birthday boy LOVED it and the animal shelter brought puppies for the kids to play with. I also read about an Africa-themed party, where kids built a grass hut and collected donations for African children. These parties were fun and they taught the guests a valuable lesson about helping others instead of the usual birthday message of “help yourself.”

I thought of invitations made from recycled paper of course, but used Smilebox to send out invitations and thank you photos via internet.   

So next time I will be better prepared to combine green values with party themes that kids love.  There is great joy to be had in helping all kids learn the joy of helping others AND protecting our planet rather than tearing through gift boxes and getting sick from candy favors found in the goody bags.  Speaking of which, my friend made these bags & bears to give away to the 4 year olds at her daughter's birthday party!  Aren't they just so gorgeous?

Photos by Javhlan

There are also a lot of green options for decorations too. Instead of a plastic tablecloth why not use cloth & cloth napkins? If you have your heart set on a themed tablecloth then you could pick up some themed fabric at the fabric store. Even a themed sheet would work. Goody bags will be made with fabric and what should go in the goody bags?  Homemade play dough except I still haven't found cream of tartar that is needed in the recipe.  Bubble blowers, crayons, coloring books and flowers in pots are a good idea as well. I'm starting to avoid conventional balloons so Japanese style paper balloons would be an eco-friendly substitute.  Time to practice origami!

For food I would bake a batch of delicious healthy cookies, make raw chocolate truffles, a low-sugar apple or berry tarts and a healthy carrot cake.  Fresh fruit on sticks and crudites with dip is a must of course.  Mini quiche tarts, sandwiches and maki sushi. 

So is there anything else I have left out?  If you do have a green birthday party make sure to send me an email and tell me all about it. I would love to hear your experience too….you can comment below.


  1. Thank you very much posting my bags and teddies. It is great to have eco-friendly giveaways. some girls were very happy with their bags and one grandmother wanted for herself too.

  2. I would love to order one for myself J. Talk to you soon!