Throwing a Green (and Pink!) Baby Shower

Hosting a baby shower doesn’t have to equate with throw-away plates and piles of wasted wrapping paper. At least, that’s what I decided when I hosted a baby shower for my friend Katie last weekend. I set out to host an event (co-host actually, with her sister-in-law) as free of garbage as possible, and we were quite successful without much extra effort. Here’s what we did:

Decorations
We kept the decorations simple with a few bouquets of fresh cut flowers from my yard (no carbon footprint there) and a dozen helium latex balloons. I realize the balloons would not be considered eco-friendly but we divvied them up at the end so various moms took a few home to their kids to enjoy, at least getting a double use from them.

Food
We steered free of any prepackaged, processed foods in favor of homemade brunch goodies. The food responsibilities were divided between four of us so didn’t create an undue burden for anyone. I baked blueberry muffins, my friend Karin made fruit kebabs on bamboo skewers stuck playfully in a pineapple, my co-host, Zephyr, baked a fabulous cheesy egg breakfast dish, and Katie’s mom Vivian baked some sinfully sweet muffins. Not only did we avoid waste from food packaging, the food was all so delicious there was no food waste to speak of either!

Plates, Cups, etc
Last summer I bought several dozen reusable plastic plates and cups on clearance at Target for less than it would have cost for the same quantity of paper plates and cups. Their bright summer colors (pink, green, blue and yellow) work perfectly for baby showers and have also been perfect for hosting large summer barbecues. The plates and cups are unbreakable so can be used outside and can be thrown in the dishwasher to make cleaning up easy. We used real silverware (why not, since we were running the dishwasher anyway) and broke down with the use of paper napkins. Those that weren’t heavily soiled we were able to recycle.

Art Project Instead of Games
I actually think baby shower games can be fun but a lot of people roll their eyes at them, so for Katie’s shower we replaced games with decorating organic onesies instead. I bought super soft Gerber plain white organic onesies which each guest decorated using fabric markers. This made for a great activity as people were arriving and Katie left with a dozen unique pieces for her baby girl to wear. There were some budding artists in our midst that day!

Gifts
Baby showers can create a huge pile of ribbons and wrapping paper, some of which can be recycled but it’s always better to reuse first. Literally all the guests used gift bags instead of wrapping paper, owing perhaps more to our lives as busy young moms than our eco-sense, but it’s an example of going green making life easier rather than more complicated, as is sometimes falsely assumed. Katie left with one huge gift bag full of tissue paper she plans to reuse plus a pile of baby girl gift bags she can pass on at other baby showers!

The Happy Mama and Grandma-to-be

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6 Comments

  1. West said,

    August 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Your flowers and fruit bouquets are really nice. I’m always into to using some baby items for centerpieces and decorations, but just using 1 or 2 flowers in a vase can be a simple and elegant accent.

    I like the fruti kebab idea. It looks creative and easy to make. That’s a good appetizer idea.

  2. Courtney said,

    August 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Hi Beth,

    Lots of creative ideas for a baby shower. I love how the onesies turned out. My sister in law is pregnant with twins and I am looking for ideas. When I was pregnant with the twins, I really wanted to do it up because I knew that this was almost certainly my last pregnancy. With help from my mom and friends we decided to hire belly dancers. They came adorned with bells, petchuli oil, beautiful beads and dressed in saris. It was a surprise for most of the guests and they weren’t sure what was happening. They asked us to sit down and watch and they performed a beautiful dance and then one of the belly dancers came over and danced for me and threw petals all over my belly. Then everyone got up and danced together. I tear up thinking about it. Then, after some delicious home made food and drinks everyone came into the living room and formed a circle on the the floor. I had asked everyone to bring a bead to the shower that symbolized our friendship or a shared memory (I got the idea from a introspective book called Birthing from Within). Everyone got a turn to share. There were some tears and a lot of love shared and poured out into the group. I later took the beads and made them into a bracelet and wore them to the hospital.

  3. Pam said,

    August 23, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Balloons are ecofriendly!! Professional latex balloons are 100 percent biodegradable and decompose in 6 months – the rate of an oak leaf. Latex balloons are made from the sap of rubber trees which is harvested usinf a simple tapping method much like that used to get maple for syrup. So, balloon away!!!!

  4. Beth said,

    August 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Pam, That’s great to know! I looked into it a little more just to confirm and it seems you are absolutely right. I had no idea and will definitely keep on using my favorite latex balloons. Thanks for the info. Beth

  5. jason said,

    August 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    great stuff

  6. August 19, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Just found your blog and now i cant stop reading lol.


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