The holiday season is all about celebrations, and that warm-fuzzy feeling. By taking a few conscious steps, your holiday parties this year can actually be eco-friendly, sustainable and if you manage to go the extra mile – zero waste.
Use our tips to teach your guests a thing or two about being kind to our environment, all the while without compromising on all things festive and Christmas-y.
Having a party? Cake is a must! Forget about imported stollen and air-flown panettone. Support local this Christmas and opt for good-for-you ingredients while you are at it.
The baking magicians over at Bakening have festive treats that are entirely grain, gluten, dairy, and legume-free, plus they boast sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients.
The strawberry chocolate log cake ($69.90) is made with almonds, eggs, organic coconut sugar, cocoa powder, strawberries and sustainable organic palm shortening.
Orders can be placed via https://bakening.co/
The biggest culprit for the amount of waste a party generates are disposable plates, cutlery and glasses. The easiest way to do away with this is to use reusable cutlery and crockery.
Bring out your finest glassware and beautiful plates and get your guests involved in the post-party clean up.
However, if that is too daunting a task, opt for eco-friendly disposables like eco.u Disposable Wooden Spoons ($5.50 for 20, available on Redmart.com).
If you are hosting a sit-down dinner, take a cue from restaurant’s like Samy’s Curry and serve your guests on a banana leaf – this is even sustainable cost-wise as they’re $1.20 per 250g pack on Redmart.
If you are going to buy party decorations, we suggest you invest in quality pieces that can be reused year-after-year.
Metro’s and Marks & Spencer‘s Christmas Pop-up at Paragon Shopping Centre’s Level 1 has many beautiful choices to decorate your home for all those festive feels.
When it comes to flowers, head to Vanda Win (11 Tanjong Katong Road, #03-25/26/27) for their wide variety of silk and dried flowers, both of which last several years with proper care. Invest in a timeless Christmas wreath, made with durable materials that can be reused.
Look at Triceratops to place orders for this eco-friendly wreaths made of eucalyptus, fresh pine and other sustainable materials.
To really up your sustainability game, D-I-Y your party and festive decorations. There are hundreds on tutorials available on the web; from making tree ornaments out of dried pasta and old CD’s, to collecting fallen leaves, painting them gold and using them as table decor, hanging ornaments and more.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a whole roasted turkey (and all it’s trimmings) but if the carbon footprint to bring the traditional bird to Singapore puts you off, opt for good ol’ chicken.
Toh Thye San Farm’s GG French Poulets are free-range, and ethically farmed next door in Johor Bahru and are hormone and antibiotic free. A whole chicken is $24.90 onwards, and available at Sasha’s Fine Foods.
If nothing but turkey will do, opt for those that are free range and ethically farmed. Sasha’s Fine Foods sells KellyBronze Free Range English Whole Turkey, that come frozen, complete with easy cooking instructions and a turkey thermometer. Priced at $165 onwards.
Photo: Sasha’s Fine Foods
It isn’t a party without several bottles of wine. In a bid to keep things clean and green, insist that the wines you serve at a party should be organic, natural and biodynamic. These are minimal intervention wines that have been farmed organically and made without additives or processing aids.
Thankfully, natural wines are readily available nowadays, Vinomofo does a mixed case with three different varieties of Sigurd wines from Australia; a red, rose and a white blend. Delivery is quick and efficient and the website does a good job of describing the wine’s top notes and flavours.
Dellarosa Wines are natural wine specialists, they offer ‘orange wines’ where white grapes have been naturally vinyfied promising bold, honeyed flavours that your guests may not have tried as yet. You could create your own mixed case of six varieties from their curated selection.
A crucial element to planning your Christmas dinner menu is to ensure that nothing goes to waste. Even so, the best laid plans can go awry. To ensure minimal food waste, let your guests go home with doggy bags of excess party food. Ask them to bring reusable containers, and pack dried items in plastic-free, reusable wax wraps and sandwich bags.
To drive home the zero-waste message, tie up with Foodbank to ensure leftover sealed food, drink cans are donated to Foodbank to distribute amongst those in need. You keep even ask guests to bring in food items and host a mini food-drive at your holiday party.
To complete a festive meal, you need a variety of side dishes to complement the roasted bird.
Opt for locally-grown, organic vegetables only when planning your dinner menu – even if that means tweaking a few recipes to accommodate local veggies. Sauteed green beans, mashed potatoes and buttered carrots are all easy to create once you find the right vegetables.
Look for the Zenxin branded fresh produce at NTUC FairPrice outlets or order an organic box via their online store. Who says you cannot have stir-fried baby bok choy with turkey? Prices begin at $35 per box, and you can opt for them to be packed without any plastic.
Plastic trees are a big NO, and while real trees are a better choice, if you are truly being eco-conscious, you wouldn’t want anyone cutting down an oxygen-giving, living, breathing tree.
A few ways to have a green Xmas without compromising on holiday cheer are with these nifty D-I-Y trees. Use an existing house-plant as a mini tree, rosemary and even aloe vera plants work for hanging tiny ornaments off their leaves and branches.
Buy one at at your neighbourhood wet market, or at Far East Flora for $30.90. Alternately, invest in a string of fairy lights ($4.90 for 10m on HipVan), find a blank wall in your home and fashion a space-saving Christmas tree by sticking the lights to the wall in a tree shape.
Photo: Far East Flora
Not everyone is an eco warrior, and some are more aware of environmental hazards than others. Do your bit towards spreading awareness by gifting all of your guests something to ease them into their ‘clean and green’ journey.
Neis Haus’ sells The Environmental Toothbrush ($4.50 for kids and adults) and stainless steel straw’s (or find out where to get biodegradable straws) by The Last Straw Co. ($10.20 onwards), which make for inexpensive and long-lasting gifts.
Photo: Neis Haus
When it comes to gift-wrapping, ditch the typical wrapping paper – a lot of foil printed, glitter wrapping paper is not recyclable and as beautiful as they look, they all end up in landfills. Instead, reuse newspapers, magazines and old paper bags you have lying around.
To pretty-it-up, paint over it in festive colours and adorn them with paper or cloth ribbons.