Get ready to make St. Patrick’s Day greener than ever with eco-friendly tips from event planners The Party Elves!
I remember going on holiday to Dublin one year, specifically on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, because I wanted to immerse myself in celebrations… and make my friends turn green with envy. While the celebration left me breathless, the waste that the festival generated left me gasping! We all have celebrations that throw caution to the wind for this ‘one time’… until of course this ‘one time’ is something or other every month!
The green movement has certainly upped the ante for party hosts. Aside from creating a big bang, parties must also leave behind a small to non-existent carbon footprint. Which got me to thinking about how we could make more of our events ‘green’. The green theme of St Patrick’s Day lends itself naturally to going eco-friendly and reaching out to people (especially children) from all walks of life and abilities.
In keeping with green on St Patrick’s Day, green food and drink is a must. Use only ‘green’ (read organic) food colouring to colour anything edible (or drinkable) to avoid guests ingesting toxic substances. Hate the idea of food dyes? Make your own shades of green by steeping spinach leaves.
If colouring is not your thing, then go with totally natural green drinks, choosing those with a natural green hue such as wheat grass, celery, green tea or even sugar cane! Having an international mix of guests? Stick to safe faves like lime or avocado flavours in drinks. Pop in an ice cream and you have some very very yummy Leprechaun Floats!
Food-wise, using locally-farmed produce or organic ingredients is the way to go. Go a step further and serve Irish Vegetarian Stew. We found a pretty simple recipe to follow from our friends at food.com. Complete the table with a selection of naturally green foods like avocados, pears, cucumbers and green grapes and you are ready for a craic!
If you have some old sacks lying around you could make some lovely bunting to go everywhere! Since burlap is hardy you can use them year in and year out and they will still look sham-azing.
Forget decorations other than natural potted greens or cut leaves in the house. Other naturally green items which you could use as decoration would be green beer or wine bottles. They’ll look great grouped together and make a great impact on entry to your party. Plus once the kids are tucked in, the parents will thank you for the ‘mommyjuice’. Take this one step further and choose a beer or wine company produced nearby that perhaps also uses renewable energy.
Alternatively, you could start collecting bottles with your St Patrick’s Day Craic in mind, and make a bottle wall.
Guests can come in green clothing they already own, or you can provide plain organic cotton T-shirts. T-Shirt paint or markers can be provided for guests to personalise their creations. Hats and shamrocks can be made from leftover green fabric you might find in your house. If you have access to green leaves from (non-poisonous) hedges, gather them for children to stick on cardboard hats.
Take the green theme to the limit by providing sorting bins for guests to help separate trash in to paper, plastic and metal. Devise a game, such as tossing paper balls in bins from a distance or dividing kids into groups to see who can sort out boxes of recyclables fastest and your guests won’t even realise that you have them doing half the work for you. At the end of the party, simply cart recyclables to the nearest bin.
Get into the mood by playing Celtic music. Screen an Irish-themed movie or better still read from a book or one of the great Irish poets.
Encourage the green thumb, and give your guests packs of seeds to plant when they get home. An easy way for kids to get started with planting is to pack a shamrock sponge with their seeds. Simply cut green sponges into a shamrock shape, write some cute instructions, and they are on their way to their sprout forest! For guests without green fingers, head over to your local plant shop and pick up small pretty pots of cactuses or succulents that can be taken home as they are.
And there you go – Time to go and have a guilt free St. Pat’s Day Party!