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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Eco-Friendly Baby Showers

baby-peas-single-with-backgroundby Helen Coronato

Congratulations! You or someone you love is expecting, and friends and family are cooking up a baby shower. These entertaining ideas will make it possible to celebrate in a green theme that honors the mother-to-be, while cherishing the Earth as a welcoming destination.

1. Set the Sustainable Scene Choose a location that’s in line with your intention. An outdoor picnic is a relaxed way to enjoy a potluck lunch that comes complete with containers for guests to carry home any leftovers, reducing food waste. An afternoon tea, where guests bring their favorite cup and saucer, is a fun way to gather and eliminates the temptation of disposable plasticware.

2. Manage the Menu Consider the amount of food needed to satisfy guests, banish excess and make the most of seasonal and organic menu ingredients. A hearty vegetarian chili and locally baked bread is a satisfying, simple lunch that everyone can enjoy; leftovers freeze easily. Focus on one high-quality dish and skip bloated buffets. 3. Green the Gifts Ask guests to bring a frozen meal for the expectant parents to rely upon during those first few weeks of sleepless nights, or a gently used “re-gift,” to give only-worn-once clothes and barely touched toys a new home. Also, direct everyone to a cloth diapering site, where they can purchase one reusable diaper for the wishing well. Many people want to go green, but are new to nursery ideas, so be sure to provide the details.

4. Wrap It Up Bring out guests’ competitive spirit by challenging them to come up with the most creative and sustainable gift wrap. Bows, ribbons and traditional papers can be traded in for receiving blankets, old paper maps or a beautiful new scarf for mom. Gift toppers could include pine cones or wooden teething rings. Reward guests for their bright ideas with a compact fluorescent light bulb. 5. Include the Guests Make sure guests understand the intention of the afternoon and invite them to be an intimate part of the celebration by bringing along a personalized memento for the new mom. They might pass along a favorite book they have read to their own child or a framed photo of the guest of honor when she was a baby. 6. Spread the Word Online party invitations have become more popular, but if you opt for printed invites, use a decorated 8½ by 11 sheet of post-consumer, recycled paper. It’s not only more economical than packaged invitations, it has space for all the green party details; plus, the rest of the ready-to-print computer paper is available for future projects.

7. Gather the Tribe Give the expectant mom what other experts cannot: kitchen table wisdom. Pass around a journal and ask guests to finish a simple, but poignant statement like, “What I wish most for you is…” or “Looking back, I wish I would have known…” Along with reducing, reusing, and recycling, going green is a spiritual practice.

8. Make Something Beautiful Beautifully mark the occasion by creating a one-of-a-kind gift for the baby. Ask friends and family to paint their palm and leave a handprint on an oversized plant pot, to be kept in the nursery. Gather scraps of fabric and invite attendants to cut out a heart shape, write their name on it and adhere it to a pillowcase with fabric glue, for the baby to rest on. Don’t worry if the project is perfect, the intention already is.

9. Do Everyone a Favor Say farewell with seasonal gifts, like small pumpkins in the fall or packets of seeds in the spring. Better than any token of appreciation will be the memories that friends and family take home. 10. Thank-you Everyone enjoys receiving a thank-you; make sure yours sticks by mailing a photo magnet to guests. Develop pictures of the party, cut and glue a photo to discarded cardboard and “laminate” with packing tape, then attach a craft magnet to the back. Insert the magnet into an envelope and write, “You helped make the day picture perfect,” on the inside flap. This personal keepsake helps preserve the memories and the environment.

Helen Coronato is an author, speaker and consultant. Her latest book, Eco-Friendly Families, is packed with concrete advice, useful tips and fun strategies for families who want to go green. Visit

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