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Apolitical Tea Party

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This past spring, my extended fam­ily and I learned of a then soon-to-be new addi­tion to the fam­ily. Ella Rose would be arriv­ing from China with her par­ents (my sis­ter and brother-in-law) in May after more than four very long years of wait­ing. For valid rea­sons, my other sis­ter and mother were not going to be able to attend the baby shower for the new daughter/cousin/niece/granddaughter, so I felt it was extremely impor­tant to throw a won­der­ful shower as this was such a sig­nif­i­cant event.

The new par­ents (as well as myself!) work in the envi­ron­men­tal field, and I knew that it was impor­tant to incor­po­rate envi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions in to the plan­ning. Dis­claimer: These prac­tices have not been researched for their spe­cific quan­tifi­able envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits, but fit the bill for reduc­ing, re-using, and recy­cling; as well as envi­ron­men­tally prefer­able and local purchasing.

Though some might feel it flies too much in the face of tra­di­tion, I used Evite for the invi­ta­tions. A taste­ful back­ground with well-thought out appro­pri­ate text can make this medium go a long way. A tea party theme was decided on due to the tim­ing of the party, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

An eclec­tic (though good qual­ity) set of tea cups was pur­chased from Good­will Indus­tries, as well as var­i­ous vases to hold the roses (Ella “Rose”) for dec­o­ra­tion. The Good­will items were later re-donated. A bulk store was the source of the Fair Trade Cer­ti­fied (focus on sus­tain­able prac­tices) roses that were posi­tioned around the room. Ella Fitzger­ald CD’s were taken out of the library to round out the ambiance for the shower. Finally, unused pink crêpe paper from a prior event pro­vided the final dec­o­ra­tion detail.

Dis­pos­able plates and bowls, rea­son­ably priced, were obtained from a chain phar­macy: “Made from sug­ar­cane. A nat­ural renew­able resource. Water and oil resis­tant. Biodegrad­able. Microwav­able.” Recy­cled paper nap­kins were pur­chased sep­a­rately. The inex­pen­sive metal (read re-usable) uten­sils came from bulk store, and proved to work out great for the large gath­er­ing (and I even lent them out to a friend for a bridal shower).

In a stroke of luck, my mother uncov­ered a much-treasured old wooden musi­cal frame that we had as chil­dren and I took the oppor­tu­nity to re-gift it to my sis­ter for her daugh­ter to enjoy. An esti­mated 99% of the used gift wrap was recy­cled, with the excep­tion of some bows and ribbons.

Lastly, for shower favors, each per­son received at least one small pink rose choco­late lol­lipop cre­ated just a mile away at a local candy store. With the “Rose” lol­lipop, they received a small bou­quet of roses to take home.

At the end of the day, every­one seemed to have really enjoyed them­selves, and my sis­ter was well on her way for prepar­ing for the arrival of her daughter.

Green Tip

Use safe bottles.Opt for BPA-free bottles to avoid toxins in the body and in the environment.