Green Christmas

Dreaming of a Green Christmas Pt. 4: Eco-Friendly Entertaining

Dreaming of a Green Christmas series logo Now that you know what type of tree and lights to get and how to deck out the tree and your home in sustainable style, you’re probably going to be having guests over for the holidays. There’s no need to sacrifice your green lifestyle because you have company. In fact, you can use it is an opportunity to show your guests how stylish and practical eco-living can be.

Dressing Your Christmas Table

Ditch the disposables

When you have holiday guests, you’re likely going to be feeding more people than you normally do. That’s no excuse to use paper plates or plastic cups. Think of it as an opporunity to show off your best dinnerware or use your “good” dishes. At my house, we use all our dishes all the time. But you may have some squirreled away in a box or cabinet that you don’t use. Now is a great time to pull them out. If you do want something that requires a little less cleanup at the end, opt for compostable bamboo plates or tableware made of palm leaves. Here are some eco-options:

  1. Bamboo Veneerware Plates. Made of sustainable, organically grown bamboo with no bleaches or dyes, and they are compostable. Price: $7.50 for a set of 8.
  2. VerTerra Leaf Dinnerware. Made of fallen leaves and water, chemical-free, non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable, microwave- and refrigerator-safe, reusable and compostable. Price: $11.99 for a set of 10.
  3. Plates with Purpose. Made of recycled glass, hand-colored, finished and bent, and a portion of each sale benefits a non-profit organization that helps those in need or provides a service or greater quality of life. The designs on the plates were created by the organizations that the proceeds benefit. Price: $36-88.

Use fabric napkins

Disposable napkins may be convenient, but just remember that paper comes from trees. Is it really worth it to cut down some trees to wipe your hands and mouth after dinner? Opt for cloth napkins. If you’re going to buy new, try to buy sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, linen or recycled fabrics. However, any cloth napkins are more eco-friendly than paper napkins or paper towels. Here are some options:

  1. Make your own from old button-down shirts. Click here for simple instructions.
  2. Head to your nearest thrift store. You can almost always find stacks and stacks of used napkins in great condition. For the holidays, try finding napkins in festive colors that match your decor: Think red, green, gold, silver, or white. Teal, turquoise and purple are great non-traditional holiday colors that can be beautiful if you use them well.
  3. Boxwood Goods Soy and Hemp Cocktail Napkins. Made of natural hemp. Price: $25 for a set of 4.

Encourage guests to recycle

Our recycling bins are essentially old boxes and plastic containers. Not exactly something I would want to display to guests. However, you will want your guests to continue your tradition of recycling, so you’ll need to put them in a place that is easily accessible. If you have stylish recycling bins, you’re already set. But if you’re like me, and you’re improvising here are a couple of tips for making your bins look better.

  1. Cover them in a festive wrapping paper. It is greener if you’re using leftover paper from years past, or paper made of 100% recycled content.
  2. Wrap them in a beatiful piece of fabric. You can reuse and old sheet, table cloth or curtain for this purpose if you don’t have fabric close at hand.
  3. Use empty woven baskets instead of traditional recycling bins.

Any other ideas for keeping your guests green for the holidays? Share them in the comments below!


Like what you’ve read today? Throughout this week, Green Your Decor will focus on key aspects of the Christmas season, including ornaments and decor, gifting and gift wrap, and entertaining guests. Other posts:


As the series continues, Green Your Decor will feature products and books that can help you have a greener holiday season. On Friday, the series will culminate with a huge giveaway in which two lucky readers will walk away with prize packages that include many of these products. So if you’re not yet a subscriber, sign up for the GYD email updates or get your content via your favorite RSS reader — it doesn’t matter which. Just make sure you don’t miss out on what’s to come.

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • MyBrownBaby
    December 5, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Oh, how I wish you were in the grocery store with me to fight the good fight when I was explaining to my dad and uncle why I wasn’t going to buy paper plates, plastic cups and forks, and napkins for Thanksgiving dinner. The two of them insisted that cleaning up dishes and glasses for 20-plus people would be too much of a pain; I insisted that it was bad for he environment. Not the argument you really try to have with 75-year-old black men. But I won, doggonit, and served everything on my “good” dishes (LOL!), and everyone sat with a cloth napkin on their lap. Not only good for the environment, but the way my mom taught me to serve Thanksgiving dinner! Great post!

    MyBrownBabys last blog post..Beautiful Flowers

  • Kacey R.
    December 5, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I found you from over at My Brown Baby. I LOVE your site! Thank you for all of the great ideas and tips. I can’t wait to read more!

    Kacey R.s last blog post..{Just A Little Soap Box Moment}


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