This year it's time to rethink traditions - here are creative ideas for a sustainable New Year's Eve party with the best of intentions
Text by Viola Haderlein
Every year we say goodbye to the old year with a New Year's Eve fireworks display. This was originally intended to drive away evil spirits and to greet the new year with anticipation. For the second time in a row, the pandemic is preventing large groups from coming together and private acquisition of fireworks in many places. No need to mop up, but a good chance to rethink New Year's Eve traditions at the turn of the year.
Here are creative ideas for a sustainable New Year's Eve celebration to greet the New Year with the best of resolutions.
7 tips for a sustainable New Year's Eve party
1. Campfire instead of fireworks
On New Year's Eve, the environmental pollution is literally in the air, because the amount of fine dust that is generated by the annual New Year's fireworks is around 16 percent of that generated annually by the road traffic caused emissions. That is why the DUH (Deutsche Umwelthilfe) and an active petition are calling for a general ban on fireworks. With this year's ban, the Particulate matter pollution considerably reduced. In addition, fires and damage to humans and animals are prevented and the New Year is not greeted with muddy mountains of rubbish.
A nice alternative is a campfire with friends and family on your own garden or setting up a fire bowl on the balcony. And those who prefer to invest their money in meaningful projects can also support donation campaigns such as “Bread instead of firecrackers”, “Trees instead of firecrackers” or “Water instead of firecrackers”. For those who still cannot imagine New Year's Eve without fireworks, a look at neighboring European countries might help. At the turn of the year, for example, our neighbors rely less on loud fireworks and more on culinary explosions and socializing.
2. Regional banquet for everyone
With the New Year's Eve menu, pay attention to the culinary preferences of your guests or ask your guests to create a buffet together, to which everyone contributes something. Turn your resolution into a motto for the sustainable New Year's Eve party, for example: "Healthy and vegan into the New Year". Also, prefer local fruits and vegetables over tropical foods and donate to over-bought foods charitable organizations.
Avoid disposable tableware and paper napkins and use cloth napkins and china or bamboo tableware instead. Plastic straws are definitely a thing of the past and can now be replaced by glass or paper straws. Pay attention to unnecessary ones when shopping recycled packaging.
3. DIY sustainable New Year decoration
For ecological reasons, you don't have to do without confetti on New Year's Eve. Homemade confetti from different colored leaves are a nice winter activity with children that can be ideally combined with a walk. Garlands can also be easily tinkered with old newspapers or magazines and hung on twine. When decorating, make sure no plastic and instead DIY or alternatives sustainable materials how to use paper.
4. Good luck charms: wax casting and fortune cookie oracle
Happiness is the main wish for the new year. Numerous lucky oracles and lucky charms are available as souvenirs on New Year's Eve. Instead of giving away grown lucky clover with a chimney sweep in a plastic pot, bake fortune cookies with little messages. Wax casting is also an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic lead casting.
For this purpose, candle wax residues are heated in a spoon over a candle flame and poured into a water bowl. Discover imaginative figures by projecting the cooled wax onto the wall in the shadow of the candlelight. There are also alphabetical lists with symbolic meanings for the wax figures. Be careful when buying the candles Make sure that these are ecological and contain no paraffin or stearin, which are usually made from palm oil.
5. Toast at midnight
Cocktails also taste good in winter and enhance the evening on New Year's Eve. You can find great recipes for winter drinks, for example here . When the glasses clink at the party at midnight to toast the New Year, there are often not enough champagne flutes available. Our tip: collect preserving jars and integrate them into the table decorations. Put a rolled piece of paper with a personal New Year's message in each glass. At midnight the glasses can be refilled and the messages read out.
Also provide non-alcoholic alternatives for children and adults. Warm the hearts of your guests with homemade, warm punch made from apple and grape juice, fresh apple strips, almonds and cinnamon. Non-alcoholic alternatives are, for example, gingerberries, non-alcoholic cocktails or drinks with 0% alcohol.
6. Virtual dining
Unfortunately, this year the gathering is only possible to a limited extent in many countries. Nevertheless you can with a digital party celebrate, organize a digital dinner or toast with friends and family digitally. There are also now digital games that you can play online together. A motto party or a crime thriller dinner are also a digital change.
7. Review, reflection and anticipation
The turn of the year is the ideal time to look back on the past year and to consciously remind us of positive and negative experiences. A nice way to end the old year is to write down for ourselves what we are thankful for. If we take a closer look, we often find that it is not only the positive things that bring us forward, because it is often the challenges in life that make us grow.
The return to the old year therefore tells us which areas of our lives we should particularly keep an eye on and where we can support and develop ourselves in the new year in order to be grateful and fulfilled at the end of the year. With this in mind, we wish all readers a contemplative happy new year.