Will the holiday season fast approaching; you may be considering hosting a party or family function at your home. Entertaining your guests doesn’t have to come at the cost of Mother Nature though. You can go green this holiday season when planning your functions.

Here are a few tips to stay green while entertaining your guests.

Break out the China

Okay, it doesn’t have to be your finest China, but please skip the disposable plates and utensils. Either opt for a more formal setting if you already have enough dinnerware, or consider using a product like Preserve. Preserve has a very low cost “everyday” line that looks much like your typical plastic plate; however, it can be used hundreds of times and still look brand new. Simply wash and reuse. Another added benefit of Preserve is that their products are made of #5 recycled plastic.

Decorate

If you plan on decorating your home or party venue, skip the cheap paper décor. I know the paper wreaths and pumpkins can be tempting, but you can still decorate on a budget with more eco-friendly products. For a sophisticated look you can use natural items in your decorations. Many items straight from Mother Nature offer beautiful options for home decoration. Items such as acorns, gourds, nuts, and dried branches can make beautiful centerpieces or place settings. Martha Stewart is the queen of entertaining and she has lots of green décor ideas. I love the Nut Wreath.

The Food

The first thing is don’t over portion. The holidays are known for waste and food is a high waste item at many parties. Learn how to estimate your food amount for your party. You don’t want hungry guests, but you also don’t want large quantities of leftover food either. If you are hosting a charity event or large corporate party and think you may end up with leftover food, have a plan in place for guests to take home leftovers or partner with a local food pantry. Many food pantries will happily accept your leftover food items (even cooked items). However, many food pantries cannot accept all items. Call the pantry ahead of time and find out what items they will be able to use.

For your dishes, choose locally grown or organic products when possible.

Wine

Holiday parties can also mean you will be looking to purchase wine for your event. Consider purchasing your wine from a local winery. Believe it or not, but all 50 states have wineries. Locate your local winery here.

Want something more casual, check out local breweries for great local beers.

Skip the Paper Invites

If possible, email your invitations instead of using traditional paper ones. You will not only save some trees, but also a significant amount of money. Here are some great sites that you can use to make beautiful virtual invitations.

If you must send traditional invitations consider using a recycled or sustainably produced product.

Clean Up

Use green cleaning products to clean up your mess.

As you can see, green entertaining doesn’t have to be a headache. It can be fun, exciting, practical, and easy. What green entertaining ideas do you plan on using this holiday season?