Party Decorations That Will Save Money & Do Good

birthday bannerI have this annoying box in my storage area, and it’s full of re-usable party supplies: gift bags, themed paper plates, leftover goody-bag crap/swag, slightly wrinkled wrapping paper, odd lengths of ribbon, and a few banners that, at this point, say something more like HAPY BITHDY.

I am not giving up that box.

But I think there’s a better way -- reusable party decorations and goody bags that don’t instantly add to landfills.

And I think that even if each item is more than I'd pay for the disposable kind, the reuse more than makes up for the initial expense.
Would these ideas work for you?


Reusable Decorations
I am a sucker for rituals, traditions, and the word “redolent.” I have a particular memory of the oversized bulbs of my grandparents’ Christmas lights, and used to play a game of spotting the first robin of spring each year. I know, I’m a total cornball, but I want my kids to have that same excitement and security when they see familiar things year after year, so they can connect the dots of their childhood special events.
Here are some items I plan to add to our family’s Wa-Hoo! Party Supply Box:
-- A birthday banner (see above). Eventually, I’ll have “happy birthday” and a banner for each kid (and why not the adults, too?). They also make a terrific baby gift. $33 at
party hat-- Fabulous fabric party hats, especially if I could find ones like everyone wears in Little Bear’s Friend (a girl can dream, can’t she?) $8 at
-- A funny birthday crown that the birthday person has to put on each year. (Can you imagine a series of photos over several years? Squeal!) $9.99 at Party City

-- Perma-birthday plates! Set of four, $33.99 at Target
-- A gorgeous growth chart, also suitable for photographing beside every year! $22.95 at My Retro Baby

Of course, this made me wonder about those goody bags. Around here, they cause so much hand-wringing: Do I really have to provide bags full of crap for the kids to take away? And the answer comes back: Yes, birthday-Scrooge, get over it. But you don’t have to fill landfills, and you can make it a fun activity to boot:
Throw Pillows:
Each kid makes a drawing -- my niece used to make these amazing, elaborate flowers at her art class, and I loved them so much I scanned one in, printed it onto transfer paper, and ironed it onto a pillow-form for her. Your party can rage on as you do the scanning and ironing, and the kids can stuff and sew the pillows closed as an activity. They return home with something they can put on their beds, not in a landfill.
A friend’s kid went to a party where the mom provided cheap flatware from IKEA, and each kid put Fimo in whatever pattern she liked on the handles. The mom popped them in the oven, and by the end of the party, everyone had a deluxe set of flatware to bring home and use!
Bud Vases:
I’m in love with these cool-looking bud vases made from a balloon and a shot glass votive candleholder. Suuu-huper easy.
Do you dig re-usable party supplies?

Image via MadeByLisah/Etsy

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