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Green PartyIf you’re planning a baby shower and want to add a touch of green to the pink or blue, look no further. These ideas keep the party’s carbon footprint low and help the growing family start off on an environmentally friendly foot.

Invitations

Eliminate paper

It’s the greenest way to go: For free, super-cute online invites, check out paperlesspost.com (their invitations even come with virtual envelopes) and pingg.com, which has great designs and allows you to upload custom images.

Or go for recycled

Love those paper invites too much to skip them altogether? Look for a recycled brand like MyGoodGreetings (mygoodgreetings.com).

Decorations

Hang a cute clothesline

Gather gently used (but clean!) baby clothes, burp cloths, and bibs in complementary hues and patterns. Use clothespins to hang them on a line—after the party’s over, the décor turns into a gift for the mom-to-be.

Bring in the green

Decorate with small potted herbs—they can double as party favors.

Add to her natural glow

Place soy or natural beeswax candles in repurposed glass jars, with the labels cleaned off. A variety of sizes will give you a nice eclectic feel; if you (or the mom-to-be) are the more orderly type, go for one large pasta sauce jar in the middle of the table, and add just one or two additional, matching jelly jars on either side.

Refreshments

Make your party meatless

Some options that’ll be sure to please a crowd: quiche, a create-your-own salad bar, or granola and yogurt parfaits. For more great meat-free recipe ideas, click here.

Serve a mocktail made from organic juices

One that has just the right feel for a shower? A pineapple julep: In a pitcher, combine 12 ounces of seltzer with 4 ounces of simple syrup (sugar dissolved in an equal amount of hot water), then mash a few chunks of pineapple and add them to the pitcher. Top each glass with a sprig of mint.

Go natural with treats

Keep things simple by using healthier mixes. For muffins and banana bread: Try Truly Organic Baking (trulyorganicbaking.com). For cookies: Immaculate Baking Company (immaculatebaking.com) makes yummy organic cookie dough that’s pre-portioned so you just have to break it apart and bake it up; Purely Elizabeth (purelyelizabeth.com) offers vegan, gluten-free mixes that are full of nutritious ingredients—and still completely delicious. For cupcakes or cake: Cherrybrook Kitchen (cherrybrookkitchen.com) and Pamela’s Products (pamelasproducts.com) both make tasty, natural, and allergy-friendly mixes and frostings.

Green PartyGifts

Organize greener gift-giving

Many eco-conscious moms-to-be want to receive hand-me-downs or used gear, but since gift registries are usually based on buying new items, managing who’s giving- what can be a nightmare for the shower host. Here’s how to make it simpler: Help the expecting mom create a wish list, then post it on a private Facebook group. Guests can add a comment when they’ve decided to give one of the items, and when you have a moment, you can delete it from the master list. You can also do this with a Yahoo! group or a blog—just keep the mom-to-be away to she doesn’t see what she’s getting! (Check cpsc.gov for recalls on used cribs, car seats, and other equipment.)

Help guests help her

For anyone wondering what to give, offer these suggestions: Gift certificates for dinner delivery (sendameal.com) or prepared meals that can be picked up (dreamdinners.com). For a great group gift, set up a “We’re here to help!” schedule at carecalendar.org: It’s a great way to organize who can pitch in by bringing meals, driving to appointments, babysitting older kids, and more. Pump up your greeting cards. For longer-lasting card, ask each guest to bing and sign a board book for the baby.

Wrap smart

Look for eco-friendly paper: Green Field Paper (greenfieldpaper. com) makes 100 percent recycled paper with adorable, chic designs, and the seed embedded paper from Little Kay Gardens (littlekaygardens.com) can be planted after the party to grow into wildflowers. Or, opt for creative gift wrap: consider organic bamboo baby blankets and towels (satsumadesigns.com), a baby sling (gypsymama.com), or colorful, reusable totes (envirosax.com).

Favors

Grow with baby

End the party by handing out seed packets with baby themes, such as Pumpkin Baby Boo or Sunflower Baby Bear (burpee.com).

Keep it clean

Hand out mini hand sanitizers for when it’s time to visit the baby. Go alcohol-free with CleanWell (cleanwelltoday.com) or try one made with organic ingredients like those from EO Products (eoproducts.com). You can also make your own and put it in pretty bottles.

Delight them with chocolate

You can’t go wrong with a sweet treat. Fill fabric snack sacks (snacktaxi.com) with organic, fair trade chocolate (equalexchange.coop) for a perfect party send-off.

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