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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.