Rethink New Year's traditions and test new ideas. With our tips for a sustainable New Year's Eve party, you will start the new year with the best resolutions already
Text by Viola Haderlein
We take the upcoming turn of the year as an opportunity to rethink environmentally harmful New Year's traditions and open ourselves to alternatives. With our creative ideas for a sustainable New Year's Eve celebration, you enter the new year with the best resolutions that you can implement immediately.
Every year, we traditionally say goodbye to the old year with New Year's Eve fireworks. This was originally intended to drive away evil spirits and start the new year with joyful anticipation.
In Germany alone, around 137 million euros are literally burned per New Year's Eve. This increases fine dust pollution considerably, causes fires and does damage to humans as well as animals. Thus, the new year is often started on a muddy mountain of rubbish.
6 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 - The amount of fine dust generated by the annual New Year's fireworks is around 16 percent of the annual emissions caused by road traffic. That is why the DUH (German Environmental Aid) and an active petition are calling for a general ban on fireworks. Partial success has already been achieved because some German cities have banned pyrotechnics on New Year's Eve.
The garbage piles of the remains of fireworks on sidewalks and in green areas are an unpleasant by-product which is taken along into the new year. Duds and black powder residues are dangerous for pedestrians and animals.
Our alternatives to polluting firecrackers:
For future celebrations, laser shows, such as the one in Landshut, are a sustainable alternative to create fascinating light magic without environmental pollution. If you have a garden, you can also collect wood and invite friends around the campfire or the fire bowl.
Those, who prefer to invest money in meaningful projects can also support fundraising campaigns such as “bread instead of firecrackers”, “trees instead of firecrackers” or “water instead of firecrackers”. If you simply cannot imagine New Year's Eve without fireworks, a look at neighboring European countries may help. Lots of our European focus less on loud fireworks and more on culinary explosions and social interaction.
2. DIY New Year's decoration
Avoiding confetti on New Year's Eve is not necessary for ecological reasons. Homemade eco-confetti made from different colored leaves is a nice winter activity with children, that can be ideally combined with a walk.
Garlands can also be easily made from old newspapers or magazines and hung on twine. When decorating, be sure not to use plastic and instead DIY or use alternatives made from sustainable materials.
3. Good luck charms: wax casting and fortune cookie oracle
Happiness is the most common wish for the new year. Numerous lucky oracles and lucky charms are traditionally integral to New Year's Eve. Instead of giving away a lucky clover with a chimney sweep in a plastic pot, we prefer to bake fortune cookies with little messages.
Wax casting is also an inexpensive and environmentally friendly alternative to toxic lead casting. You can even follow the same procedure: Heat up candle wax remains in a spoon by holding it over a candle. Then, pour it into a water bowl. Discover imaginative figures by projecting the cooled wax on the wall in the shadow of the candlelight.
There are even alphabetical lists on the net which explain symbolic meanings for the wax figures to you. When buying the candles, make sure that they are ecological and do not contain paraffin or stearin, which is usually made from palm oil.
4. Regional banquet for everyone
Note the culinary preferences of your guests before planning your New Year's Eve menu or ask them to create a buffet together and everyone contributes something. You can also turn your resolutions into a motto, for example: "Healthy and vegan into the new year".
Also, prefer regional fruits and vegetables over tropical foods and donate over-bought foods to charities.
Further, avoid disposable tableware and paper napkins and use cloth napkins and porcelain or bamboo tableware instead. Plastic straws are definitely so (at least) last year and can easily be replaced by glass or paper straws. Pay attention to unnecessary packaging when shopping and avoid plastic.
5. Toast at midnight
Cocktails are always a good idea and enhance the festivity on New Year's Eve. You can find nice recipes for winter drinks, for example here.
When the glasses are meant to clink at midnight to celebrate the New Year, there are often not enough champagne flutes available. Our tip: Collect mason jars and integrate them into the table decoration. Put a rolled note with a personal New Year's message in each jar. At midnight the glasses can be refilled and the messages read out.
Also provide non-alcoholic alternatives for children and adults. Warm your guests' hearts with homemade, warm punch made from apple and grape juice, fresh apple strips, almonds and cinnamon. Alcohol-free alternatives are gingerberry, alcohol-free cocktails or drinks with 0% alcohol.
6. Review, reflection and anticipation
The turn of the year is the ideal time to look back on the past year and consciously remember positive as well as negative experiences. At this point, it is productive and prescient to write down what you are thankful for. If you take a closer look, you will 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.