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 to open ourselves to alternatives. With our creative ideas for a sustainable New Year's Eve celebration, you greet the New Year gently and 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 greet the new year with anticipation.
In Germany alone, around 137 million euros are literally burned per New Year's Eve. The fine dust pollution increases considerably, and there are also fires and damage to humans and animals. The New Year is often greeted with muddy mountains 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, because the amount of fine dust generated by the annual New Year's fireworks is around 16 percent of the annual emissions from 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 can give us a proverbial “happy new year”. Duds and black powder residues are also dangerous for pedestrians and animals.
Our alternatives to polluting firecrackers:
A sustainable solution for the future is the fascinating light magic without environmental pollution in the form of laser shows such as in Landshut. If you have a garden, you collect wood in good time and invite friends around the campfire or the fire bowl.
And those who prefer to invest their money in meaningful projects can also support fundraising campaigns such as “bread instead of firecrackers”, “trees instead of firecrackers” or “water instead of firecrackers”. For those who still cannot imagine New Year's Eve without fireworks, a look at neighboring European countries may help. For example, at the turn of the year our neighbors focus less on loud fireworks and more on culinary explosions and social interaction.
2. DIY New Year's decoration
For ecological reasons, avoiding confetti on New Year's Eve does not have to be. Homemade eco-confetti made from different colored leaves is a nice winter activity with children, which 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 use DIY or alternatives made from sustainable materials.
3. Good luck charms: wax casting and fortune cookie oracle
Happiness is the main wish for the new year. Numerous lucky oracles and lucky charms offer themselves as souvenirs on New Year's Eve. Instead of giving away lucky clover with 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. For this, candle wax remains are heated in a spoon over a candle flame and poured into a water bowl. Discover imaginative figures by projecting the cooled wax on the wall in the shadow of the candlelight.
For this purpose there are alphabetical lists on the net with symbolic meanings for the wax figures. 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 during the New Year's Eve menu or ask your guests to create a buffet together, to which everyone contributes something. Make your motto a motto for the New Year's Eve party, for example: "Healthy and vegan into the new year".
Also, prefer regional fruits and vegetables to tropical foods and donate over-bought foods to charities.
Also avoid disposable tableware and paper napkins and instead use cloth napkins and porcelain or bamboo tableware. Plastic straws are definitely a thing of the past and can now 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 clink at the midnight party 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 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 to consciously remind us of positive and negative experiences. A nice way to end the old year is to write down for ourselves what we are thankful for. If we take a closer look, we often 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.