Zero-waste and birthdays don't necessarily go hand in hand. Growing up birthdays weren't a HUGE deal: we grew up with the idea that it's a special day for you but not for everyone. Of course we want to celebrate the birth of our babies (mainly so I can re-live every second of the labour and birth with everyone all day😂) but in an eco-friendly way. So what do we do to lessen the excess but still have amazing birthdays?
Cards When Squishy was one we got him a birthday interview book so instead of cards, every year we interview him (and now Red has her own of course) and include a birthday photo and their 'signature.' The idea is to do this every year and then we'll give it to them when they're 18. I love looking back on the each birthday at how much they've changed and it is a beautiful momento to give them rather than keeping all their cards.
Presents Presents for the kids are either preloved toys, nicer clothes/things they need which are more expensive or experiences.
This year Red got a wooden rainbow house, a wooden tea set, some books and a tablet. Squishy got an easel with learning accessories, jigsaws, books, a Toy Story Woody and Bullseye and some new clothes.
Presents for the grown ups tend to be preloved books and clothes, handmade items (I got a beautiful blanket made by a friend for my last birthday), a subscription (usually gin or beer!) or an experience such as a tickets to an event or a child-free afternoon out. You can leave presents unwrapped, use reusable cloth bags or furoshiki wrapping for presents too.
Parties We still party and celebrate in style. We use reusable banners, foil balloons that can be reinflated (on everyone's birthday!), paper poms poms and woollen/fabric bunting. For their celebration we make it special with lights and bubbles rather than balloons and glitter and have reusable party tableware and reusable pass the parcel. On the big day we tend to do a family birthday treat, so a beach, park, zoo, play experience as a family or even a meal out (a rare treat for us!). Red even had an outdoor photoshoot for her first birthday.
Cake If I don't have time to make the cake, which I did last year but not this year, I use Olio to save a free birthday cake from landfill or you'll often find birthday cakes in the reduced section of the supermarket which can be frozen. Party food is also either reduced, homemade or saved from landfill.
So this how we do birthdays and all of this means birthdays still feel high value but with low waste and cost. 💚