Gifts, Party Favors, and More
In keeping with the green theme, ask guests to carefully consider the type of present they choose to welcome the new baby—and how the gift is presented.
"Gifts for a green baby shower are ideally purchased or made with the baby and the planet in mind," says Colwell-Lipson. "Organic cotton, wool, silk, or hemp clothing and bedding, sustainably sourced toys and furniture and eco-wise accessories are easy to find online and come in a spectrum of prices. Before buying baby lotions and potions, check with Environmental Working Group's cosmetic database to be sure the products you're giving are gentle and nontoxic. Even products labeled as organic and natural may contain ingredients you may want to think twice about giving."
Colwell-Lipson recommends parents make it easier for guests by signing up for one of many green gift registries available online. Or for those who already have everything they need, a gift card from TisBest.com allows the family to donate to a charity of their choice.
Other wonderful—and highly covetable gifts—include gift certificates for cloth diaper service, a green housecleaning service, or organic food delivery, Colwell says. "Guests talented with a needle and thread can make a quilt from squares of baby clothes that were worn by their babies or make a baby bonnet from a vintage hankie," she says. "Instructions for how to make a hankie bonnet are on CelebrateGreen.net. But also don't forget the gift of you: babysitting, meals, photography, helping an older child, etc."
"Ask for gently used gifts, such as books and toys, instead of having everyone buy brand-new things," says Miles Terry. "And ask guests to either not wrap their presents or reuse wrapping or gift bags."
Colwell-Lipson loves it when guests opt to wrap gifts in 100-percent recycled paper (EcoJot.com is a favorite), or use seed-embedded paper, which will bloom into flowers when planted. "There is also tree-free wrapping paper made from sources like banana peels, and of course, saved/salvaged paper," she says. "Online, you also can find a wonderful selection of sustainable cloth and jute bags. We like those from BringitinaBag.com."
Then don't neglect to thank your company in a thoughtful, green manner. Miles Terry advises sending your guests home with the gift of green—perhaps a sapling tree they can plant, or some seeds for their garden—in a canvas tote, of course.
Colwell-Lipson also likes customized organic seed packets (such as baby carrots or baby bok choy), handmade sachets crafted from gently used baby clothes and filled with dried lavender or baby rose plants in customized tin cans or baby food jars. "My favorite? Send guests home with a 100-percent beeswax votive in a glass jar," she says. "Customize the jar with a poem, a blessing, or whatever you like, and let guests know that someone will notify them when the baby is born so that all of the candles can be lit in unison."
Beyond the Baby Shower
But once your happy guests and mom-to-be have departed, don't let the green stop there. "Cleaning green is important to the environment, not to mention to your family members and guests," Colwell-Lipson says. "Steer clear of toxic cleaners and air fresheners. Instead choose all-natural cleaners from trusted companies such as Seventh Generation, or make your own cleaners and use do-it-yourself natural air fresheners, such as boiled lemon slices and vanilla extract or spritzing lavender or rose water."