By Militza Maury

Here's how to plan a fun, stress-free and eco-friendly Christmas or New Year's Eve party!

1. Go easy on the disposables.
It’s always best to serve proper cutlery and plates at your party, but if you need disposables, choose something that is eco-friendly and still elegant. We like the sugarcane bagasse tableware and birchwood cutlery from Or support local with Disposable China by The Local at www.

To avoid disposables, pick up an inexpensive set of white plates, glasses and cutlery (try Ikea). Put them in a clear storage box, and label it “dinner partyware” for future use.

2. Try simple and natural decorations.
Candles can create a great ambience, but make sure to burn only soya or beeswax, as paraffin is toxic. Try Soy Lites candles at www.puravida-life. com or eco-friendly candles at

For beautiful table displays, shop your house for decorations that you can use. For example, repurpose a milk jug as a vase. Instead of flowers that will wilt, get small succulents as table decorations, place settings or takeaway gifts for guests.

A great way to serve food is on wooden chopping boards. Pick up beautiful, sustainable boards from For the kids, make them placemats out of sheets of recycled brown paper from Art Friend, and place a few crayons or colour pencils for them to draw with. Try www. for eco-friendly options.

3. Use good ingredients.
The best way to guarantee a great meal is to buy the best ingredients. Fresh pasta with a drizzle of goodquality olive oil and shavings of Romano cheese will make for a restaurant-quality dish. Visit The Butcher or Oh Deli for sustainable meat and gourmet-quality ingredients. Check out the Kranji Farmer’s Market for locally made ingredients, and make a delicious curry dish with Mekhala’s organic curry paste.

4 Keep your menu healthy.
You want your guests to feel good after they leave your home! Serve a whole-food meal and skip the chips and sugary desserts. This is our menu recommendation:

A mezza platter of olives, good-quality feta cheese, marinated cherry tomatoes and fresh dips such as hummus. Serve with veggie sticks and pita bread.
Reduce the amount of meat you serve, or go vegetarian! Look for recipes that you can make ahead of time (such as lasagna) so that you’re not stuck in the kitchen all night.
Serve a parfait buffet; it’s easy on you and fun for your guests. Put together a platter of various cut-up fruit with Greek yogurt, honey and nuts, and allow guests to create their own refreshing parfait bowls.
Simply fill jugs with water, fruit and herbs. Try these combos: pineapple and mint; cucumber slices and lemon; basil and strawberry slices.

5. Serve organic and sustainable ingredients.
Make a point of serving a good organic wine, and use sustainable and organic or local produce. Let your guests know that the food they’re eating was sourced and made with love – it might inspire them to do the same. For a delicious sustainable wine, try Peter Yealands Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (found at Fairprice Finest).

[Photo: Steven Krug/CORBIS]