This post has nothing to do with the Political Green Party of Canada and a lot to do with just plain old parities- particularly children's birthday parties (which really, my only experience with those were when I was a child.)
I was reading my way through the newspaper this morning and came across an article about something called a Green Party that a young boy in Vancouver had. Having sent out invites to 20 of his closest friends he had made one special remark "Bring money, not toys". The money was to go to the charity of the birthday boys choice.
A month before the mother had sat down with her son to talk about his birthday- she had asked him if he really did think that he needed 20 more new toys and that a Green Giving Party might be a nice alternative. He agreed and already knew the charity that he wanted to contribute too, he picked Malaria No More, a charity dedicated to providing mosquito nets to families in Africa, where a million children die each year from malaria.
Everything was outline in the invites about the purpose of a Green Party and what the charity of choice was. The birthday boy was so into it that he even asked his relatives to follow the same gift giving guidelines and ended up donating over $250 to the cause. Another bonus of the party was cleanup was a snap- rather then having piles of plastic, bows and wrapping paper all they had left at the end of it was a handful of envelopes.
The trick to making this work is first and foremost ensuring that the child is on board. That they make the choices and it's not forced on them by a parent. I think this installs a healthy sense of empathy at an early age which is vital to existing in this world. It teaches the child as well that they have enough and live in abundance just the way things are.
Tips for Having a Green Giving Party:
The Giving Party
Have the birthday child choose a social cause and ask guests to bring a donation in lieu of gifts. Half the collected amount will be donated to a cause or organization chosen by the birthday child, while the other half is for him or her to choose a meaningful gift.
Use the Internet and e-mail sites like http://www.evite.com/ or http://www.pingg.com/. If your child is more of a traditionalist, there are wonderful handmade papers embedded with seeds that can be planted after it's been used.
Consider one "thank you" item that will be remembered and used months or years to come.
Great ideas are practical items that parents appreciate such as stainless steel water bottles, books about nature and the environment, sketch books and pencil crayons for their stories and pictures.
Green Planet Parties