Winter party season - the green survival guide!
Follow our eco party-going tips to negotiate the rocky shores of Christmas and New Year indulgence and you'll sail through this year's festivities with flying colours.
Organise transport with family and friends
If you're going to be attending the same party as folks who live near you, why not put your heads together and work out a designated driver, public transport plan or taxi share in advance, so you're not scrambling to make individual arrangements at the end of the night?
Think ahead and line your stomach before drinking
Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster and a fair few embarrassing photos on Facebook the next morning...
Foods with a high natural fat content, such as sustainable salmon, mackerel, yoghurt, cheese, nuts, olives, mayonnaise and avocado, help slow down the rate of digestion in the stomach and therefore slow alcohol absorption in the bloodstream.
So, if you know the corks at the office party will start popping at 4pm, don't rely on an emergency chocolate bar - think ahead and pack a quick meal of high fat healthy foods to eat beforehand. No photocopier shenanigans for you!
Greener drinking... without ending up green in the morning
Overconsumption is always in the news in the run up to Christmas and New Year's Eve, so we won't go over that well-trodden ground, except to point you at NHS advice and to recommend the old tip of alternating a glass of water with each alcoholic drink! Make it tap water instead of bottled for a cheaper, extra eco evening.
As this is a green guide, we'd add an extra piece of encouragement: cut the carbon footprint of your winter party season by drinking local brews where possible. Opt for British and European wines and fizz, local beers and British-distilled spirits.
Help with the recycling
Office parties, in particular, tend to develop organically with no one really taking charge once the glasses start clinking. If you can, set up a couple of labelled recycling boxes near the drinks table so that glass bottles and aluminium cans get separated from the rest of the party mess as you go along.
Say yes to leftovers
Generous party hosts will often end up with a tableful of lightly grazed snacks at the end of the night and begin offering 'doggy bags' to the guests as they leave. Accept anything that takes your fancy, especially if the food may go to waste otherwise.
>> Toast leftover nuts and add them to curries and stir fries.
>> Half-eaten bags of crisps, crackers and pretzels can be frozen for freshness, crushed and used as a tasty crunchy topping for baked dishes.
>> Many sandwiches, cakes and puddings can be frozen for up to three months.
When you get back home
If you've been drinking, start the rehydration process with a couple of glasses of tap water before you sink into bed. You'll thank yourself in the morning!
The morning after
Thought you were on for a swift couple of drinks and an early night? The best laid plans, eh?
When suffering the effects of an intense night before, rehydration is the key. Drink lots of water through the day to get rid of that headache. Bear in mind that very cold water can 'shock' a delicate stomach and leave you feeling even rougher, so go for a glass of lukewarm tap water or a peppermint tea initially.
Avoid junk food (and all that excess packaging) - your body's already trying to process the 'junk' in your system from the night before. Try something simple and nourishing for breakfast, such as porridge or a boiled egg.
If your hangover is accompanied by a dicky tummy, no need to buy expensive rehydration sachets, we can mix up home versions from our kitchen cupboards that are to all intents and purposes the same (plus zero waste!):
>> Home rehydration salts: Dissolve six level teaspoons of sugar and a half level teaspoon of salt in a litre of warm tap water. Adding a little juice or squash can make the solution taste more palatable. Sip slowly and take things easy!