We had so many people at the party, I simply did not have enough plates and cloth napkins to accomodate them. So this, I decided, is when it's okay to use paper products. I found festive Chinet plates that were made from recyclable materials and were biodegradable. I bought recycled paper napkins. I even brought the paper towels out from under the sink where I hide them out of site. I did use real silverware (well - not real silver, but you know what I mean).
When I was planning the party, I started to think about how I could make the entire party green. I'm becoming known as the "green" expert in my circle of friends, and I didn't want to seem like a hypocrite by using paper products. But then I thought about how making the entire party green would be difficult. And I didn't want my party to be difficult - I wanted it to be fun. I didn't want to stress over planning it, and I didn't want to stress while the party was happening.
Part of what I write about is finding a way to make green fit my lifestyle. I know that if I don't, I'll probably give up somewhere along the way. So I decided to do the best I could. I made the decision to use some paper products, and you know what? In the end we used about 30 recycled, biodegradable plates, 50 recycled paper napkins, and perhaps 1/4 of roll of paper towels. That is not so bad considering that the rest of the year, I'm very diligent about not using paper products.
So this Christmas season, as you are getting ready for guests, give yourself a break. If you must use some paper products, find the most eco-friendly ones you can, and then just let it go. Enjoy the party.