Low Impact Festivals and Parties

We hope that these ideas will help make the festivals and parties that are organised by individuals or groups around the district more sustainable. This is a summary of the ideas from the Our Planet Our Future evening event held in 2018.


  • If you buy decorations, try charity shops first or buy ones made from wood or other natural materials
  • Make origami or wooden tree decorations
  • Make edible tree decorations, gingerbread, dried orange slices
  • Make your own wreaths and decorations using plants from the garden
  • Swap decorations with friends rather than buying new ones
  • Buy a living tree with roots in a pot & then keep it in the garden during the year.
  • Buy low energy LEDs or solar lights if you need new ones
  • Swap decorations with friends rather than buying new ones
Sending greetings
  • Ring people you don’t see very often rather than send a card
  • Send eCards or email
  • Sending fewer cards, and particularly only to people not going to see over the festival period – using time save to include personal messages for those people.
  • Buy cards made from recycled materials, supporting charities and recycle them
  • Deliver local cards on foot or bike
  • Recycle postage stamps (eg at the Keech Hospice shops)
  • Adopt the No unnecessary buying of gifts pact (see Martin Lewis video)
  • Arrange a “secret santa” or use “secret santa” app where you can give ideas about what you’d like to receive
Gifts that you can make or provide
  • Chocolates, biscuits, vinegars, chutneys, jams, cakes, mince pies
  • Spirits with foraged fruits
  • Homemade crafts, personalised calendars, books of your favourite recipes
  • Gifts of time, eg babysitting, lifts in car, pet sitting, DIY, decorating or gardening
Gifts that you buy
  • Sponsorships, eg Toilet Twinning, Woodland Trust tree dedications
  • Charity gifts eg Oxfam Unwrapped
  • Gifts of experiences, event tickets, memberships, subscriptions or meals out
  • Buy gifts from local independent shops (eg The Refill Pantry), charity shops or eBay
Wrapping and packaging
  • Turn last year’s seasonal cards into this year’s gift tags, bags or boxes
  • Wrap using recycled brown paper, fabric or magazines, with string and a sprig of eg eucalyptus
  • Use re-usable furoshiki wrappings (traditional Japanese wrapping cloths)
  • Keep hold of useful boxes and bags during December to help with wrapping
  • Save the wrapping paper to use again
  • Use a decorated pillow case for children’s presents
  • Make a Christmas stockings or use sports sock for children’s Christmas stockings
Food and drink
  • Plan your meals including planning to use your leftovers
  • Minimise your packaging by buying ingredients at The Refill Pantry
  • Make your own mulled wine, mince pies, cakes and puddings
  • Buy veg from local growers – see the Local Food Map from FoodSmiles St Albans
  • Make your Christmas pudding or festive cake as a family activity
  • Have some vegan meals, with additional bonus that they keep longer so reducing potential food waste



With thanks to The Harpenden Arms in Harpenden for supporting this series of events.