Skip to content
Home » Low impact parties & events

Low impact parties & events

We hope that these ideas will help make the events, 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.

Featured image is Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash


  • 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 paper streamers, garlands or banners
  • 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 in a pot & 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
  • Swap reusable kid’s tableware with friends for children’s parties

Sending greetings

  • Ring people you don’t see very often rather than send a card
  • Send eCards or email
  • Send fewer cards, particularly only to people you won’t see over the festival period – using time saved to include personal messages
  • Buy cards made from recycled materials, supporting charities and recycle them
  • Deliver local cards on foot or bike
  • Recycle postage stamps (e.g. 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
  • If you have children, use the 4 gift guide: “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read”
  • Pool together with friends to buy more significant, requested gifts for birthdays

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 or services e.g. babysitting, lifts, pet sitting, DIY, decorating or gardening

Gifts that you buy

  • Sponsorships, e.g. Toilet Twinning, Woodland Trust & Trees for Life tree dedications
  • Charity gifts e.g. Oxfam Unwrapped
  • Gifts of experiences, event tickets, memberships, subscriptions or meals out
  • Buy gifts from local independent shops (e.g. The Refill Pantry), charity shops or eBay

Wrapping and packaging

  • Turn last year’s cards into this year’s gift tags, bags or boxes
  • Wrap using recycled brown paper, fabric or magazines, with string and a sprig of evergreen
  • Decorate paper bags instead of using plastic party bags
  • Use re-usable furoshiki wraps (traditional Japanese wrapping cloths)
  • Keep 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 stocking or use sports sock for stockings

Food and drink

  • Plan your meals including 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