by LiveLighter,


End-of-year gatherings with family, friends and colleagues are a great way to celebrate the holidays and the year's achievements. However, the costs of hosting an event – whether at home or in a venue – can add up quickly.

We’ve put together our top ideas for hosting a no-fuss and healthy celebration in your local park that’s budget-friendly and suitable for guests of all ages.

Catering for the gathering

 For outdoor gatherings like picnics, aim to provide food that is easy for people to eat while standing up and doesn’t mind being out of the fridge for a few hours on a warm day.

Ask your guests to each bring a plate of food to share so the costs and responsibility of catering are split amongst the group. Here’s some delicious and nutritious dishes that fit the bill

Zucchini slice

Is iconic picnic fare, and perfect for this time of year with zucchinis being in season. Our recipe is a ripper!

Zucchini Slice

Rainbow Pasta Salad

Tastes great cool on a summer’s day, can be made in 30 minutes, and is packed full of colourful vegetables, which are often missed at events.

Rainbow pasta salad

Easy Popcorn

Will be a fan favourite with kids and adult guests alike.

Popcorn in bowl

Pro tip: add dried fruit and nuts and create a healthy trail mix. 

Healthy Date and Muesli Slice

Is a healthy alternative that will go down a treat with the younger guests and add a sweet element to the Christmas spread.

Date and Muesli Slice

The drinks station

Set up a drinks station where everyone can help themselves to plain or fancy water. Sliced citrus water, or other fruits or herbs in sparkling water will keep everyone hydrated throughout the event and feeling fresh the next day.

See here for more healthy drink ideas. 


Fun and games

Playing games at a gathering is a great opportunity to get everyone moving and having fun together!


A scavenger hunt will get the minds working and guests moving. This activity will involve some pre-planning and knowledge of the area to organise, but your efforts will be thoroughly enjoyed by the young and young at heart! 

Kids wearing hats looking at map

  • Backyard cricket is a game everyone can participate in and can be played almost anywhere. See here our handy guide to the rules.
  • Lawn games like giant Jenga, finska or bocce are always a hit too.

When outdoors, remind guests to be SunSmart. Set up under a shady tree or a marquee and provide sunscreen for guests to use.

Wasteless gift exchange

If your gathering involves gifts, host a wasteless Kris Kringle so everyone only needs to provide one gift, cutting back the cost and stress of buying multiple presents. You can even ask guests to gift something homemade such as ingredient jars or potted plants. 

  • Our food gifts article lists tasty and affordable ideas to show your creativity and appreciation for your family, friends, and colleagues. 
  • Set up a festive card-making station at the gathering with old Christmas cards, scissors, glue, and colourful pens. This will keep the kids entertained while providing unique card designs so there’s no need to go out and buy new ones!

Got cheap and cheerful holiday ideas? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. Happy holidays everyone!

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