How to Host a Budget-Friendly Holiday Party

The holidays are the perfect time to gather with family and friends. Hosting a holiday party is a great way to gather together with the important people in your life. But let's face it... this time of year gets expensive and most of us won't be getting a money tree for Christmas. Luckily, a memorable holiday party doesn't have to be extravagant or costly.

Here are some ideas for putting together a budget-friendly holiday party.

• Co-host a party with a friend, neighbor, or family member. If you work with someone else, your bills and workload will be cut in half.

• Choose a theme for your party. Not all holiday parties are fancy dinner parties. You can have a cookie exchange, a caroling party, a hot chocolate and doughnut party, an ugly sweater party, a holiday movie marathon, a Christmas breakfast buffet... there are so many fun ideas!

• Keep the invitations simple. In this day and age, it is perfectly acceptable to send invitations over e-mail or via Facebook.

• Consider a buffet-style party with easy food. Rather than putting together a complicated meal, serve guests appetizers, drinks, and desserts.

• Skip the alcohol and serve a holiday punch. (See recipe below).

• Visit dollar stores and thrift stores to help with decorations. Oh the possibilities with glass jars, candles, ornaments, and glitter!

• Plan no cost entertainment. If you want your party to be more than mingling, you could sing Christmas carols, play Christmas charades, watch a holiday movie, read a favorite Christmas story, have guests share their favorite holiday memories.... again, so many possibilities!

• In lieu of party favors, consider a white elephant or themed gift exchange.

• Let your guests help. People usually offer to bring something when they are invited to a party—take them up on it! Any help with food will keep the costs down.

I have an aunt and uncle who have hosted a Christmas open-house at their home for the past 18 years. They invite friends and neighbors to come and feel the spirit of Christmas in their home. Each guest brings a potluck dish to share. My aunt provides the drinks by making a pot of her delicious holiday punch. The event is casual and low-key, but enjoyed by all who attend. Who says holiday hosting has to be hard on your budget? Happy holidays!

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    Cristina Duke
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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