Today’s fragile economy should not dampen your holiday spirits as you begin to think ahead about Christmas festivities. Christmas is a time when families and friends look forward to gathering together and enjoying each other’s company. The cost of the experience is not important the important thing is being together but times are tough as everyone can testify. There are countless ways to entertain family and friends and have Christmas on a Budget and still have that memorable holiday.
There are several affordable ideas that you might think about when you decide to host your Christmas party.
Christmas on a Budget: Timing
–Consider hosting your Christmas gathering in the early afternoon rather than the evening. Alcohol is one of the highest costs of dinner party. By having it early in the afternoon, alcohol consumption is less, or you may opt to serve non-alcoholic eggnog, sparkling water, juices, tea and coffee instead. Or if you and your guests would enjoy some “adult beverages,” think about a setting up a simple wine-tasting table. Another option is scheduling a party after 7:00 pm., where finger-food and simple desserts are fine.
–Shopping before Christmas in and around now can often work to your advantage. You find stores are only just putting food and Christmas delicacies on display so while there is no rush you may be able to find bargains. Also shopping just in the new year for those items like poppers decorations (which wont go out of date) can be cheap during clearance sales will help you get to Christmas on a budget!
–See what is in your pantry before you shop. You may be able to plan your menu around some of the food that you already have.
–Although we may enjoy planning and preparing a Christmas feast ourselves, don’t underestimate the fun of a pot-luck dinner. The hostess can still be responsible for the main entrée, but most guests will enjoy bringing appetizers, sides or desserts. Make sure they bring copies of the recipes they use for a recipe exchange.
–Sometimes, when we are buying food for our holiday parties, we are tempted by the special packaging that is often displayed in supermarkets during the holidays. Beware of Christmas canapés and miniature snacks that are overinflated in price. Instead, look for the bargains and use your own creativity to display them on your holiday table. Do some preparation at home as well. It’s easy to roast nuts seasoned with curry and cumin or create a cheese and fruit tray. You can easily make pinwheels with tortillas, lunchmeat, cream cheese and lettuce. And fruit kebabs are easy and refreshing. Keep it simple!
–Another trap that we stumble into, if we decide not to opt for the pot-luck idea, is the feeling that we have to serve many different side dishes…two kinds of potatoes, three varieties of vegetables, a wide assortment of canapés and dessert. This is just not necessary! A bounteous table doesn’t need to be overwhelming. And, when everyone has said “goodbye,” there are fewer serving dishes to deal with.
–Don’t be tempted to buy the largest turkey or prime rib available. In fact, under-buy everything that you think you will need. People always eat less than you think they will. They are much too busy talking and connecting with each other (unless they are teenager…and they do eat a lot!)
Borrowing for Savings
–Can you borrow anything for your party? If you decide to use china for a holiday buffet, maybe you can borrow dishes rather than rent them. Borrow whatever you can, whether you need dishes, glasses, chairs or extra pots and pans.
–Plan your Christmas on a budget before you plan your event and then stick to it. Be ruthless! Don’t be tempted from the path!!
–Place candles everywhere, but buy them at your local dollar-store.
–If you are planning to send party invitations, send them through Evite, a website that will let you design your invitation and send them at no cost. RSVPs come to you by email, and you also have the option to send out reminders.
–String a simple strand of white lights along the edge of your buffet table.
–Borrow holiday CDs from the library or from a friend.
Just remember. Your guests will probably not remember what they ate at your party a year from now, but they might remember the warm atmosphere and welcoming spirit of their host and hostess! You however will reap some of the rewards of your Christmas on a Budget when you investigate your finances in January.
## Photo thanks to paparutzi ##