Ten Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

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The holidays are an exciting time to host friends and family; however, with all that is going on in November and December, our budgets can be spread very thin.

With the joy of the season and the need to save money, below are Ten Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget:

1. Plan: Sit down and plan out all of your holiday entertainings. Think about all the categories required to host and entertain:

  • Food
  • Decorations
  • Invitations
  • Parking
  • Entertainment
  • Gifts
  • Childcare
  • Cleaning

2. Set a Budget: Once you have outlined all the categories, set a budget. Set a reasonable amount of money for each of the items, then stick to it!!!

3. Shop Smart: Avoid getting the necessary entertaining essentials at the most expensive stores. Hit up your local Dollar Store for some household essentials, including paper napkins, paper plates, and plastic utensils. No one is going to know the difference.

4. Buy in Bulk: Great deals are available when you buy in bulk, especially at places like Costco Wholesale. It is always good to have extra on hand especially if you host throughout the year. That said if space is an issue consider splitting with a friend. Not only will that save you on space, but you can also split the cost.

5. Borrow: Instead of buying items needed for hosting, consider borrowing the things you need from friends and family, including extra tables, chairs, tablecloths and serving trays. In the end, this will save you a great deal of money. Make a list of the items you need and reach out to your contact list to see who has them available.

6. DIY Greenery/Centre Pieces: Consider making your greenery for holiday decorating with what you have in your backyard.

7. Basic drinks: No guest is expecting a fancy cocktail, so cut down the extra costs by choosing to serve only a few drinks.

8. Simple Decorations: Avoid spending a ton of money on new decorations. Use what you have on hand to create a festive ambiance. Candles, greenery, a Christmas Tree are all available to set the mood.

9. Plan meals ahead: Set the menu weeks in advance. Consider any dietary restrictions or allergies. Once your meal plan is confirmed, make a list and plan your shopping to hunt down the best deals.

If the budget is tight and you still want to entertain there are a few options, you can consider:

  • Potluck Party – ask guests to bring a side or dessert to share. You provide the place, drinks, main dish, and utensils.
  • Plan a simpler menu – Think easy, limited-ingredient main dishes. A creamy pasta dish is a great way to use what you have in your kitchen. For the appetizer, think about whole roasted nuts or seed crackers with a smear of cream cheese and a dollop of red pepper jelly.
  • Skip dinner – Skip dinner altogether and serve an appetizer and dessert buffet vs. a costly and timely sit-down meal.

10. Music: Christmas music is a great way to set the mood. If you don’t have access to a free streaming service, many radio stations play round-the-clock Christmas music leading up to the holidays.

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