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Holidays are a time for friends, family and lavish get-togethers, right? Well, there’s no need to set yourself up for a financial hangover in January, as it is possible to prioritize the family and friends and drop the lavish. Instead, plan to have an intimate and enjoyable holiday party that leaves you with great memories and stays within budget.
Holidays may be all about the food, but you don’t need to serve it all at once. For your holiday party, focus on snacks that emphasize socialization. Instead of preparing meats, serve lower-cost vegetable dishes. Alternatively, a cookie or mini dessert exchange, or an appetizer-only gathering, can make your event affordable and fun.
The timing and format can also help cut costs. Consider hosting brunch instead of dinner and making it a buffet or potluck.
It’s tempting to pick up a stash of paper plates and cutlery at your local big box store, but it’s bad for the environment and puts an unnecessary dent in your pocketbook. Chances are, you have enough plates stashed in your kitchen. They don’t all need to match – your guests will be focusing more on eating than examining your china patterns.
It’s true that this may require more time for cleanup, but think of the fewer hours you’ll spend working after the holidays to pay off those bills.
Alcohol is a staple at holiday gatherings, but you don’t need to stock a full bar. Have a few selections that appeal to most people, like wine and beer. You can also offer a choice of two or three cocktails for guests who want something a little different.
If drinks are important to you as a host, consider making your holiday gathering a cocktail party and serving only snacks to complement the libations.
You can save money by keeping your holiday decor sparse. This doesn’t mean you can’t dress up your home for your guests, however. Use scents and candles to create ambiance, or place plain white lights on walls, your tree and around tables. Often it doesn’t take much to make your guests feel at home and happy about the joyous season.
Music, played at a low volume, can bring holiday cheer. The right music can lift the mood of any party just as well as any decorations you would buy at a store.
It’s the holidays – enjoy them! Your guests won’t ask to examine your receipts for party supplies, so focus on making your gathering an occasion when everyone is welcome. A bit of good feeling can go a long way.