Want to have your guests thinking you spent big money on decorations and your house look like a magazine cover? You don’t have to spend lots of money to create an inviting holiday table. Here are some tips:
1) Don’t do it all yourself. While I’m not encouraging a potluck party, if you’re hosting it’s a good idea to make the meat and ask everyone else to bring sides.
2) Make it yourself. The trick is – if you have more time than money make it from scratch and do it yourself. That means don’t call the caterer; you can do this!!
3) Plan ahead and shop the sales.
4) Buy seasonal decorations and re-use them each year. This is also a good way to recycle. I just keep a box downstairs with different seasonal things in and I haul them out as needed. I often purchase them at the end of the season when they are dirt cheap and then keep them for the next year.
5) Buy party products from dollar stores. They have some great decorations there and there’s no need to spend lots of money on decorations.
6) Don’t do alcohol or limit how much you do. The booze is where a chunk of change can go so if you are going to have it, why not do a BYOB? One cheap idea is to do mulled wine or cider as you can get the cheapest wine you can find and “doctor” it. Here’s a great recipe. Or, a non-alcoholic drink is to heat apple juice (made from concentrate in a carton is cheap and works fine) and pour over thinly sliced ginger and lemon.
7) If you’re sending invites, buy some at the dollar store and mail them, do email invites instead using a service like evites.com, or send postcards.
8) Do brunch. If you can choose a time, choose a brunch as it’s the cheapest meal of the day!
9) Serve pasta. If it’s just a Christmas party and not on the actual day, why not do a nice pasta dish? There’s nothing that says you have to serve steak.
10) Avoid disposables. Running the dishwasher a few extra times will cost less than purchasing paper plates and cups, plastic silverware, and one-use roasting pans and pie plates.