Holiday Parties on a Budget

The economy may have drained your entertaining budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t host a holiday party with panache. It just takes planning and ingenuity to create champagne parties on a beer budget. The essence of successful entertainment doesn’t lie in the amount of money you spend in preparing for your guests. It lies in the time, thought and care you devote to the surroundings, activities and menu.

You don’t need caviar and champagne to impress. Simple and inexpensive ingredients such holiday-foodas raw vegetables can make a big impact. Veggies with dip on a big platter? Ordinary and boring. But take those same ingredients and place them in individual glass votive candle holders that people can pick up and carry in a Party Palette while mingling and you’ve got something special.

Potlucks or simple buffets are certainly less expensive than sit-down, seven-course dinners. Pare it down even further by hosting a brunch, dessert or cocktail party. For a cocktail party, offer a holiday punch or signature drink to control the costs of buying different types of liquor.

Don’t fret over seating for a crowd. Party Palette plates for your guests are perfect for mingling and eating and drinking at the same time. Party hosts often find it easier to use paper plates, napkins and plastic cutlery. But they also can cheapen the occasion and, ironically, add to your costs. Instead, break out the Party Palettes and reuse them for the next party. Your guests will appreciate the convenience and find them fun and unique.

Don’t buy expensive holiday decorations for a party when there’s plenty of free raw materials in your yard. For example, evergreen shrubs or trees, such as boxwood or holly, can be snipped to make garland and wreaths. If you don’t have a yard, ask for donations from neighbors or friends.

For lighting ambiance, use candles everywhere. If you don’t have enough candle holders, use simple glasses and tea cups. You can also turn glasses upside down as a stand for pillar candles. For inexpensive holiday scents, set some apple cider, fresh cloves and cinnamon at a simmer on your stove instead of buying pricy pre-made potpourri.

Have a great time this holiday season and don’t let the lack of a big budget hold you back!

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