Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year, and that’s not just because of the gifts. Many people host dinners and out-of-town guests, and even Christmas parties.
Christmas parties can be quite expensive. Here are some suggestions on how to host a party without going broke:
Set a Budget
Before you set any other plans, set a budget! Working within financial parameters will dictate the rest of your plans. Don’t be discouraged by a small budget either. With a little creativity you’ll be able to stretch the budget. For $150 we entertained 14 people, with some alcohol and had a game that involved everyone getting a gift. Considering this is one of our favorite events throughout the year, I don’t think $150 is too much to spend.
Limit the Alcohol (if serving)
If you’re looking to have enough alcohol for everyone in attendance (assuming you serve at all), your budget will easily get out of control. With quarts on an average of $40 and a case of beer at almost $50, we couldn’t afford to buy alcohol for everyone. We compromised and provided a little and anything over and above what we provided was BYOB. Limiting alcohol will keep your budget in check.
Friends of ours throw a great party every year and it costs them hundreds of dollars to cater. She claims that they’re too busy to cook so pay to have their annual party catered. She justifies the cost saying it’s only for 10-15 people and would rather do this then buy gifts. To each is own, but for $65 I bought the ingredients myself, asked for a little help and managed to get everything pulled off. We opted to serve a lot of smaller, appetizer-type foods over a formal meal. People will have formal sit-down meals with their individual families so we chose to make finger foods which are more party friendly. Considering there wasn’t a morsel of food left I’d say it went over well!
…Or Pot Luck Style
Some of my favorite parties are potlucks. There’s such a diversity of food that you’re almost guaranteed to make sure there’s something for everyone. Potlucks also spread the cost around to many people easing the costs.
Especially at Christmas with trees and lights everywhere, you’re able to tone down the rest of the decorations. This year I chose to not buy anything new beyond a tablecloth for the dining room. I’ve been known to spend upwards of $100 per year on new decorations and for what? I don’t need to impress anyone, especially friends and family. People come over to see us and socialize, not look at my vast collection of snowmen.
Time of Day
Depending on the time day you may be able to spend less. We’re toying with the idea of doing a bug brunch next year instead of a later evening event. This is easier on the young kids in attendance (never mess with a nap or bedtime) and cooking a large brunch will be much cheaper than an evening event, at least for what I have in mind. Daytime events can generally be cheaper even just by eliminating alcohol events.
Whatever budget you set, make sure you stick to it. If you’re stuck with a bill at the end of your event it will suck out any of the fun you may have had. Going into debt for a party is just not worth it!
Do you host any Holiday parties? What do you do to stay on budget?