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How to Throw a Holiday Party on a Budget

If you’re trying to save money this holiday season, you may think that hosting a party is out of the question. However, there are actually some easy frugal solutions that can help you host a holiday party to remember without busting your budget.


While it may take a little extra effort to put together a holiday party without overspending, it’s so worth it to enjoy that special time with your loved ones. Plan a fun and festive party using these tips.

1. Be a Resourceful Decorator

We all have at least a few holiday decorations around, but what if it’s not enough to make your space look festive? That’s where your resourcefulness will come in. If you’re crafty enough, you won’t have to spend a dime on decorations for your party. The key is to use what you already have on hand. You’d be surprised at how a few simple changes can turn ordinary household décor into a festive decoration. Here are a few examples of cheap ways to decorate for a holiday party:

  • Use ribbon to update ordinary items, like candles, picture frames and tables. A simple bow or wrapped ribbon here and there will add tons of festive color to your space and make the items look holiday-themed.
  • Collect items from the outdoors to use as décor. Pine cones, pine branches and leaves can all be transformed into beautiful holiday decorations. Arrange the items to make a centerpiece or wreath. You can also add a touch of silver or gold spray paint or glitter for an even more festive look.
  • Use your Christmas decorations in new ways. Hang ornaments from a chandelier, or create a wreath out of used bows from last year’s gifts. You can also wrap picture frames in wrapping paper.
  • Use fruit you already have on hand to make a festive centerpiece. You can even buy a few colorful fruits – as long as you’re going to eat them after, it’s not going to waste.
  • Pop a holiday movie in the DVD player and have it playing on mute in the background. Just its presence will add a holiday feel without detracting from the party.

2. Plan a Potluck Menu

Don’t feel like you have to provide all the food at your holiday party. Your friends and family will be happy to contribute something for the group to share. For a successful potluck, make it clear to each guest what they should bring. It’s helpful to assign a category, like appetizers or desserts, so that you don’t get too many similar dishes. Speaking of which, many holiday parties are perfectly fine with just appetizers and desserts – no main course is necessary, providing you with another way to save.

Other potluck parties can have a fun theme. For example, the cookie exchange is a fun way to share sweets with your friends. You could also do wine-tasting, with each guest bringing a favorite bottle and you providing a few inexpensive snacks to go with the tasting.

Don’t forget that the potluck menu doesn’t have to include the food only. You can also assign some guests drinks for a potluck-style bar. Guests can bring beer, eggnog or ingredients for their favorite holiday cocktail as their contribution to the party.

3. Go Paperless

While paper invitations are beautiful, you’ll be amazed at some of the lovely email invitations you can find online today. There are tons of digital invitation options, all of which can be personalized with the details of your party. You may even be able to add photos and other special touches to your invites. Best of all, many of these options are 100 percent free, so they won’t have any effect on your budget.

4. Set the Mood With Music

No holiday party is complete without the appropriate music. If you don’t have a large collection of holiday tunes, don’t worry. There’s an easy way to get around it. Services like Spotify and Pandora allow you to stream pre-made playlists and stations with a holiday theme. You can easily pull these up on your computer or your smartphone for instant music at your party. Though both services have audio ads, you can sign up for a free trial to avoid interruptions. Just remember to cancel your free trial before it is up.

5. Easy and Free Entertainment

Keep your guests entertained shouldn’t be expensive. In fact, it can be totally free. Many of the best party games cost nothing to play. Charades is a classic, though you can also do a fun celebrity game. Just write down the names of famous people and stick one on each guest’s forehead. Everyone has to ask each other questions to figure out which name is on their head. It’s a surefire way to get people mingling and laughing.

If you want to celebrate the true meaning of the holidays, then your budget won’t matter. Just use whatever resources you have to put together a warm, inviting party that will allow you to spend quality time with the ones you love. With these tips, it should be easy to create a welcoming environment with fun activities for all ages.


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