‘Tis the season for merriment, gift giving (and receiving!), and, of course, New Year's Eve parties! But after all the presents have been purchased and you’ve added up all your credit card statements, you might find that the thought of throwing an amazing get together for your friends or family is dauntingly cost prohibitive. It doesn’t have to be! Follow these tips for how to plan an affordable and awesome holiday party:
Trim the tree and the guest list. While it would be fabulous if you could invite everyone you know and love to your party, you may have to be firm with yourself while building your guest list, and leave a few people off in the name of a better, more affordable party. Plan for no more than ten to twelve guests, which allows for everyone to mingle and chat comfortably, while you don’t have to break the bank buying enough supplies to feed them all. Save money by sending email invitations.
Pot-luck. Hosting at your home will save you money, rather than renting out an expensive hall. You can help your budget by planning well in advance, which allows you to expand it or make cuts if something comes up. Even if you plan on preparing a main course, you can still ask your guests to help out by bringing salads, breads, desserts, or drinks. Hold a cookie party, and ask everyone to make an appetizer based on their favorite family recipes. You can make a festive occasion even more fun by allowing a few of your closest friends in on the party planning. Invite them over for drinks a few weeks before the party so you can all come up with ideas together.
Around the house. Use what you’ve already got in stock to decorate, or add a few accoutrements: you can dress up old picture frames, turn old coffee cans into flower holders by covering them with holiday wrapping paper, or make snowflakes from scratch paper that’s accumulated in your office. You don’t need to decorate the entire house: focus your attentions on the one room where the guests will congregate, and then do something simple in the other rooms, like lighting holiday-themed scented candles like pine, apple, or cinnamon.
Use a slow cooker. You can feed a lot of people fairly inexpensively by preparing a meal using a slow cooker or crock pot. A big pot roast, for instance, will warm your guests right up, and if you throw in potatoes, vegetables, or onions in with the meat, you’ll save time (and water) with the easier cleanup. You can also make a variety of soups or stews that can potentially serve a ton of people affordably.
Drinks. Even if you aren’t hosting a pot-luck, you can still ask guests to bring one of their favorite bottles of champagne to pop open at midnight. You can provide a few beverages of your own, but keep it small and simple. Coffee, soft drinks, and water with lemon will satisfy the thirsts of your guests who don’t wish to partake in alcoholic beverages.
Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for Zen Arts, the premier event and production company offering corporate entertainment Las Vegas and much more.
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