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Hosting a Holiday Party on Budget

by My Well-Being Presented by Humana on December 12, 2011

You don't have to give up hosting a holiday party just because you are on a limited budget this year. Follow these tips for having a low-cost party while still ensuring that everyone has a good time.

Plan Ahead

Careful planning can save a bundle of cash. Non-food items can be purchased one year and then used to host parties in years to come. This involves an expense the first year that will not be necessary in following years. If your budget does not allow for first-year purchases, borrow needed items from family and friends. Varying colors and designs of unmatched dishes and utensils used for the table setting can actually enhance the holiday mood you want to portray.

Use flowers for more than one purpose. If you like using fresh flowers for party centerpieces, share them with relatives or shut-ins when your party is over. Or, use potted poinsettias for your centerpieces and then continue enjoying them as part of your holiday decorations for the rest of the season. You can also buy artificial wreaths and other arrangements that will last for many years.

Take advantage of after-Christmas sales to stock up for the following year. Candles, paper supplies, decorations, invitations, and cards are just a few holiday items that can be stored for the following year.

Choose a Less Expensive Kind of Party

Some parties are less expensive to host than others. A dessert buffet, for example, can be elegant and delicious without going over budget. Carefully select a variety of dishes so you are offering something with nuts as well as something with fruit. Remember that your guest list will certainly include some chocolate freaks. Most people enjoy a warm dessert combined with something cold. Consider this dessert buffet menu: warm pecan pie, a fruit trifle or fruit cheesecake, double-chocolate-indulgence brownies with ice cream, and cranberry-nut bars.

Serving a brunch buffet can also be done inexpensively and still be impressive. Being invited to brunch on a day off allows your guests to sleep later and still experience a special morning. It is possible for you, the host, to also sleep later than usual and still entertain as well! Many foods appropriate for brunch can be made the day before and warmed up before serving. Crock pots are also an easy solution for non-stress brunch hosting. Breakfast casseroles, quiche, hot fruit dishes, specialty breads, waffles, fritters, and muffins are all tasty varieties for a successful holiday brunch.

Another affordable idea for holiday entertaining is to host a soup and salad buffet. An additional advantage is that everything can be made ahead of time. You can be a relaxed host who is free to mingle with your guests. Choose three soups, at least one cream. Be sure that each recipe has one ingredient that sets the soup apart from an ordinary recipe. Do the same with your choice of sandwich breads and fillings. You will know you have made a winning selection when a guest asks for a recipe.

Host a holiday party with confidence regardless of whether or not you are on a limited budget. When your economical choices result in a fun and tasty party, nobody will even think about how little money you may have spent. Wow your guests, and they will be talking about your buffet far after the holidays are over!

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