Much to every host’s dismay, the economic situation hasn’t improved much since last year. Still, this doesn’t mean we have to cancel all holiday celebrations — it simply calls for a little more creativity. As you’ll see, creative thinking and a little planning go a long way toward making it all work. Here are some tips for throwing a fabulous holiday party on a budget.
Maintain a Tight Guest List
As nice as it would be to invite every Dick and Jane you know to your fabulous holiday bash, this isn’t the time to go overboard with your invite list. That person you met at last year’s office holiday party and promised to call but never did? Cut her from the lineup. Party planning sometimes requires ruthlessness — but it’s worth it in the name of better food, drinks, and decorations. After all, the holidays are about spending time with the people who are most important to you, so being picky about who you invite will help you create an intimate setting. A group of no more than 10 or 12 is perfect for a cost-effective yet elegant get-together. An added bonus of intimate gatherings: you’ll have more time to spend with your guests, enjoying their company (and vice versa), rather than constantly making the rounds or worrying whether everyone is having fun.
Focus on a Festive, Rustic Menu
Let’s face it: food is one of the most important components of any party, let alone a holiday party — and besides drinks, it’s usually the most costly. But you don’t have to forego your budget or compromise quality to feed your guests. Here are a few affordable suggestions for filling fare that won’t empty your wallet.
Dress up Standard Fare: Get creative with the basics. Take potatoes: they’re filling, cheap, and versatile. These potato stacks, for example, are easy to make, affordable, and elegant. Another basic (inexpensive) ingredient: flour. Make a simple crust and compile a selection of sweet and savory tarts or galettes like a rustic potato tart. Dishes like these require few ingredients and making the crust is easy and affordable.
Take It Down a Notch: I don’t mean you should compromise on flavor. However, if you rethink typical portion sizes, you’ll be able to offer a wider variety of food for a lower cost. Small bites are fun and festive, like the food shown here. From miniature hamburgers to tiny cookies with shot glasses of milk, there are many appetizers you can make (or purchase) that won’t cost a ton of money. Not only are everyday foods undeniably cute in miniature form, they’re also easier to handle while mingling or holding a drink. Tip: Look for seasonal food offerings to keep the cost down but the taste factor right where it should be.
Cook the Old-Fashioned Way: Break out your slow cooker! Many cuts of meat that you may turn up your nose to for a fancy, sit-down dinner party are actually perfect for group holiday parties. With a little effort, you can serve a satisfying, warming meal for your guests with money to spare. From soups and stews to pot roast to short ribs, the options are endless for creating meals that will wow your guests and warm their souls. If you plan a meat-based meal, Crock-Pots are very helpful in stretching the meat — and your dollar.
For more tips on how to throw a party on a budget, visit Menuism today!
— Rachael White, Menuism