10 Tips to Entertaining on a Budget This Holiday Season

By November 23, 2009 In the News No Comments

Having a spectacular Holiday party doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take long to plan. You can decorate a beautiful table and serve delicious food and drink for much less than you think. Here are 10 great tips from the Costume Supercenter Christmas Store who always have their eye on saving you money during the holidays.

  1. Hit the dollar store for decorations. Christmas bulb ornaments (usually there are 6-12 in a box) placed in a crystal bowl look festive and really sparkle in candlelight. Garlands and lights can also be found at the dollar store and can dress up any part of your home. Its also a great place for paper goods.
  2. Decorate with candles. Colorful votive holders can be used year after year. Instead of filling your votives with scented candle that can be offensive to some people, use unscented tealights which cost next to nothing and burn for hours.
  3. Buy your food from club stores like Sam’s and Costco. They are great for inexpensive appetizers and meats.
  4. Stretch your meat and poultry dollars by serving meats as appetizers. Cut a London broil and some chicken breasts into cubes and marinate them. Broil, sauté or grill them to caramelized perfection then skewer them on a toothpick with a small leaf of basil and a grape tomato. Serve with a variety of dipping sauces such as horseradish, teriyaki and barbeque.
  5. Serve pasta as a main course. Everybody loves it and it is so economical and versatile. You can make a low key baked ziti or a fancy penne ala vodka with arugula and sun dried tomatoes.
  6. When your guests ask what they should bring, suggest they bring a bottle of their favorite wine. Alcohol eats up the biggest chunk of your entertaining budget and this is a good way to keep the beverages flowing.
  7. Another way to stretch your adult beverage dollars is by making punch. A great recipe is to mix 1 bottle of cranberry juice cocktail, one container of frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 bottle of ginger ale and two bottles of inexpensive sparkling wine. Serve it in a decorative punch bowl.
  8. Serve chocolate fondue for dessert. You can spend a fortune on expensive bakery cakes and pastry but this is so much more fun and much less money.  Mix 2 bags of chocolate chips with 1 cup of heavy cream and an optional shot of orange liqueur. Melt it in a crock pot or fondue pot. Put it in the center of a large platter and surround it with cubed pieces of pound cake and sliced fruit (that you purchased at the big club store). Use long wooden skewers to dip with.  It makes a beautiful presentation and it creates a social experience.
  9. Another dessert idea is mini cup cakes. You can buy boxed cake mix on sale for $.99 and it will make 36 to 48 mini cupcakes depending on the size. To make them more festive, color white icing with red and green food coloring and pipe the icing onto the cupcakes with a star tip, then add crushed candy cane or other toppings, if desired. The great things about them are that they can be made a day ahead, they are almost impossible to screw up and they really work on a budget.
  10. Offering a party favor or thank you gift is always nice but difficult when you are on a budget. Take lots of pictures of your guests. If possible, print the pictures out before the end of the evening and place them in small frames that you can purchase at the dollar store. If you don’t have time then share them via email or Facebook, thanking them for coming. You guest will love the pictures as well as the thoughtful gesture.

The holidays are the best time of year for sharing with friends. These tips will enable you to have a festive and plentiful party without breaking the bank. One last tip, and the most important of all, is that the most priceless thing you can do is to open your home to friends and family and fill it with love, friendship and hospitality…and that doesn’t cost a cent.