Great Holiday Entertaining on a Budget—Food, Fun, and More Festive!

Holiday Entertaining on a Budget doesn't have to be boring or costly!

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Holiday Entertaining on a budget does not have to be boring! But does the cost of hosting a fund holiday party overwhelm you? These days with smaller groups of people getting together, you can save some money, and still put on a great event.

Here are 4 inexpensive ways to host holiday parties this year that are fun, frugal, and full of holiday cheer.

We just attended a holiday party at a friend’s home. It was a pot-luck (of sorts)—some people brought nothing. The hostess provided a small turkey, drinks, and some dessert.

Annette cooked up a huge pot of turkey barley soup. It was a cold night and we were amazed to see 6 quarts of delicious soup get consumed in just a couple of hours. The turkey was devoured quickly too.

Overeating and the holidays go hand-in-hand, but we’re trying to help by bringing lighter fare to the table – lighter in calories and in cost.

Holiday Entertaining on a Budget does not have to be Costly!

Do holiday parties need to be decadent to be delightful?

In other words, does spending gobs of money guarantee a wonderful evening.

Of course, you know what our answer is going to be . . . NO!

Spending lots of money no more ensures a perfect evening than showing up to play baseball assures you of a win.

Holiday Entertaining on a budget does not need to break the bank and it certainly doesn’t have to put you into a diabetic coma.

Try doing things differently this year.

Holiday Entertaining on a Budget doesn't have to be boring or costly!

Here are 5 ways to make your holiday entertaining less stressful and much more fun.

1. Progressive Dinners – Save Money & Stress

Sometimes a light meal like soup and fancy bread is more refreshing than a huge spread and lots of calories.

We did this one time for a progressive dinner we were involved in. The guests loved the fact that we had three soups to choose from and that they didn’t leave totally stuffed—they had room for dessert and lots of it.

In previous years most people who hosted the main dish portion of the progressive dinner had served something heavy like pasta or lasagna (get our homemade Italian lasagna recipe here).

But the problem was that after eating too many hors-d’oeuvres at the first home, we just weren’t hungry for the main dish.

This meant that the food that the main dish hostess prepared went mostly uneaten. Serving something light for dinner leaves room for enjoying tasty desserts also.

RELATED ARTICLE: Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

2. Plan a Simpler Meal for a Large Group

Feeding a large crowd doesn’t mean elaborate preparations. Try something simple like Sloppy Joe’s or mini meatballs in bar-b-cue sauce, along with salsa & chips and a veggie platter.

And for simple and delicious desserts try; Rice Krispy treats, brownies or Christmas cookies that you’ve made earlier in the month.

3. Pot Lucks Share the Preparation

Do a potluck. You provide the main dish and let your friends help by bringing side dishes, salads, desserts, and drinks. We do this every year for our New Year’s Eve party. There’s always plenty of food and lots of dessert.

You could do food themes also. Like asking people to only bring red or green foods. Or go with an ethnic theme and serve Italian, Greek, Mexican, Swedish or any other types of foods that many of your friends know how to prepare.

But in the end, it’s less stressful for folks if you let them bring whatever they can pull together easily. As long as you have each category covered– hefty appetizers or main dishes, veggies & fruit dishes, side dishes like chips or breads, and desserts. Finally some drinks as well.

A woman walking around a table filled with holiday cookies

For many years we hosted a holiday cookie exchange in our home.

Neighbors came with 3 dozen cookies. 1 dozen to be consumed that night and 2 dozen to swap with other families. They all left with a broad assortment of delicious cookies and we all had a great time getting to know each other. We provided hot and cold drinks and a large dining room table. The cost was small, but the impact on the neighborhood was huge. Annette is still called “The Cookie” lady to this day.

With a little planning, your holiday entertaining can be full of fun and laughter, but light on calories and cost!

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Ways to Get Scratch Marks off Dishes

5. Plan Activities

We always have some easy-to-play games at our parties. Depending on the event we’ve played:

  • Holiday Bingo
  • Charades
  • White Elephant Gift Exchange
  • Paper Airplane contests
  • Shooting BB guns at metal targets
  • Setting off ground fireworks

In this interview with Scripps TV we describe how we host holiday parties that are inexpensive and lots of fun.

For more great holiday ideas, visit our Pinterest page and follow us!

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