Spending time together with family and friends is one of the highlights of this season. Enjoy each other’s company and still keep costs under control with these seven tips to entertaining on a budget.
1. Send e-invites to keep costs down
Living in the digital age has its benefits. There’s no need to mail out paper invitations when you can create fun and festive electronic invitations. Both Evite and 123greetings are great places to start, and they’re both free to use.
If your entire guest list is on Facebook, consider creating a Facebook event for your party. It’s also free, and has the added benefit of updating your guests whenever you change key event information. Share information allows others to participate int eh planning, too.
If you really want your guests to receive something in the mail, save money on envelopes and postage by sending postcard invitations.
2. Use a digital DJ for a fun and free playlist
Keep your party lively and awkward-silence-free by creating a playlist on a free site like Pandora or Spotify. Both sites offer tons of holiday music and you can set the tone for your party by selecting which song, artist, or genre the playlist you want for your celebration.
If you’d rather not leave it to chance, you can create a custom list on YouTube by selecting videos for your favorite songs and adding them to a playlist. To make it even more custom, ask each of your guests to send you a favorite song or two, and then use your Kasasa Tunes® monthly rewards to download those you don’t already own from iTunes!
3. Entertain your guests with a holiday twist
Organize some fun holiday-themed games where everyone can participate and have a good time. Find ideas on the Internet, or check out a few of our favorites:
Peppermint clothes pins – Glue peppermint candies to clothespins and give one to each guest as they arrive. Pick a trigger word (like “Christmas” or “holiday”) and whenever a guest uses the word, whoever catches them gets to take their clothespin. Whoever collects the most clothespins by the end of the night takes home a treat.
Holiday trivia – Test your guests’ knowledge of different holiday carols by creating a fill-in-the-blank race. Split everyone into teams and have them fill in the missing lines for popular carols. The first team finished with the correct answers wins.
Christmas charades – Act out a holiday carol, song, or story using the traditional charade techniques.
Neighborhood stroll – If your neighborhood, or one close by, is known for their holiday decorations, take a walk as a group with some mugs of hot chocolate.
Caroling – Print out a few sheets of music and go caroling around your neighborhood.
4. Host a gift exchange
Gift exchanges are a fun and budget-friendly way to give presents around the holidays. Invite friends over, make some tasty food and refreshments (check out our below recipes), and have everyone bring one gift. White elephant gifts give people the ability to shop for one less gift without buying for someone specific.
5. Get the food budget small by serving apps and mocktails
Food and drink costs can easily turn any party into a pricey affair. Instead of starting around dinnertime, host your event a little later in the night, to encourage guests to eat dinner before coming. That way you can offer a few appetizers rather than a buffet of food. Here are some recipes for inexpensive, yummy appetizers:
Another tip to keep your food budget low is to offer mocktails (alcohol-free cocktails). Alcohol can be expensive, especially if you need more than one type, so instead of stocking a full bar, pick a couple of holiday beverages that everyone can enjoy.
6. Turn documenting the party into a game for free memories
Create lasting memories of your party by encouraging every attendee to take photos during the night. Incentivize them to take awesome shots by offering a prize to the person with the most popular photo, based on group vote or social media likes. Have everyone review them the week after the party, voting for their favorite and reliving the awesome memories.
7. Hand out party favors that make your wallet as happy as your guests
It’s always a nice gesture to send your guests home with a tangible memory of the party, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to share the holiday spirit beyond the evening.
- Have guests write down a new year’s resolution on a postcard and mail it to them in January
- Send everyone a digital album of all the photos taken that night. For a little more, print a party photo of each guest, and mail it to them.
- Give guests little cellophane bags with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows.
- Craft these festive party hats for guests to wear all night and then take home
- If you don’t have too many guests (or if you have a lot of time) make each guest a beautiful paper ornament.
- Another DIY gift you could make is wine glass charms that fit your party's theme, or that are designed for each family invited to celebrate Christmas or New Year's Eve with you.