8 Fun & Frugal Holiday Party Tips

holiday cookie exchangeSo you want to throw a holiday party -- but you don't have a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills budget? No problem. Everyone deserves to party, even the 99 percent. You don't have to resort to serving potato chips and beer, either -- unless that's your thing. Here are 8 tips to ring in a festive holiday party without breaking the bank!

  1. Send electronic invitations. First of all, let's dispense with the paper invitations. These have all but disappeared anyway, for party-planners of all budgets. This should be your first stop in saversville.
  2. Use real plates and cutlery. True, this means more time with the dishwasher afterwards, but you'll save on buying party supplies. Just pick up some napkins -- but otherwise use your own plates and cutlery. Don't worry if everything doesn't match perfectly. People appreciate eating on real plates instead of unreliable paper.
  3. Decorate with nature. Who needs tinsel and cut flowers when there are pine cones and needles in your yard or the park? Gather bunches of needles and tie them together with ribbon -- or stack them in votive candle holders.
  4. Create a signature drink. Rather than stocking a whole bar, serve just eggnog spiked (on demand) with rum, or spiced mulled wine, or search online for other holiday-themed cocktails.
  5. Make it potluck. Do a cookie exchange or a soup party. Everyone brings their favorite holiday cookies or soup to share! A theme helps elevate the potluck (bring your own dang food) into something special.
  6. Shop smart. Food blogger Lindsey Johnson recommends shopping the bulk food section of the store for dried fruits and nuts. And she recommends baking a super-simple seasonal fruit dessert, like her cran-apple cherry crisp.
  7. Serve apps not mains. Rather than feeding your friends a whole feast, stick with the little stuff: Finger foods and dips, like these frugal party food ideas.
  8. Do it with style and humor. Check out Amy Sedaris' entertaining manual, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence from the library. Quick, before anyone else thinks of nabbing it!

What are your favorite frugal party tips?


Image via JAGwired/Flickr

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