We have not thrown a holiday party since 2008, and we are very excited to be doing so this year! We’ve set the date as December 17th, made the guest list (around 20 people), and are now ironing out the details of invitations, decorations, food, alcohol/beverages, and a cute little favor for each of the families attending. This is adding so much spirit to our holiday season ! I’d like to share with you what we are doing and how we are cutting costs in order to focus on what’s most important this holiday: spending time with family and friends, and giving of ourselves to others.
We know each of the 20 people we are inviting very well, and could easily just email or send a Facebook message letting them know they are invited to this party. But what fun is that? We’d rather set the holiday theme early and send out free Evite invitations . Also, this will help in keeping track of RSVPs so that we don’t have to manually write down who is coming and what guests they are bringing.
We are serving an array of homemade appetizers to keep people mingling, munching, and happy. Appetizers are also typically cheaper than providing a full meal. If done correctly, your guests will be full. One of the ways to save money is to purchase the non-perishable or long-lasting food items throughout the two months leading up to your party—if you still remain within your grocery budget (by using coupons  and shopping sales ), then you are offsetting some of the food costs. Also, making as much of the food from scratch as possible will cut down on costs. In order to pull this off, choose some appetizers that can be made ahead of time. In the 2-3 days leading up to the party, make 1-2 appetizers per day.
Finally, you can choose to host the party in between or after typical meal times so that there is not the expectation of a full meal.
When decorating on a budget, I find it is very helpful to incorporate candlelight as much as possible, as well as nature. For example, in the Houston drought this year we had several trees die in our backyard. We chopped them up for logs to use in our fireplace (and will be lighting a fire during the party), and found one particular branch that was striking. I took out the waxy candle part of tea light candles and put a flat thumb tack through the metal part into the branch before replacing the candle itself. This branch will be one of our centerpieces for the food table. The logs themselves are sitting pretty in a basket around our fireplace to add a homey feel. My husband and I also went on a walk and gathered beautiful, free pinecones to use in bowls. Finally, we are using trimmings from our Christmas tree to dress up windowsills (and will be putting a glowing votive candle in the middle of each arrangement).
I read somewhere (and wish I remember where) that for a party you could offer one signature cocktail. For our signature cocktail, we decided on homemade Egg Nog with a kick ! We are borrowing a punch bowl from a friend so that we do not need to purchase one.
For your own party, you could provide non-alcoholic beverages and ask guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages to consume. You could certainly also host a dry party!
I wanted to spread some cheer in just one more way to our family and friends. Last year I stumbled upon a Candy Cane Truffle recipe  in an advertisement in the Home Made Simple magazine. Not only was it super easy to make, but the taste was to die for. I will be making a large batch of these and putting them in petite Christmas tins I purchased from Hobby Lobby craft store for 50% off (scored on Black Friday).
More Ways to Spread Holiday Cheer
- Free Holiday Resources 
- Creative Gift Giving Ideas 
- How to Use the Gift Chain 
- Create Memories with Experience Gifts 
Have you ever thrown a holiday party? If so, what are some tips to help us all save money?