Entertaining shouldn't be a burden, emotionally or financially during the holidays. It will be go, go, go for most of us through the New Year and instead of feeling stressed, think of throwing a dinner party as a great way to reconnect with friends and family. With these tips you can throw a classy bash on a holiday budget without the stress.
Spread some holiday cheer this season with these five fabulously frugal dinner party tips:
The Invite. Your invitations set the tone but don't feel pressured to go have something fancy printed up. It's more important that the invites are creative and unique -- give your guests a reason to look forward to your party! For a small, intimate gathering, hit up a craft store like Michael's for some great arts and crafts to customize an invitation. Having a larger fete? People are sending out free Evites for everything from BBQs to baby showers these days and with so many choices your Evites can look festive while getting to your guests fast.
The Trimmings. Chances are you already have some type of holiday décor around the house. Take it up a notch and grab a few value packs of votive candles to scatter around your home -- don't forget the bathroom! They give rooms a warm, romantic glow that will distract from any imperfections you'd rather guests not notice. And when you can get 24 ivory votive candles on sale for only $4 at joann.com -- why not?
White is the universal color for winter, so try for white or cream colored dinnerware (kohls.com has white serveware on sale right now for under $20) and accent with gold, silver, and crimson. To save money, search through decorations you've got hidden away in the attic like candleholders, vases, garland or a wreath. And if you can dine outdoors (this is Miami, after all), string some inexpensive tree lights!
A centerpiece is a must for the dining table. Go glam with cheap and chic clear vases; you can find some fab ones online at Crate & Barrel. Fill them with flowers or go rustic with a large pillar candle and branches with sprigs of holly. One of my favorite things to do is to take real fruit, apples, oranges, and pears -- and spray paint them gold for stunning centerpieces.
The Feast. For a cozy get-together, a sit-down dinner is a lovely option that won't cost too much because the headcount is less. But if you've invited family, friends and co-workers, cooking for that many people can be a daunting task. Make the food fun while saving money with these menu ideas:
The Entertainment. 'Tis the season! I adore classic holiday music by Frank Sinatra and Mariah Carey; it's infectious and absolutely impossible for me not to sing along when it comes on the radio. Make a playlist with your favorites or ask a party guest to play some tunes if they are musically inclined. But if you're the Queen of Karaoke like me, you'll organize a singing sesh after dinner to really get the party started.
The Guest Gifts. Send yours guests home with something that will remind them of your fantastic holiday dinner party. Be thoughtful with wrapping -- tissue paper and twine cost next to nothing but adds a thoughtful touch.
Stop stressing and start celebrating this season without throwing off your budget. It's all about champagne parties on a beer budget. Happy holidays. XO
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