Throwing a holiday party doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. In fact, overspending can result in post-party debt and regret. And good news – you don’t have to overspend to entertain.
Ho-Ho-Holiday Party On A Budget
Make A Budget (And Stick To It)
The most important part of hosting any event is your budget. Keeping an event budget will help you stay organized and prepared for potential overspending.
To create your holiday party budget, start by making a budget checklist. Your budget checklist will include every aspect of your event from decorations to food & drink. Our checklist consists of 5 categories: Venue, Invites, Decorations, Food & Drink, and Entertainment.
Once you’ve crafted your list, put each item in order of importance to you. This will help you choose how much you want to spend on each category. Keep in mind that everyone’s budget will be different and reflect their priorities. For larger events, we suggest budgeting a cost per person for food and drinks.
It’s most important to keep track of your expenses with receipts and to STOP spending when you’re approaching your desired budget.
Sometimes the most expensive part of an event, venue rentals can range in size, price, geography and amenities. Luckily, hosting your holiday party at home can save a sizable amount of money. Invite close friends for an intimate Christmas cocktail party in the comfort of your own living room.
Celebrating the holidays will look different this year as groups shift gears to come up with fun and practical alternatives to over-the-top bashes from years past. While nothing can replace an in-person holiday party, virtual parties bring friends and family together during the holiday season.
Prefer to gather in a venue? Philadelphia is an excellent destination filled with historic architecture and romantic views. Check out our Top 5 Philadelphia Venues
An event’s invitation can set the mood for the entire event, distinguishing the party’s theme, location and time, attire and other guest requirements. There are many options for invite methods, some pricier than others.
The least expensive method for invites is creating an event page on a website like Zola, Facebook, or Eventbrite. Event pages make it easy for guests to find the event’s details and RSVP without wasting paper.
Another eco-friendly and budget-savvy invitation option is email invites. Email invitations are completely customizable with fun fonts, images and color schemes to get your guests in the holiday spirit. Guests can once again RSVP easily and contact the host if needed.
We understand that nothing beats getting a piece of ‘snail mail’ in your mailbox, especially during the sometimes hectic holiday season. Formal invitations can be costly with extra fees for personal messages, envelopes and postage. However, creating a one sided postcard as a holiday invitation can save you big.
In our opinion, the best part of the holidays are the decorations and it can be easy to lose sight of your budget during the process. Trust us, you do not need the giant snowman.
Incorporating nature into your DIY decorations is an easy and fun way to transform your small apartment into a winter wonderland. Pinecones and ferns can be found across the NorthEast, patiently waiting for a DIY diva to use them in her home. Not only will these forest finds act as decor, but their smell will complete the holiday atmosphere. Other ways to stimulate your guests senses are cinnamon sticks, gingerbread or candles.
Break out your scissors and tape! Although a little messy, paper snowflakes are a classic decoration to hang across your home. Don’t like the little pieces of paper? Wrap your art and photos in wrapping paper. Finish them off with various bows, ribbon and name tags to reflect real gifts.
Food & Drink
The holiday season is known as a time to eat, drink & be merry with friends and family. However, footing the bill for an entire event is not in everyone’s budget.
The cheapest choice when hosting a holiday party is a potluck. Most people have a traditional family recipe they are proud of, so, have each of your guests bring a festive dish to share. Make sure you note this on the invitation!
Keep it safe and simple by opting for finger foods instead of a sit down dinner. Some easy dishes include cheese & crackers, chips & salsa, or a sandwich platter. To get in the Christmas spirit, offer a hot cocoa bar with spiked hot chocolate. Guests will love to dress up their drinks with candy canes and marshmallows.
What’s a holiday party without a few reindeer games? Try pin the nose on Rudolph or get the entire party moving with holiday karaoke.
Tis the season for cookie swaps! Have your guests bake their favorite cookie recipe to swap. Make sure you send information with your invites noting the predicted number of guests, stressing to keep cookies individually wrapped, and specifying ingredients such as peanuts. This is not only a fun source of entertainment, guests gather new recipes and everyone goes home with a bunch of cookies to try.
A White Elephant gift exchange is an iconic holiday tradition, each attendee bringing a gift of their choice to give anonymously. On the invitation, make sure to distinguish a price cap so the gifts will not outshine one another and always have spare gifts ready for those who forgot. As always, funny gifts are encouraged!
It’s important to pay attention to your area’s COVID-19 restrictions on gathering before planning your holiday party. Make sure to limit your guest list, enforce masks, and take temperature checks at the door. To be safe, ask guests to get tested for COVID 1-3 days before the event and keep the guest list local. It’s advised to hold gatherings outdoors, so consider hosting a community event.