Are you ready for Christmas? I am! It’s so close I can hardly believe it. I had intended to write this post at least a week or two ago, but have just been so busy that I’m only now getting to it. Hopefully you will still read it in time to get some helpful tips for Christmas entertaining on a budget.
If you are hosting a Christmas party of any kind in the next week or so, or will actually be hosting people on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I’m here to help you do it on a budget! If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, some of these tips will be familiar, but they are tried and true, so I find them worth repeating.
1 ) Host a Brunch
This is my favorite way to do Christmas entertaining on a budget. In fact, my husband and I have hosted a Christmas brunch in early December for most years of our marriage. You still have time to host a Christmas brunch this coming weekend, or you could do it for Christmas Day.
Brunch is a good option because breakfast foods are generally cheaper than lunch or dinner foods. You can bake up a few treats, make an egg-based main dish or two (like my Overnight French Toast Casserole), add some fresh fruit and you’re done! You don’t need a lot of ingredients and most of the ingredients are fairly inexpensive. Also, if you do plan to serve alcohol, brunch is usually limited to champagne, mimosas and/or white wine, which can be bought for less than good red wines or liquors. Plus, people will usually only have a glass or two, so you save a lot of money on alcohol.
2) Host a Christmas Dessert and/or Cocktail Party
Whether doing it prior to Christmas, or on Christmas, a dessert and/or cocktail party is another great way to entertain on a budget as you do not need to serve a full meal. For a dessert party, you would just want to offer a few drink options and a variety of desserts. These can be as simple as different types of cookies, or you could mix it up with cookies, pies, cakes, etc. For a cocktail party, you can pick one signature drink and then offer one or two types of beer, one red wine and one white wine. You could combine it with a dessert party and make the cocktails appropriate to serve with desserts, or you could just have a few items for people to snack on with their drinks.
3) Host a Christmas Potluck
No matter what time of day you are hosting your Christmas party, consider hosting a potluck, especially if your guest list includes only family and/or close friends. Think of all the stress and money you can save by only having to provide a main dish, perhaps a side dish and/or dessert and the drinks. Then you can allow your guests to bring additional side dishes and a dessert or two.
4) Limit Appetizers and Side Dishes
Many Christmas parties or dinners have several appetizers and several side dishes, but this is certainly not necessary! Limiting your appetizers and side dishes will save you money and work. Stick to two or three simple appetizers like a vegetable tray with dip, cheese and crackers, a baked appetizer (i.e. baked brie) or bruschetta. As for side dishes, just pick out a few of your favorite Christmas side dishes – perhaps something like a potato dish, a vegetable dish, a salad and a bread item. Keeping everything else simple will also allow you to make the main dish the star of the show.
5) Limit the Number and Type of Drinks
This applies to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. You don’t need to have 10 types of drinks. Just try and keep in mind what your guests will like and keep it simple. If you are serving alcohol, consider serving just one type of beer, one type of white wine and one type of red wine.You don’t need to have many kinds of beer and wine, and you definitely don’t need to offer mixed drinks. If you would like to serve a mixed drink, consider having a “signature” cocktail so that you only have to stock the ingredients for one mixed drink.
I hope you are enjoying this Christmas season and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!