How to Throw a Holiday Party on a Budget: 8 Holiday Party Ideas

how to throw a holiday party on a budget

It may feel like the holidays are still a while away, but once Halloween is over, get ready for full fledged holiday madness! Come November 1st, Hallmark Christmas movies start on the W Network (anyone else obsessed with them?), holiday drinks launch at Starbucks and it’s officially time to blast the holiday tunes.

If you’re planning on hosting a holiday party this year, you may be wondering exactly how you’re going to do it without breaking the bank. The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be extremely stressful and expensive. Don’t let that turn you off from hosting a memorable holiday party! Use our tips on how to throw a holiday party on a budget! 

8 Holiday Party Ideas on a Budget

1. Keep the Guest List Manageable

One sure way to go over budget on a holiday party? Inviting your whole contact list. You don’t have to throw an extravagant affair- keep it manageable by inviting 10 to 15 of your nearest and dearest.

Consider making it a potluck so you don’t have to provide all the food, or perhaps ask your guests to bring either an appetizer or dessert (people will always ask what they can bring!).

Another benefit of a smaller guest list? You’ll actually get to enjoy the company of your guests rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  

2. Prioritize Your Party Ideas 

Planning a party always comes with a list of things to buy. From food to decorations, you can go as minimal or over the top as you want with a holiday party.

Create a list of all the party ideas you have (menu items, cocktails, decor, etc.), then prioritize it. This will help you figure out what you definitely want to spend money on, and if money starts to run out, you can take the bottom items off the list. 

Keep in mind, while decorations are great, people will mostly remember and appreciate the food and good company! Some string lights and mason jar candles wrapped in burlap will do a great job in helping you achieve the holiday vibe without having to outfit your home in expensive decorations. 

how to throw a holiday party on a budget

3. Create a Festive Atmosphere 

Your holiday party should feel festive, and there are a number of great ways to create a festive atmosphere without breaking the bank.

First of all, crank the tunes. Use a portable speak to stream your favourite holiday playlist, or make one yourself. If you have a record player with holiday records, even better.

We’ve already touched on lights above, but festive string lights and candles are the best way to bring in a sense of holiday warmth and comfort.

When it comes to scent, be careful not to go overboard. Some people are quite sensitive to strong smells, so stay away from potpourri and strongly scented candles. Opt for more natural scents like pine and eucalyptus, or the faint smell of homemade cookies. 

4. Go Meatless 

Meat is undoubtedly the most expensive ingredient to buy, so you can save money by making a vegetarian menu. Thanks to the growing plant-based trend, there are PLENTY of delicious plant-based menus out there you can easily find online or in a cookbook!

Serving elegant vegetarian dishes is a great way to reduce your costs, and still have your guests smiling! Need some ideas for vegetarian meals? here you go!

1. Vegan Mushroom Wellington via Jillian Harris
2. Delicious Vegetable Lasagna via Cookie + Kate
3. Apple Lentil Salad via Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen
4. Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo via Kitchn
5. Mushroom Lentil Shepherd’s Pie via Vegan Richa

5. Buy Generic 

Store-brand products are always more affordable, and no one will notice (or care) if you cook with them. From broth, to flour to sugar, buying generic is one of the best ways to save some dough.

how to throw a holiday party on a budget

6. Mulled Wine Instead of Bottles of Wine 

Nothing says the holidays like the warm, comforting scent of mulled wine. It’s always a good idea to have a shared cocktail people can enjoy, but providing all the alcohol for a holiday party can seriously rack up the bill.

Provide mulled wine (which is relatively budget friendly) and have your guests bring anything else they’d like to drink alcohol-wise. If you offer to provide the wine/alcohol for the entire night, your party will definitely start to get pricey.

If you’d rather stay away from providing any alcohol at all, have your guests bring what they want to drink and create a hot cocoa station for them to enjoy! 

7. Borrow What You Don’t Have

Do you have a friend or family member that has a gorgeous holiday tablecloth and serving trays? Don’t be afraid to ask to borrow them! It will help you elevate your party and you won’t have to spend a dime! People love to help others, especially around the holiday season! 

8. Hit the Post-Holiday Sales

Okay, so this tip may not help you this year, but next year you’ll likely be in the same position, wondering how to throw an epic holiday party without blowing your entire pay cheque. Holiday themed decorations, linens and tableware always go on sale after the season ends. Take advantage of the post-holiday sales to prep next year’s party ahead of the game! 

I hope you loved my tips on how to throw a holiday party on a budget and I hope you have a magical holiday season!

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how to throw a holiday party on a budget

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