Christmas and other holidays are perfect times to go all-out, treating yourself and family to special meals and pampering. Countless distinct celebrations provide entertainment traditions cherished by friends and families across the world, who come together annually to mark the year’s most important events and milestones. Holiday entertaining, especially for large-sized groups, can be an expensive proposition though and you may need a little extra help from a Payday to see you through but do check you are getting the best rate available.
There is no need to pull the plug on festive seasonal gatherings, even if this year’s budget doesn’t allow for over-the-top entertaining. By using a few money-saving strategies, you’ll keep your holiday parties up and running, without breaking your budget.
Simplify Your Approach
It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of holiday entertaining, leading to ambitious plans and menus. Take a step back, especially during lean times, to get a handle on your approach – starting with food. While it is fun to try new things and offer a variety of dishes for your guests, each distinct recipe comes with its own ingredients list and grocery bill. To trim party costs, without sacrificing tasty food, reduce the number of dishes served, focusing on proven winners.
What you serve is also an important cost consideration. By utilizing less-expensive members of certain food families, cheese for instance, savings are possible without compromising your menu. Rather than exotic aged cheeses that quickly run-up your entertainment tab, select local and fresh varieties that are available for a fraction of the cost. Pair your cheese plate with crusty bread, which can also be used for your featured dip or spread.
Limit the Bar Bill
The floodgates of seasonal revelry are opened annually with wine, beer and a staggering variety of spirits. As a party host or hostess, it is not your responsibility to have each of them on hand! Instead, craft your bar service around one or two featured drinks, reflecting the spirit of the season. By harnessing the breadth of your cocktail offerings, you’ve saved money to apply toward your menu.
Punch and mulled wine are well-received at holiday gatherings, providing inexpensive treats for large numbers of people. And don’t use the most expensive red wine on the shelf; you’ll be brightening it up with mulling spices, so inexpensive alternatives work just fine. A bit of bubbly is appropriate at celebrations, but good Champagne is expensive. To come in under budget, consider sparkling wines and Proseco as lower-cost alternatives to the French stalwart.
A Little Help from Friends
When time and funding are in short supply, weigh the benefits of a potluck arrangement. It is customary for guests to bring “hostess gifts” to parties anyway, so why not harness that generosity to include food and drinks?
Enlisting the participation of guests is not always appropriate, but casual holiday gatherings are perfect events for the collective approach. Steer your guests into certain categories: Dessert, main dishes, starters and so on, to round out the menu.
Themes find their way into holiday gatherings too, and can be the source of potluck ideas. Tasting-type menus apply to food and beverages, so having each guest bring a sampling of their favorite beer and wine is another way to spread the party costs around.
In addition to the cost of food and drinks, holiday decorations strain entertainment budgets. The rule of thumb for holiday shopping is to splurge within your financial limits. The same strategies used to keep menu costs in-line can be applied to decorative items; buy what you need first, then consider extras within your means.
Depending on the size of your holiday events, buying some items in bulk quantities might lead to substantial savings. And the most budget-friendly alternatives are those which you already own. Use your serving pieces and existing home decorations to their best advantages, filling them with colorful fruit and wrapped candies. For winter holidays like Christmas utilize pine sprigs to spruce up tables and fill the air with holiday aromas.