6 Tips for Throwing a Holiday Party for Less

by Jamie Simmerman · 1 comment

Friends at holiday party

While I love getting together with friends and family for the holidays (parties are a great December activity, after all), I don’t like the effect these get-togethers have on my budget.

I don’t mind splurging on those I love, but, if you’re not careful, footing the bill for a holiday party can easily become a financial strain.

Here are some tips for throwing a holiday party on a tight budget.

6 Tips for Throwing a Holiday Party for Less

1. Keep it Simple

While fancy decorations and elaborate themes can be a lot of fun, they can also wrack up quite a bill. Try keeping your decorating simple by buying decorations that can be reused for a variety of events. White Christmas lights, glass globes, white candles, and greenery can easily be adapted to fit any occasion. Not only will you avoid purchasing decorations for other events, but you’ll save a lot of money over specialized theme decorations.

2. Involve Your Guests

Instead of spending money on entertainment for your guests, let them bear some of the burden! Include a request on your invitations for each guest to bring a favorite activity or party game to share with everybody. (Just be sure to come up with a few ideas of your own, in case several guests forget.) This approach also helps limit the number of last-minute cancellations, since guests will be personally invested in the success of the party.

3. Host a Pot-Luck

If your budget is tight, you can always rely on a pot-luck, in which you ask guests to bring a favorite dish. If you’d still like to provide the main course, then you can also ask people to just bring desserts.

4. Use the Power of the Boobie Prize

Instead of giving away traditional goodie bags or exchanging gifts, why not use a Boobie Prize to make your event more fun? The Boobie Prize can be any inexpensive gag gift you choose, like that ugly chicken sculpture your aunt made in art class, a roll of toilet paper filled with inside jokes, hot pink thong underwear in a size XXXXX-Large, fruitcake (the older the better), or something wrapped VERY creatively. Our family likes to package a certain family member’s gift uniquely every year. In years past, we’ve used a toolbox filled with expanding foam, a metal box welded shut, cardboard covered completely in five layers of duct tape and bubble wrap, and a concrete encased block!

5. Limit the Refreshments

While it may sound Scrooge-like to limit the refreshments, letting guests know up front that you’ll be providing the first three drinks only can help take a bite out of that party budget. Guests can always opt to bring their own refreshments or pitch in to order another round later in the night.

6. Skip the Invitations

In today’s digital society, it’s easier than ever to get the word out about your holiday party. Take advantage of technology and use text messages, emails, Facebook events, or an online party planning service to forgo the paper invitations.

How are you saving money on your holiday parties this year?

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  • John from ImpulseSave says:

    I love potlucks around this time of year, it’s such a great way to try everyone’s favorite holiday treats! In my family we don’t exactly have a potluck, but my sister makes all her special desserts she’s famous for, invites all our friends and family, and we just pig out. It’s a great time.

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