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How to Host a Holiday Party Without Breaking the Bank!

by Lorna Calder

The Holiday seasons are upon us and now is the time to start planning for your Holiday party. Doesn't matter if you are a veteran at Holiday Parties or a first-timer, here are some great tips to help you plan a party that is fun, festive and budget friendly. 

Set a Budget. Map out all of your expenses, such as food and drink costs, entertainment, invites and decorations. If you are not sure how much any of these cost, do a little research online or ask friends and family. If you have hosted a party similar to this or the same as last year, you can get an idea of what it may cost from that experience. Also, there are programs you can use such as Party Budget Estimator from Evite, it will calculate your costs based on the information you type in, number of guests and the length of the party time. 

  • Prioritize the spending of your money. What is the most important part of your party? Is it the food or the entertainment or enhancing the decor? If you're on a tight budget, setting your priority list will help you to estimate how much things will cost.
  • Choose a venue carefully. If you plan to host at a restaurant or a venue outside of your hme, make sure you reserve it FAR in advance. Most of us host it in our own homes, that can save LOTS of money right there. 


Create That Guest List. Your budget may dictate the size of your party but there are other ways to cut cost so you can entertain more people. Is it a sit down type or party or something much larger? Kids or just adults? If you do decide to invite children you will want to keep their interests in mind like different types or foods or fun activities like cookie decorating, gingerbread house building, crafts or holiday movies.  

  • Send invitations. Be sure to send paper invitations as soon as possible. Everyone starts to fill up their calendars with Holiday activities pretty quick so you want them to get the invites ASAP. 
  • Save money with email invitations. Email invitations are FREE to send and allow you to have more management over who responds. You can also use Facebook and make an event page to invite guests and send reminders of the upcoming event. This can be especially helpful if you are having a potluck style, that way you can keep track of who is bringing what in the Comments below your event page. 


Plan Your Entertainment. You always want your guests to have fun at your event! You can use a digital music service like Pandora or Spotify to create a Holiday Playlist to stream through Bluetooth speakers or an entertainment center or TV. 

  • Do your guests like to sing? Rent or buy a Karaoke machine.
  • Encourage your guests to dress for the event. Make sure to let them know on the invite. Is it formal? Ugly sweater? Have fun with the theme.
  • If you are having kids there, hire someone or ask a family member to dress up as Santa Claus and pose for photos with the kids. 
  • Again, if you are having kids at your party, hand out goody bags filled with Holiday themed crafts, cookies or toys. 
  • If you plan to do a gift exchange or White Elephant, make sure you give a budget for guests to stick to. 


Plan a Great Menu. It always helps to plan your menu, whether you are having it catered or preparing it yourself.

  • If you are having the party catered then you should hire the caterer as soon as possible because the Holidays are the BUSIEST time of the year and they can book up quick. You can look online for recommendations, post something on Facebook asking for recommendations or ask your family and friends. If your guests have any dietary restrictions or you have a specific menu in mind, talk to your caterer and let them know. 
  • Have fun with it! Look all over the internet like Pinterest or scour magazines to find the perfect recipes. To help reduce stress, make as much of the meal in advance as you can and freeze or store it in the fridge until the party day. Also, if you care to cut down on cost even more, host a Holiday BRUCH, yes breakfast foods are much less expensive and it will be just as fun. 
  • If you are planning to do a potluck then you should supply the main dish and have everyone else bring the sides and desserts. You can manage when people are bringing by putting an RSVP card int he paper invite to send out asking what they are bringing OR if you choose to do an evite or Facebook event page then have them comment what they would like to bring. You can also post a comment on the Facebook event page with ideas of what to bring.
  • Everyone loves a good Holiday drink! But lets not break the bank with it! Serve up a Holiday punch or a signature Holiday drink that way you wont have to sit there constantly making them or making a multitude of different things. 


Decorate. In order to save money here, use decorations you already have or borrow from family and friends. If you have kids, get their help to make things creative and crafty. You can also take FREE items from nature, such as pine cones, branches and twigs and dust them with glitter or paint them. Also, discount store like Dollar Tree offer a wide variety of cheap decorations that you can make look great.


Biggest thing is to remember to HAVE FUN and DON'T STRESS! 


THE Holiday Party Checklist 🎄

by Lorna Calder
The Holiday Season is right around the corner and if you are planning to host a party it can become stressful! But don't let it be! Here is a great checklist you can use to plan a fun and budget-friendly party that everyone is sure to LOVE!
Click HERE for a PDF version to print out!
© 2017 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK NOVEMBER EREPORT S

❄Tips to Winterize Your Texas Home❄

by Lorna Calder

I always get a good chuckle when I see a Texan in a thick jacket when it’s 60 degrees outside. Even though we only get maybe a good 4 weeks cumulative of weather under 40 degrees it’s still important to winterize your Texas Home. Here a few simple tips of how to do just that!



1. Replace Worn Out Weather-stripping

Drafts are no good, especially if you want to keep your home nice and toasty this winter and save money on heating costs. There is an easy way to tell if your home’s weather stripping is failing, making your home smell delicious at the same time. Light a stick of incense and hold it up to windows and doors where they meet the window sill and door jamb. If you do in fact have a draft, you will see the smoke travel towards the draft area on in away from the draft area. You can purchase and replace weather stripping yourself, finding the necessary tools and items you will need at your local hardware shop OR you can get a handyman to do the job for you. We have recommendations on who to use if you need it!

2. Caulk and Seal

Whether you have 40 year old windows or new windows, the “glazing” they use to seal those windows over time will crack and break causing gaps that will let the outside elements in. Take a caulking gun and some caulk to any cracks or gaps that you may see around your windows and door frames. This will help to save you money on heating costs by not allowing that precious heat to escape and also keep the outside cold from coming in.

3. Clean Your Gutters

Those fall leaves and fallen pine needles will surely clog up your gutters. If left they can cause blockages that make the gutters heavy and fill with rain water that could freeze and possible make them pull away from fascia boards. A few ways to clean them yourself are by getting up on a ladder and hand scooping them out or you can try to use a leaf blower. If you have a two story or don’t feel comfortable getting up on a ladder, you can call a local handyman to help with this task. We know a few, give us a call and we can give you a recommendation.

4. Hire a Chimney Sweep

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in a while then it may be time! This will help prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home. It is recommended to do this once a year, let us know if you need a recommendation on who to hire!

5. Get Your Furnace Inspected

Let’s be proactive instead of reactive on this one! Instead of having your heater go out on you mid-January, have a service technician come out during Fall to inspect and run a bit of maintenance on your furnace, that will ensure you have a smooth winter ahead of you when it comes to heating. Need a professional, we know a few. Call us today for a recommendation.

6. Trim Trees and Bushes

Cut all dead and living branches hanging over your house to minimize risk of them coming down with the next storm. Also, trimming bushes away from your home will prevent water penetration into your home. Need a professional, licensed Tree Trimmer? We know a few!

7. Change Your Air Filter

THIS IS AN EASY ONE PEOPLE, and one that is forgotten about too commonly. First, changing the filter will make your heating system have to work less hard to get warm air into your home saving you money and your heating system stress. Secondly, don’t you want the air filter to do its job by removing dust, allergens, mold spores, dander, etc. from the air? Yes, well change it! I personally change mine every 3 months but you can do it more often than that or longer than that depending on your living condition: kids, pets, types of outdoor trees, indoor plants, etc. Set yourself a reoccurring reminder on your phone to replace them, you can find them at hardware store or big box stores like Target even Costco!

8. Gather up That Firewood

Fun Fact: Ash is the only tree that will burn “green,” right after it’s cut down. Stock up on firewood NOW before it becomes more of a demand and prices go up. Search Facebook Marketplace or local Social Sites like Nextdoor!

9. Cover Outside Faucets and Pipes

Whether it’s an old sock, towel with duct tape or professional insulating material; your pipes and faucets should be covered during winter to make sure they won’t freeze if the temp gets too low. I usually wrap mine up at the end of Fall and just leave them wrapped until the end of April. No harm in leaving it on there that long, you don’t want to be running outside when it’s 11pm and 28 degrees outside to cover pipes you forgot!

If you need a recommendation on for a Tree Trimmer, Handyman, HVAC professional, Chimney Sweep or anything else, we have a HUGE database of folks that we have worked with before both personally and professionally! Call us today to get their information 281-361-2280

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