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!