With my favorite tips...
(Because why add more stress?)
1. If you don't feel comfortable having a food potluck, ask people to bring their own drinks. It can oftentimes be more money to try to purchase a plethora of drinks (especially alcoholic!) to meet everyone's needs. Guests will certainly not mind bringing their own bottle of wine, 6-pack of beer, or soda can. Just think of the money you'll save cutting beverages out of your budget.
2. Take advantage of our technological advances and use online invites. Evites is a superb website for this. Consider social networking sites as well such as Facebook.
3. Build menus around dishes you know how to make. If you're feeling daring, add one or two new recipes. Plan as many make-ahead dishes as you can. This means knowing what you can and cannot freeze and how long things keep. Here's a great site to hopefully answer some of your questions: National Center for Home Food Preservation.
4. Unless this is a family gathering, take advantage of the ease of finger foods and appetizers. Make sure you plan your party at an obvious non-meal time, such as 2:00 pm or 8:00 pm. This way you are not responsible for full meal courses.
5. Invite only enough people that will comfortably fit in your space. Do not feel obligated to invite every person in your address book.
6. Don't be afraid to use paper products. Party stores, heck, even Dollar Tree and Target, offer really cute paper plates and matching napkin sets. Okay, maybe this won't save money, but it sure will save time and make things a tad easier.
7. If someone asks if they can bring something, LET THEM! Maybe something special that they make or simply a plate of cookies or box of crackers. I have found that people really want to help out, so be polite (and save some dough) and let them.
8. Though this may be far too late, I always try to stock my pantry throughout the year with things I know I will use more of throughout the holidays. Things like chicken broth, elbow macaroni, coconut, etc. Get the staples when they are at the best price so you are not at the mercy of the retailers around the holiday season.
9. Don't waste your money on expensive decorations. Use what you have, make sure your tree is up (what is a holiday party without a tree!?), and if you really want to add ambiance, get some cheap candles (for example, when Walgreens has 6 votives for $1). Candle light can be warm, romantic, classy, etc. You can also use your creativity if you don't have enough candle holders (any glasses, small plates or bowls, ash trays, jewelry holders, etc. may work) or get some holders at the Dollar Store.
10. If there is a gift exchange involved, encourage (or DEMAND, politely of course) a "secret santa" or the such. This means that each person will be assigned another person in the group and there will be a monetary limit. Spending $20 on one person is much better than spending $20 on 10 people.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
With my favorite tips...