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Sometimes at Christmas time you really just need to stop being so frivolous and be a little frugal. There might be certain areas you prefer not to skimp on when it comes to the holidays, but you can throw a really great Christmas party with all the bells and whistles without having to go bankrupt. Just follow these simple tips to having a frugal Christmas party.
* Do a cookie exchange. This is a great, fun, and inexpensive way to get together at the holidays. Everyone brings one or two batches of their favorite holiday cookies and a container. They leave with a whole platter of yummy cookies. You don’t have to do too much either. Provide some light hors d’oeuvres and some beverages and you have a great night. Best part is everyone leaves with something and you don’t have to provide it.
* Have a tree-trimming party. So you have to decorate the tree anyways. Have a bunch of friends over and have at it. A little wine and light snacks and you’ll have a simple, inexpensive party.
* Potluck is a great way to go. Not only does it save you money, but you also get to try many different kinds of food. Plus, less work having to prepare a big meal for everyone. Just get the plates, napkins, and beverages. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that.
* Have a little cheese with that wine. If you’re looking for something slightly more elegant, perhaps for business clients, then a wine and cheese party is the way to go. To make it even more budget friendly, ask each guest to bring their favorite bottle of wine. Then all you have to buy is the cheese. Who knows, you might find a new wine you like.
* Host an open house. Have people come as they please during certain hours and serve them light hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
* Have a pizza party. Okay, stay with us here. We know it sounds so not Christmassy, but let everyone make their own. Dough is relatively inexpensive and having everyone make their own brings everyone together. Perhaps an impromptu flour fight breaks out. It could be a lot of fun. Besides, who doesn’t love pizza?
* Skip brunch in favor of lupper. A little mid-day treat. It doesn’t have to cost you a whole lot of money because you don’t need to do a five-course dinner. Keep it small and cheerful.
* Have a white elephant party. Part of the problem with holiday parties is buying gifts for everyone. Well, instead have everyone bring one wrapped gift. Put a spending limit on it if you’d like, but let them buy whatever they want to buy.
Taking turns the first person opens a gift. The second person then has the choice of taking the gift from the first person or opening her own. If she steals the first person’s gift, then the first person picks a new gift and opens it. It then moves on to the third person, and so on until everyone is left with a gift. It might not be the one you chose, but hopefully you love it none the less. It’s really very fun. And you don’t have to worry about buying a gift for everyone because everyone gets one gift.
Keeping it small and asking your guests to contribute is what’s going to help make your holiday party one that doesn’t break the bank. What’s your favorite Christmas party theme?
Are you looking to cut corners anywhere you can this Christmas holiday season? Who isn’t? Well, a good place to start saving money is on your Christmas party invitations. There’s no need to go all out with a printer like you’re having a wedding or something (unless you are having a Christmas wedding). You will have to be prepared to do the work yourself, though.
You can save money on Christmas party invitations by following these simple tips:
Make Your Own
This kind of goes without saying and we know you’re thinking, “But I’m not crafty. I can’t use my printer. I can’t draw.” But can you write and glue? Well, then you are all set. Here are some make-your-own suggestions.
* Take a picture from a previous year’s Christmas party and glue it to a piece of construction paper cut slightly larger than the picture to create a border. Then on the back write all of the Christmas party information.
* Get scrappy with it. Your local craft store will have a ton of scrapbooking stuff. But don’t worry; you don’t need to buy all the scrapbooking gear (unless this is a hobby you really want to explore). Just get yourself some card stock, some Christmas stickers, and some embellishments like ribbon and then get creative with it.
* Now if you can make it yourself on your computer, but just don’t like the quality you are getting from printing it yourself, you can bring it to your local print shop where you will likely end up paying about $0.20 per copy. Not too bad though, considering how much an online card designer charges.
This is a completely free service from evite.com. And it’s so simple. You just put in your information and you can even add a picture. Just make sure all of your guests have an email address and you have the right one. But really, who doesn’t have an email address these days? Other than perhaps Grandma.
Along the same lines as the evites, but the difference being that you don’t have a handy way to keep track of the RSVPs this way. But nonetheless, email blasts are free; just be careful your email provider doesn’t flag you as sending out spam. You might want to check and see how many emails you can send at once about the same thing before your email provider goes all spastic and won’t let you send anymore messages.
Look for Promo Codes
If you just can’t get yourself to do these extra steps and you really would rather put it in the hands of a professional, then at least find yourself a good coupon code. Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price. Smaller companies might not do price matching, but it never hurts to ask if a company will meet or beat a competitor.
The bottom line when it comes to saving money on your Christmas holiday party invitations is if you either do it yourself or shop around you can keep some of that money in your pocketbook and use it in other areas. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, though. Remember, once the party is over, the invitation is most likely going in the trash. So don’t kill yourself on a silly invitation that only you are going to remember the awesomeness of.
So you’re hosting the family Christmas dinner this year and need to come up with the perfect Christmas centerpiece for your table. Don’t worry – even the crafty challenged can make a beautiful centerpiece for their Christmas table withour breaking the bank. Here are a few Christmas holiday centerpiece ideas for your table this year.
Use ornaments. You have them for your tree; use them on your table as well. Stack some glass ornaments decoratively together with some glue, add some sprigs of pine to it for a more festive put together look (perhaps to hide some of the glue), and place it in a festive bowl at the center of your table. Surround it with some candlesticks adorned with some ornaments to add to the elegance of it all.
It’s ribbon time. Run a strip of ribbon down the center of your tablecloth and place matching vases on the table with some holly in them or poinsettia flowers. Tie a piece of the same kind of ribbon you have going down the center of your table around the vases. This will help bring it all together.
Create a package centerpiece. Since Christmas and gifts go hand in hand, something cute for your table centerpiece is stacked boxes of varying sizes and color/design. Make a tower and place it on top of a cake stand (don’t go too high; you want your guests to be able to see across the table and you don’t want it toppling down either). Top it with a beautiful flowing Christmas bow.
Bring the outside indoors. Do you have a more rustic table? Then go outside and gather up some twigs from the yard. Place them in a glass pitcher and then hang some Christmas cards or ornaments from the twigs.
Make paper trees. Don’t you love paper dolls? You know the ones where you fold up a piece of paper and carefully cut out the shape of a doll, but leave the hands uncut and when you unfold the paper you have a long string of dolls holding hands? Well, instead of cutting dolls, why not try doing the same thing with a Christmas tree. Don’t worry if you can’t draw because there are plenty of Christmas tree stencils you can get your hands on to make your festive paper tree chain. Just don’t forget the tree stand so it can stand on your table.
Use pine cones. This is more bringing the outdoors in. You can make a wreath out of pine cones or spray paint them either gold or silver or with white spray paint to appear as if they have snow on them. Then just arrange them neatly in a bowl.
Have an old-fashioned Christmas lights centerpiece. Do you remember those big bulbs we used to have on our Christmas tree when we were kids? The ones that got super hot to touch and were probably a major fire hazard? Well, if you happen to have some lying around (or if not that’s okay because they do make a new one like that which doesn’t get as hot), then take those bulbs and put them in a clear bowl. Place a large candle in the center for added effect and there you go – instant centerpiece.
Centerpieces are fun and festive and can be really easy to make. So easy in fact that many times it’s just a matter of tossing whatever you have that’s festive in the house into a bowl and adding a few simple candle accents to the table. No need to buy something special to adorn your table this year. You can easily do it yourself with some of these frugal fun ideas for Christmas.
Food and the holidays go hand in hand. So that grocery bill begins to skyrocket the closer it gets to the holidays. If you follow these ten tips in the kitchen this holiday season, you will be happy with the money savings that you see.
1. Plan, plan, plan. This is the number one thing you can do in the kitchen. Plan out your menu for the holidays well in advance. Plan your weekly menus carefully leading up to the holidays, too. You can save a lot of money by sticking to a carefully planned out menu.
2. Take stock. Check your freezer and check your pantry. Know what you have in both. Not only will it prevent you from over buying for your holiday meal, but you can also plan out your weekly menu with what’s left in your freezer and pantry. That will cut down on your weekly grocery bill, allowing you to spend money on your holiday menu.
3. Make smart purchases. Buying in bulk and buying what’s on sale will be huge savings in your kitchen. Stocking up early will help you, too. Adding an extra bag of flour to your weekly grocery shopping here and there isn’t going to be such a big hit on your weekly shopping budget.
4. Make lists. Live with lists: lists of what you have on hand; lists of what you need to get; lists of how much you are spending. Keep them up to date and stick to them. This will be your lifeline in the kitchen, so utilize your lists carefully.
5. Budget. Set a budget and don’t falter from it at all. Have a budget for your holiday spending and a budget for your weekly spending.
6. Store brand shop. More often than not, store brand is cheaper than name brand. And here’s a little secret – many of your store brand products are made by the name brand company. So you are literally just paying for the label when you buy name brand.
7. Organize your pantry. Keep your holiday foods separate and do not touch these items for anything but your holiday cooking. If you figure out exactly how much flour you need, you can measure it out and then what’s left in your pantry is what you have to cook your daily meals with. And if you have something your family might be tempted to attack, then make sure it’s hidden and they don’t know about it. Not too hidden that you forget where you put it, though.
8. Freeze ahead. Make some of your holiday meals in advance. If there’s a really good sale on potatoes, but you are worried they won’t stay good until your holiday meal, then cook in advance and freeze. Getting pumpkins and making puree and freezing it will save you money for that pumpkin pie you need to make.
9. Decorate frugally. Use what you have at home to decorate with. Make your own centerpiece for the table. Use your kids’ school art projects on your holiday table. Don’t run out and buy a new table cloth; just use what you already have. Revamp it to mask stains if you have to.
10. It’s over! Get started on next year. There’s nothing better than planning ahead. And taking advantage of the after-holiday sales will save you tons of money. So you don’t have to get creative with your stained tablecloth next year; instead you can buy one during an after-Christmas sale and save tons of money that way. Get napkins and paper plates cheap and store them with your Christmas items. This way when the Christmas stuff comes out for decorating the rest of the house, you’ll find these things and will have a head start on your holiday shopping.
Get a head start on your holiday season and you are going to save tons of money this year. So what are your best frugal kitchen tips for the holiday season?