13 Festive Christmas Food Ideas That Will Save Your Wallet

So this is the year you’re hosting the holiday party - friends, family, coworkers you like - whomever it may be; this year it’s on you to entertain. How do you do it without spending a small fortune?

Parties are about gathering a group of people and having a good time. Do you need to rent a boat, a bartender or a fancy venue to have a good time? No really! And without asking your guests for an entry fee, it may be difficult to be this extravagant on a budget.

‘Tis the Season

First place to save money is to send a virtual invite - or a Facebook event, or a mass text message. Something free that’s easy for you to keep track of who says yes, no, maybe. Paper, snail mail invites are mostly for weddings, anyway, these days. But if you were thinking about it, just cross it off your list as a possibility and move on. Between the invites themselves, the time to stuff them and the cost of postage, it’s just not worth it.

As we are always happy to spend money on food (and don’t always budget for what we end up getting), it could be worth making your party a potluck, so you aren’t the only one responsible for buying and cooking food. Plus, it gives everyone the opportunity to dust off Nan’s holiday pudding recipe.

And when it comes to decorations, plates, and various other bits and pieces you may need for the day - the dollar store is your new best friend! From fancy (looking) paper plates and utensils to candle holders, crepe paper and cups, you can pick up many of the basics. Especially if you need to buy a lot of one thing or another. If it’s on your mind and you’d like to do something a bit more environmentally friendly consider picking up paper rather than plastic utensils. Stainless steel straws (you can buy them in bulk) can be a good small takeaway gift for the day as well.

Deck The Halls

The party atmosphere is something you can spend ages agonising over if you want to, and with a limited budget, you still can have choice and variety with your decorations! There are a lot of angles you can take on getting crafty.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Jube lolly decorations: From ornaments to Christmas trees and feature decorations, you can use gumdrops for a lot of types of decoration - though you wouldn’t want to let smaller hands (or tipsy adults) eat these, as glue isn’t that appetising.
  • Gumnuts: The local replacement for the pinecone decorations we always see in American Christmas movies, gumnuts can be a sophisticated (or cute) decoration for the day of your party. Simply spray paint them a metallic or festive colour, and you’re done.
  • Paper snowflakes: Our primary school days come in handy sometimes - paper snowflakes are an entertaining way to spend a few hours, and can give you some unique decorations for the day. If your primary school days are lost to the fog of memory, check out tutorials online, ranging from easy to complicated.
  • Salt dough ornaments: Mix some salt, flour and water together for your dough and get crafty with different shapes and patterns. Cook in the oven and decorate afterwards with paint and glitter and you’ll have some great decorations for your home at a tiny cost. If you’d rather something a bit more edible, try gingerbread.
  • Lots of sparkly things: Have glue, some string and sparkles? Plus a balloon or two? Give this "recipe" a try and add a bit of sparkle to the room without the cost of fairy lights. Or you can always break out the tinsel.

And All I Want For Christmas is...You!?

The holidays can be a nice time to show your loved ones you care, and there are ways to do it without breaking the bank, and not coming off as a scrooge. Two things you can give as gifts which (oftentimes) lights up people’s faces are:

  • Food: You can absolutely give food as a gift, as long as you know a person isn’t allergic or sensitive to anything you include, and it’s a nice personal thing to give, as you’ve put time and care in. This is where the dollar store can come in handy as well, as you can pick up mason jars in bulk. Some possible food gifts include:
  • Brownie jars
  • Mulled wine kits
  • Edible cookie dough
  • Quick bread kits
  • Infused vodkas
  • Baked cookies
  • Time: This is a little bit easier if you’re skilled at something like massages; in a way it’s like bartering. You can also make it “come with” a small cost, like saying, “I’ll go see that rom-com you’ve been dying to see but haven’t wanted to drag your significant other along to” or “a night at the pub with darts, chicken schnitzel and nostalgic stories”.

Remember, a holiday party is really about getting to spend time with the people you care about - family, friends, neighbours - so there’s no need to go overboard with decorations, food or drink. As long as you’re surrounded by the people important to you, you’ll be able to find a good time.

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