Holiday season is party season, and not even the economy can change that. Nearly half of all American adults plan to entertain guests in their home this year, according to a survey by VeraQuest, an online research company.
The survey also revealed that Americans generally plan to spend less this holiday season. Fortunately, you don't have to give up your holiday entertaining plans in order to save money. Frugal and fabulous are the watchwords for this holiday season, and with a few creative ideas you can save money and still show your guests a great time.
Start by setting a budget. Next categorize your party needs into three simple segments: invitations, decorations and refreshments. Decide how much you can afford to spend on each category. Here are some tips for saving money on every aspect of your holiday entertaining:
* Go paperless. Plenty of websites offer free online invitations. Sending invitations over the Internet has many advantages. You won't spend a dime on postage or printing. You'll be doing something good for the environment by going paperless. And, your invitation will reach recipients much faster than if you sent it by post. In fact, some might even receive your invite on their smart phone as soon as you send it.
* If you crave the tradition of paper invitations, or will be hosting less tech-savvy guests, you can save on paper invitations by choosing flat fill-in cards that you write yourself. Discount department stores often sell boxed sets that can be a stylish and affordable option.
* Before you buy any decorations, take stock of what you already have. You may find items that will fit within your color scheme or theme.
* Fresh flowers are a cost-effective way to make your holiday decor vibrant and fresh. Websites like 1800flowers.com can help with centerpieces and decorations that are budget-friendly and festive. As a fun bonus, consider offering the centerpiece from the dinner table as a door prize for one lucky guest.
* Drop by your local Christmas tree lot and ask if they'll give you some cuttings. You can collect this fresh greenery and easily make your own garlands and wreaths with the addition of some brightly colored bows and decorations.
* It's tempting and easy to overspend on spirits. Instead of guessing at how much you'll need, use an online calculator, like the one found at Celebrations.com, to calculate just how much alcohol you will need. That way you won't overbuy and spend too much, or not buy enough and have to make an inconvenient (not to mention embarrassing) liquor run in the middle of the festivities.
* Instead of a costly and time-consuming formal dinner affair, consider something informal, fun and cheaper. Serve an appetizer buffet (many wholesale clubs now sell frozen appetizers that are perfectly yummy and low-cost) or host a dessert and coffee party.
It's not difficult to host a great holiday party on a shoestring budget. You can find more great floral and centerpiece ideas at 1800flowers.com and plenty of party ideas at celebrations.com.