10 Ideas for Hosting a Budget Friendly Holiday Party
Updated: Feb 2
Let's be honest, who doesn't love a fun, festive, holiday party full of great food, cheer, and smiles from your guests. We all do, but we don't need to bust our budgets and overspend to create something fun and memorable. Here are some of our tips on how to be merry, without the budget having to be scary!
10 Ideas for Hosting a Budget-Friendly Holiday Party
Idea #1: Your guests don't need to walk out the door so stuffed that they don't want to eat for a week.
One of the most common mistakes many hosts make is ordering way too much food. You don't need 20 or more appetizers for a holiday cocktail party. For a "light appetizers with drinks" party that lasts 1.5 to 2 hours, we suggest no more than 4-5 appetizer selections. For a cocktail party lasting longer than 2.5 hours, we suggest 6-8 selections maximum. You don't need to go overboard on variety.
Idea #2: Focus on the fun!
Holiday party budgets can quickly get crazy if the host is buying gifts for each guest. Even small "welcome gifts" or a swag bag upon leaving can get spendy real quick. A fun and interactive way to keep your guests having a blast is to do a White Elephant style gift exchange, where you ask your guests to bring a small inexpensive gift that is wrapped to the party in lieu of a host/hostess gift for you. As people arrive, you have them pick up a slip of paper with a number on it, and place it in their pocket. After drinks and nibbles, you call everyone together, and the person with the 1st number draws a gift from the pile first.
Idea #3: Keep your guest list headcount manageable
We get it, you love to throw big bashes and invite the entire block, everyone from work, and their families... No... you really don't need to. A smaller intimate party of say 15-30 people will not only allow you to connect with your guests personally but will allow everyone to circulate and actually interact with each other. No more wallflowers, staring at their phones at your party! Lower headcounts are always more budget-friendly, and if you want to show off a little bit, you can make the food more upscale without sending your wallet skywards.
Idea #4: Designer hot chocolate instead of a full bar
Look, we’re not trying to be Mr. McScrooge about your holiday booze here, but the reality is, alcohol can be mondo expensive—especially when you’re buying it for a large group at a party. We still want to be fun and festive while saving some major bucks, then forget the full bar service all night, the spiked eggnog, and 10 different types of wine, and offer a gourmet hot chocolate to your guests. To make it a touch boozy without going budget blowout, think Irish Cream, Amaretto, or Peppermint Schnapps. Alternatively, if you want to 86 the booze altogether, do designer infused syrups such as gingerbread, peppermint, white chocolate, or even pumpkin spice hot chocolate.
Idea #5: Don't overdo the decorations!
We get it, you want to deck the halls in every nook and cranny of your home or office. Decorations and floral for the entire place costs a bundle, and let's be honest, will your guests really remember it? No, they won't. Focus on a few high impact decorations and strategically place them in high traffic areas. Your front door, the mantel, the buffet table, etc.
Idea #6: Hark those angels are singing!
Instead of hiring a solo musician, or a band for your event. Think more budget-friendly! Everyone loves holiday tunes! It’s good for the soul and certainly sets the mood for the event. Set the merry and bright mood with your holiday favorites, there are great online playlists of hours of holiday music. You could even do a little Christmas karaoke. Just search for a Christmas karaoke playlist on YouTube, and let your friends belt out their own rendition of Jingle Bell Rock!
Idea #7: Forget the fancy-schmancy custom invitations
We get it, you love to make it memorable. Your event will be memorable by the mood, atmosphere, food, and drinks that are served, not the expensive custom printed invitations you send out. Keep the invites basic, with clear-cut information of date, location, start time, and more importantly a stop time. Many of our hosts forget to put the stop time, and there's always a number of friends who will linger far past when social cues tell them to go. Always include a stop time. Remember to secure your event date with us as early as possible. Then send out your holiday invites straight away to maximize the RSVPs. People's schedules during the holiday season can always get crazy.
Idea #8: Skip the service formalities
Don't bust the budget on bartenders and service staff. Let AWG Private Chefs create you a stunning food display, or multiple food display stations scattered around the event space to keep your guests moving, social, and engaged. Utilize paper napkins instead of china. Having a smaller number of menu items at each station will encourage guests to move about the party, talk to one another, and seek out other areas to move to in the event there's that one party guest who loves to monopolize the conversation. You know, we all have "that one person"...
Idea #9: Timing is everything
We all know that people's holiday schedules fill up rapidly, with Friday and Saturday almost always consumed first. Instead of trying to cram your event onto someone's busy holiday schedule, think about hosting an evening cocktail party from 630-830pm on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Or perhaps a Sunday holiday brunch from 10-12. Keep the parties shorter and scheduled on the non-prime days. This can often not only save you money on the entire event, but you may end up with more RSVPs and less of the dreaded "Sorry, I'm already booked then" responses from your guests.
Idea #10: Be a guest at your own event!
With AWG Private Chefs, experience our signature "Easy, Effortless Entertaining" service. Our team of Certified Master Chefs, Event Planners, Mixologists, Sommeliers, and seasoned Service staff can handle all of the details for you. Allowing you to maximize your time with your guests, relax, and enjoy knowing that the event and above all the cleanup is handled for you!
Best wishes & best dishes to you all this holiday season!
To inquire about holiday party menus, or to secure your event date, visit our Contact Us Page or call our concierge hotline at 1-877-753-2727 today.