Collins Community Credit Union

How to Host a Holiday Party on a Budget

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From buying gifts to throwing parties – during the holiday season you end up spending money as if it grows on trees. Then when January rolls around, you’re on a ramen noodle diet! It doesn’t have to be like this. I’m here to give you a couple quick tips on how to host an authentic and creative holiday party that’s well within budget. 

Published on Dec 04, 2017

The snow is falling and it’s so delightful, yet the money you spend on your holiday party can be so frightful. From buying gifts to throwing parties – you end up spending money as if it grows on trees. Then when January rolls around, you’re on a ramen noodle diet!

It doesn’t have to be like this. I’m here to give you a couple quick tips on how to host an authentic and creative holiday party that’s well within budget. When January rolls around, you’ll be able to treat yourself to the after-holiday sales.

When you think of your holiday party you need to be strategic. There are three areas you need to focus on:

  1. Theme
  2. Presentation
  3. Food


You might be thinking to yourself, “Isn’t the theme Christmas?” Obviously! But there are different party themes you can use to your advantage within Christmas. The best two are:

  • Secret Santa
  • Holiday Potluck Dinner

When looking at these two themes, can you guess what their commonality is? Your guests will be a huge part of the party.

Hosting a potluck dinner means you only have to cook one dish, automatically saving you money from trying to cater all night. The best part is that all your guests will bring something different to the table, creating a unique holiday spread.

If you chose to go with a Secret Santa theme, you’d add an extra holiday touch that would take the focus away from what’s being catered. By having your guests participate, you can just serve appetizers while you all focus on exchanging gifts.

But if you want to get extra creative, combine both the Secret Santa with the Potluck Dinner. Rather than tackling everything yourself, make your guests feel involved in a natural and festive way. They’re already in the giving mood because of the holidays – they might as well spread the merriment to your party too.


You can’t have a holiday party without a festive presentation. From your Christmas tree, to the lights, to all the small decorative things you put around your home – all these add to the aura of the holidays.

Rather than going out and buying wreaths and other fancy Christmas decorations, go out to your lawn and start picking up leaves, pines, branches, etc. All these natural elements plus whatever you have lying around your home can be turned into awesome innovative Christmas decorations. The holidays are the best times for arts and crafts!

Before you tackle your first craft though, take a look at this article from Country Living. It provides 30 DIY projects that are simple, frugal, and, most importantly, representative of the holiday spirit. From cookie tin tress to paper gift baskets, you’ll be able to create an authentic presentation without ever having to break the bank.


This is the most important part to any holiday party! No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it – if someone tells you they don’t care what’s being served at the holiday party, they’re lying to you.

So as a host, your imagination can run wild while your funds quiver in fear. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t have to go out and buy a couple turkeys and a spread of ham to satisfy every guest.

First you can take advantage of a potluck dinner as we discussed earlier. This’ll be the best remedy for your finances. But if a potluck dinner is out of the question, then look to cook something filling that’s also cost effective.

For example, a homemade Christmas-themed pasta dish can be very affordable while offering a filling entrée. Let’s say you’re having 40 guests for your party. You’d probably need to buy about 10lbs worth of pasta to satisfy your guests. Lucky for you though, an average pound of pasta goes for about $1.40.

Throw in some ground beef, with green and red peppers (the peppers add both flavor and Christmas colors to your dish), and you got yourself a dish for 40 people that in total would cost you less than $40 to make. It’s the holidays, so everyone should be willing to eat a couple extra carbs!

The holidays are meant to be joyful. By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay frugal while enjoying time spent with family and friends. Your guests aren’t coming to your holiday party because of a high-end presentation, and they’re certainly not expecting a meal catered by Bobby Flay.

They’re coming to your holiday party, because they enjoy your company, and they want to be around loved ones during the best time of the year. Rather than spending big bucks, get creative and follow these tips. Your holiday party will truly reflect the spirit of the holidays.

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