How to Throw a Holiday Party on a Budget

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by Lora Green, Contributing Writer

Are you looking forward to holiday festivities, dinners, and celebrations? The holiday season brings joyful fellowship, but it's not necessarily easy on our pocketbooks. A tight budget might mean that we'll choose not to host — or we'll exceed our budget trying to pull together a beautiful gathering. However, holiday entertaining doesn't have to be pricey. You can throw a holiday party on a budget with a few simple strategies.

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#1: Think Outside the Linens

A lace tablecloth is a timeless linen, but sometimes it's nice to have color and pattern in a table setting. Instead of going to the linen closet – or heading to the store – pull out your gift wrap. This black and gold polka dot “runner” is actually gift wrap. Simply unroll and cut to length for a quick, affordable, pop of color on the holiday table. You won't have to worry about spills and stains, because it will be tossed in the trash, not the washer, afterward.

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#2: Layer the Basics

Solid dishware and cloth napkins don't have to be boring. In fact, I love solids for entertaining. Our china is a creamy white and we have cloth napkins in several solid colors. Basic pieces mix easily with an assortment of holidays, seasons, and events. The key is to layer basics creatively. For example, tuck a solid napkin between the dinner and salad plate. It adds a pop of color, builds depth and creates interest.

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#3: Accent Inexpensively

If you spend money, I'd recommend a set of chargers. I bought our metallic chargers years ago, and they are actually plastic. A set of 8 chargers can cost less than what 2 dinner plates would typically cost. They are a classic item that you'll be able to use again and again. Chargers are an accent that adds height, width, and color to each place setting… for dollar store prices.

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#4: Borrow from the Backyard

Find your place cards in the backyard. A magnolia tree is the source of many of my favorite projects {like wreaths and centerpieces}, and here the lush green leaves find their home on our table. Using a chalk marker, I added the names of each guest in cursive for an elegant and natural look. Of course, the green leaves tie into the cloth napkins and emphasize the holiday theme. Other ideas for incorporating backyard items could include sticking a small handwritten paper place card into the scales of a pinecone or between the needles of an evergreen sprig.

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#5: Create Ambiance

I love a fancy centerpiece, but sometimes simple is best. Save money by skipping the florist and pull together a collection of candlesticks, instead. This set of brass candlesticks ties in perfectly with the black and gold gift wrap. Collected items always make a bigger impact in a group, whether it be a set of wooden, crystal or metallic candle holders. Plus, they'll create the perfect evening ambiance for a holiday dinner.

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Hopefully, affordable entertaining will encourage you to open the doors of your home and host. Invite in friends and family. Enjoy the fellowship of the holiday season without adding stress by busting the budget.

Instead, spend your money on the only thing that really matters when you host… the food. That is what we all come for, right? Even then, go easy on the pocketbook by hosting potlucks or fixing one-dish casseroles. My go-to is lasagna, paired with salad and loaf of french bread. Everyone loves it, it's easy to prepare beforehand, and it's a budget-conscious meal.

Tight budgets can still allow for holiday parties, it just requires a bit of creativity.

What tips do you have for budget-friendly entertaining?fb-budget-holiday-party-craftivity-designs-1

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My name is Lora Green and I blog at Craftivity Designs, where I document how we are creating our home. I believe that a home is about much more than design and decor – it should tell the story of a family. Our home must fit the needs of two small kids, a work-at-home mom, and a youth pastor dad. I want it to be a beautiful space, but it should be functional and meaningful, too. If you are trying to meld function and beauty, join me over at Craftivity Designs to share in this journey of creating a home.

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