Not all of us can afford to splurge on a posh holiday party, but that doesn’t mean we have to entirely forgo all the festive fun. Planning a soiree that’s as sophisticated as it is friendly to your savings account takes a little know-how and strategy. And we’ve already done all the legwork for you — read on for tips from holiday and party-planning experts.
“Plan an inexpensive theme that revolves around one main activity,” says Jamie Yahne, owner of the online holiday dinnerware retailer Glitzee Glee. “You can ask the guests to bring part of the ingredients.” Her idea? Build gingerbread houses. You’ll supply the gingerbread and your guests can bring the candy, frosting and other decorating items. It’s perfect for a party with a mix of adults and kids.
Debbie Anderson, author of the blog Christmas by Debbie, suggests holiday-themed, sugar-rimmed sips to make the evening more enchanting. “Martinis always add sophistication and sparkle to a party,” she says, “and ingredients can be bought on the cheap.” Check out Debbie’s fab recipes for a Red Raspberry French Martini or a Green Appletini.
You needn’t spend tons to get your space in the holiday spirit. Celebrity party planner Marley Majcher, a.k.a. The Party Goddess — whose star-studded clientele include Sofia Vergara, Britney Spears, Jenna Elfman and Kelly Preston — says place-card holders can be fun and festive enough to glam up a table. “Think individual snowflakes, ornaments or bottles painted in chalkboard paint and tied with a beautiful ribbon,” Majcher says. “Instead of spending more money on a gift for your guests, why not let them take their place setting home? It’s personalized and unique to them.”
Another one of Majcher’s fool-proof inexpensive party ideas? Edible centerpieces. “Individual sweets on a pedestal in the middle of each table double as décor and dessert,” she says. “Picture candy apples dipped in caramel or chocolate and then individually wrapped in cello with beautiful ribbon and nested among evergreen sprigs.”