Christmas treeCan you feel the Holiday spirit? The year is almost over and Christmas Eve is only a few weeks away! It’s the time for a family get-together and gift exchanges. We usually host the annual family reunion in our house so we learned how keep control on spending while still enjoying it.

The gift ideas can be endless out there; all you need really is a credit card to kick spending out of control. It’s very easy to overspend whether you shop in malls or online in the cosiness of your house wearing your favourite pyjama.

We often receive a lot of family on Christmas Eve where we exchange gifts and enjoy a table of delicacies. When you’re hosting, you’re always under pressure to be the best host not to mention presenting a fun Santa Clause experience.

This year folks you can be all that on a smaller budget by following a few simple but efficient tips. Fight temptations by setting a hard budget limit and sticking to it. Setting a budget is only half the solution when it comes to exchanging gifts. In order to keep the gift quality high it is best if you only focus on gifting 1 person rather than several.

How do you do this? Very simple, let’s assume that excluding kids, there will be a total of 10 people in the house.

Randomly select a name for each guest whereby each person ends up worrying about 1 person when it comes to gifting. Keep the selection secret; just inform your invitees of the person they will be gifting. In this case, each person ends up buying 1 and only 1 gift allowing you to respect the budget while gifting an item of quality.

It will be fun to discover who is gifting who on Christmas Eve!

The 1 gift rule obviously does not apply on kids because they love unwrapping several gifts – isn’t that what makes their Christmas memorial. For kids under 6 years old, it’s not that complicated to buy them a bunch of toys.  No need to buy the most expensive toy, for example for the price of one expensive doll you can get the full deal with accessories and all the magical plastic stuff a dolly needs.  You will be surprised of how much stuff you also can buy from a dollar store.

Let’s face it, it’s not worth overspending on a new toy as kids love it today and discard it a few days or weeks later at best.  But for older kids, it might get a little bit complicated as they start coming back with all sorts of gift ideas from their peers at school. It’s usually a specific item they have mind usually related to electronics (WII games, XBOX accessories, etc.)  Make sure to shop around including online for the best prices.

The bill adds up fast if as the host you have to buy everything. Presenting an assortment of meals is not only time consuming but also very expensive (not to mention drinks!)

In a party with family or friends, just ask every guest to contribute to the menu. They would all show up with something special they cooked or bought.  In your case, cooking your part is simply the way out of paying for it. Depending on the plate, most of the time it’s cheaper to make it yourself than ordering it from a restaurant.

Finally, you are building memories of happy times spent with family and friends, that is priceless.  And for goodness sake don’t go cheap on cookies and milk for Santa Claus. He/She worked really hard all year long, so let Santa enjoy a hot chocolate and some tasty cookies when he visits :0)

How do you keep your budget under control for Christmas parties?

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About

Mich is your typical middle class guy with a house and 2 kids minus the dog. He works in the IT industry and likes to muse about how to achieve more for less when it comes to money.

23 Comments Mich on Dec 11th 2012

23 Responses to “How to Host a Christmas Party on a Budget”

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  2. Shilpan says:

    These are all very creative ideas to celebrate Christmas without overspending. I love it!

  3. So funny that we posted about this on the same day. We try to spend time with family and friends at each other’s houses playing games and having potlucks. It seems to generate the most fun and the least amount of stress.

    • Mich says:

      Family & friends are what make a holiday party fun to host. We also play board games when with friends like Ticket To Ride…lots of fun.

  4. nice tips for this holiday season! I enjoy spending time with friends and family and I think the best ones are those you do not really burden the host with everything, because you get to enjoy what everyone one has to offer and the host do not need to worry about every little detail, which make the occasion more memorable.

    • Mich says:

      So true MMI, by not putting all the burden on the host, they get to enjoy the party as well, not to mention they would not hesitate to repeat the experience the year after!

  5. Kevin says:

    Hey Mich! I like the idea of a secret Santa, and I think we might be doing that ourselves this year! Hope you enjoy the holidays this year, looks like the world might not be ending after all, though we still have to get past the 21st. ;)

  6. CF says:

    Good tips! I used to do all the cooking at holiday parties and it was so stressful. We always get our guests to contribute to a potluck now.

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  9. Mary Kaplan says:

    Great ideas for how to celebrate the holidays without breaking the budget. I love the idea of assigning one person to buy for and keeping it secret until the party. This is fun on several levels, and does allow for a better gift for that one special recipient. We always potluck these days, and guests are always happy to bring something. When you only have to focus on one dish, making it extra delicious is easy and fun! Happy holidays!

    • Mich says:

      Mary, it’s really amusing when people discover who is buying for who, a great fun factor at the fraction of the cost compared to buying several gifts.

      I also agree with you, focusing on 1 dish makes it easier to outperform when it comes to expectations :)

  10. 101 Centavos says:

    Prudent, frugal advice, Mich. Potluck and BYOB. Lots of spiked eggnog too. Ho ho ho!

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