We’re on the cusp of the last weekend before Christmas, which means that some of you may be hosting or attending a holiday party over the next couple of days. If this describes you, read on as I’ll give you some quick tips on entertaining (or being entertained) on the cheap.
And if you’ve already attended or thrown your holiday party this year…well, file this information away for next time. :)
Your usual hostess gift of choice is a bottle of wine or some other seasonal spirit, am I right? Well, if you buy alcohol for every. single. social occasion you may find that your wallet just can’t live up to that habit.
Instead, consider bringing some baked goods or homemade item that will delight your hostess and not clutter up her wine rack (hey, and edible gifts are always good in my book, as long as they actually are edible…so no fruitcake).
If you absolutely must bring wine, consider Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw wines (around here they’re known as “Three-Buck Chuck”). These wines are actually pretty decent; in fact, a sommelier rated several varieties very highly [source] – but according to him, avoid the White Zinfandel.
There’s no need to run out and buy the latest new Christmas albums; they’re probably just a mix of new (and most likely forgettable) ditties and a rehash of old songs.
Instead, tune your computer or web-enabled device to Pandora and choose from one of their holiday radio stations – I’m partial to the “Christmas Traditional Radio” station myself. Want to avoid the ads? If you’re an Amazon Prime member, check out Prime Music where you’ll be able to listen to lots and lots of holiday music – all free (and ad-free!).
Again, it might be a little too late for this, but if you’re tempted to run out and buy a bunch of decorations for your holiday party, rethink that plan. Less is more, people. Your guests will wipe their snowy boots on your Santa doormat just like they would a regular one. You’ll have to figure out where to store those inflatable reindeer come the new year, and all of those knick-knacks on the mantelpiece have to get dusted (or picked up when they’re broken). Is it really worth it?
Choose just a few items that will make a big impact, or if you absolutely must buy more, browse Craigslist for used decorations that are still in decent shape. (If you think there’s nothing out there, I found that a quick Craigslist search in my area for “Christmas decorations” turned up a whopping 351 results!)
If you’ve got a holiday party on your agenda this weekend (whether you’re hosting or attending), figure out one thing you can simply let go of this year. Maybe it’s the place cards. Or the bottle of wine wrapped up just so. Or the individual CDs you make for every guest with a custom playlist. Just let it go – it’ll be OK, I promise.
Your turn: What other tips do you have for holiday entertaining, whether as a host or a guest?
Got some holiday shopping to do? Consider taking a look at our current deals for some great gift ideas.