‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! That said, when you’re hosting friends and family for the holidays, your grocery bill can easily double or even triple in no time! All that extra spending can add to the stress of the season, especially if you still have lots of presents to put under the tree. If hosting a holiday party is in your future and you’re worried your budget is more Scrooge than Saint Nick, here are some thrifty tips that can help you save on yuletide expenses without cutting back on that Christmas.

Make it a potluck

As the host, pick one or two main dish items you can cook (or have catered). Then, give your guests plenty of notice and see if they’re willing to bring some simple hors d’oeuvres, snacks, or cookies. If someone argues that their cooking skills aren’t up to snuff, suggest they bring a veggie tray or chips and dip. Even napkins and cutlery can help.

Try this quick and easy no-bake Cornflake Christmas wreath cookie recipe

Make it a BYOB

Possibly the largest expense of them all — alcohol. If it’s up to you to supply the booze, you’ll be running all over town trying to make everyone happy with red and white wine, light beers and IPAs, liquor and more mixers than you’ll know what to do with. Keep it simple, and ask guests to BYOB. That way, everyone has what they like and you save the huge hassle. Consider stocking an extra case of beer or a few boxes of wine just in case a few folks forget.

Make the Perfect Holiday Punch

Do a white elephant exchange

Secret Santa exchanges are a fun party activity, but spending can get out of control. If you usually exchange gifts, set a monetary limit to what each gift can cost this year — say, $10 or $15. Or better yet, declare a white elephant exchange where the laughs are the real gift. Typical white elephant rules allow you to regift items from around your home or buy something small but hilarious to throw into the gift grab bag.

Decorate on a dime

You house will likely already be decorated for the holidays, so no need to go overboard here. Streamers, extra tinsel, and hand-cut paper snowflakes can stretch across the ceiling and add more than enough minimalist merriment. And don’t forget about tunes! Free streaming services like Pandora and Spotify offer Christmas music stations at no cost to you (you might just have to put up with a commercial once in a while).

affordable entertainment

Card party games are all the rage right now, but if you’re on a budget, $30 for What do you Meme or Cards Against Humanity might put you over the top. The great thing is, these games are so well-loved, someone in your gang probably already owns them. Ask if they can bring them over for the night to share. Need another idea? Don’t underestimate simple games like Dictionary or even old fashioned charades. You can write prompts on pieces of paper at zero cost.

Also see, 19 Fun Facts about Champagne. 

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.