Money Smarts Blog

Host a Pinterest-Perfect Holiday Party on a Budget

Nov 28, 2020 || IHMVCU

Simple holiday table setting with Christmas tree in the background

Whether you’re hosting a small group of friends or the entire family - complete with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, hosting is a big responsibility that often comes with a hefty price tag. Don’t stress! There are plenty of tricks to host a beautiful Pinterest-worthy holiday celebration that won’t cause you to ask for all your holiday gifts in cash. Follow our guide to hosting a budget-friendly and Pinterest-worthy holiday.

Color palette sets the tone

The color palette is the foundation of a well-planned party. Your guests will notice your décor – or lack of it – as soon as they walk in, and it sets the mood for the rest of the night. This doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, and you don’t have to choose the traditional red and green tones, either. Choose colors that complement the décor elements you already have, such as your dishes, flatware, glasses, etc. These are usually the most expensive pieces to purchase. If your plates are pink, embrace it. If your flatware is jewel-toned, all the better. Just make sure the tablecloth, napkins, centerpiece and other decorations match.

Create a signature drink

Every Pinterest-worthy party has a signature drink, and yours will be no different. For Christmas, try cranberry sangria. Buy frozen fruit to save on cost (and to keep the sangria cold without ice watering it down). Add lots of cranberries to float on top (and maybe some other fruits that match your color palette) for a picture-perfect creation. Try this cran-apple sangria recipe for a beautiful cocktail everyone will want to drink – and take pictures of.

Plan your table décor

Have you ever seen a Pinterest party without impeccable party décor? We didn’t think so. It’s the heart of every Type-A DIY-er’s party planning checklist. The secret, though, is it doesn’t have to be expensive. First, of course, think of your color palette. Let’s say you have white dishes and silver flatware that you intend to use. White, green and orange go very well together (not to mention they complement a certain ruby red drink). Your first thought might be beautiful winter foliage, and you’d be right. They’d be gorgeous. But they’re also expensive. Cut down on costs with some out-of-the box ideas. Head to Target or HomeGoods, and grab a table runner. Even a plain white runner will elevate your table setting, and they’re usually much less expensive than a full table cloth. Then, go to your local hardware store or garden store and grab some holiday greenery - like mixed garland - to arrange in the middle of the table. For a pop of color, grab some pine cones and ornaments to scatter among your garland. Voila. Not only did you save money, but your table looks – and smells – incredible.

Make Place Cards

There are so many reasons to use place cards:

  1. Chances are at least one person in your group doesn’t know the rest well. This saves them from the awkward, “Is this seat taken? Oh, it is?” conversation.
  2. As the host, you will know in advance where the vegetarian and the one who is eating gluten-free (for the next five days) are sitting.
  3. They’re pretty.

Place cards save you and your guests a lot of trouble. They’re also a sign of a well-planned and thought-out party. And, they’re cheap. Save your wine corks for the next month, shave a little off the bottom, slit the top, and now they’re gorgeous place cardholders. Or, just take everyday construction paper (in your color palette, of course) cut it down to size, fold into small tents and write names on them with a metallic pen. You’ll be surprised how nice it looks. You can also punch a hole in the place card and tie some pretty ribbon to it. Leave it flat on each plate for a really stunning look.

Garnish changes everything

A few fresh herbs or sprigs of rosemary left scattered around your ham or beef takes your dish from looking yummy to looking Pinterest-worthy. Bonus points for coordinating your garnish with your color palette.

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