Some elements help make a holiday party memorable, like great food and a festive atmosphere. Most of these party features won't cost you a lot of money, so even those of us on a budget can master the art of entertaining.
Making sure guests are well fed and entertained is the first step. The next step is to create an environment that will make your guests feel welcomed and joyful.
These inexpensive holiday party ideas will help you enhance your next gathering without breaking the bank.
01 of 12
Send Virtual Invitations Instead of Emails
If you're on a budget, the first way to save some money is to send out your invitations using a free digital service instead of mailing out hard copies.
You can opt to send an email or create a Facebook event, but there are so many free services out there now that can send nice looking digital invitations.
The great thing about using an invitation website instead of Facebook or email is that some sites can track who has RSVPed and also let you create lists of who is bringing what to the party.
Silver and Gold Holiday Party Invitation from punchbowl
02 of 12
Opt for Hot Cocoa Over Alcohol
Hot chocolate stations are a really popular way to add a fun element to a winter-time holiday party. To make sure guests understand what's at the station (it's not coffee), consider printing out some stylized signs like the ones you see here.
Not only are the signs informative, they will also work as part of the party decor and set the mood that this get together is meant to be cozy and relaxed.
Hot Chocolate Bar Printable Kit from Pretty Paper Studio
03 of 12
Fill a Dessert Table With Bite Sized Treats
If you're skipping a meal and only serving desserts to save money, make sure you put some time into planning out the perfect dessert table. Opting to make a few different bite-sized treats that only use a few ingredients will save you money and make your desserts go a long way.
Homemade Nutella Cake Pops from The Spruce
04 of 12
Set up a Bar Cart so Guests Can Help Themselves
If you choose to have alcohol at your party but are really limited on cash, suggest that people BYOB. Have a basic bar cart set up with one feature cocktail and encourage guests to add their drink of choice to the cart or inside a cooler located next to the cart.
Stock a bar cart with some of these items:
- Sparkling wine for toasting and Bellini cocktails
- Seltzer or tonic water for mixing
- Gin, vodka and/or whiskey
- Cranberry juice and soda for mixing
- Ice bucket and other bar essentials like a cocktail mixer
- Rocks glasses and champagne flutes
How to Decorate for the Holidays from Haute off the RackContinue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12
Keep Guests Cozy With Fuzzy Sock Party Favors
This holiday party idea functions both as a party favor and as a way to ensure your guests will feel right at home. Choose a larger basket or wooden crate to fill with either slippers or fuzzy socks.
Fuzzy socks are a more versatile option than slippers because they are less expensive, and you won't need to stock a large range of sizes.
Place the bin by the entrance with a sign that will encourage guests to slip off their shoes and put on some fuzzy socks that they can take home with them.
Basket of Slippers for Guests from Anderson + Grant
06 of 12
Use a Free Streaming Service for Your Holiday Playlist
Take some of the stress out of entertaining by mellowing out to some chill holiday music. Days before the party, create a custom playlist filled with background music to set the mood.
Whether your list is filled with Christmas carols or dance music doesn't matter. All that matters is that the music you choose is smile-worthy.
Popular music streaming services:
- Amazon Music
- Apple Music
BRAVEN LUX Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, $34.99, Amazon
07 of 12
Reuse Christmas Ornaments for a New Year's Party
If you're throwing a New Year's party, there is no need to put away all your Christmas decorations beforehand. Ball ornaments and string lights can be repurposed for other holiday party decorations.
Consider spray painting some extra ornaments in silver and gold to change up the color palette a bit.
How to Transition Christmas Decor to New Year's from Hello Splendid
08 of 12
Focus Your Menu Around Inexpensive Appetizers
Dinner parties can get really pricey depending on the menu you choose. If you're on a budget, consider throwing a potluck or a party that features drinks and light fare. There are a lot of appetizers you can prepare using a few ingredients that will make a good impression on your guests.
Inexpensive appetizer ideas:
- Bruschetta and other crostinis
- Mini meatballs
- Deviled eggs
- Olive dip with crackers
Fresh Tomato and Basil Bruschetta from The SpruceContinue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12
Throw a Themed Holiday Party
Picking a theme can actually help you stay on a budget by streamlining the party planning. Instead of spending a lot of time and resources planning the perfect holiday party from scratch, these themes will give your party an immediate focus. You'll know exactly what you need in advance, which will help you stick to a budget.
Holiday party theme ideas:
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party Awards from eighteen25
10 of 12
Add Flare to a Dinner Party With Customized Placeholders
For intimate dinner party gatherings, make the event extra special by putting some thought into your place settings. Adding chargers and napkin rings makes a great first impression when guests arrive but don't stop there. Make the event feel even more charming with DIY placeholders like these ornament ones.
DIY Glitter Ornament Place Card Holders from Bird's Party
11 of 12
Plan at Least One Game for the Holiday Party
Break up the monotony of an uneventful holiday party with a memorable party game. There are an infinite amount of games to choose from, but a popular and humorous favorite is the donut on a string game.
Games to play:
- Use string to dangle enough donuts for each guest at mouth height.
- Optional: put a tarp or catch-all blanket below the game area to catch all the donut pieces.
- Have each player eat the donut from the string without it falling to the ground.
- The first person to finish the donut wins.
Donut Tree from Oh Happy Day
12 of 12
Create a Simple Photo Booth Spot Using a Printable Sign
Encourage your guests to take memorable photos at your holiday party by designating a fun photo booth area. Setting up a printable sign is a virtually free way to remind everyone to strike a pose.