How to entertain and keep costs down during the Holidays

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by Sandy Coughlin
The Reluctant Entertainer

As I was doing a radio interview earlier this week, I was thinking about my own advice to the listeners. How do we cut costs during hard economic times, yet still entertain and invite others into our homes? It’s tricky, but there are some simple strategies to keep in mind. I promise that if you choose even 3 of my suggestions, and incorporate them into your entertaining during the holidays, you’ll be guaranteed to save money.

1. Plan ahead: Get your journal out or use WorkFlowy (daily summary emails sent to you of your lists that you make on your computer – nifty!) and document the parties or dinners ahead that you will be responsible for.

2. Delegate: Plan out the menus and leave room by each entree for you to fill in a name of who will be bringing what.

3. Be prepared: Think ahead to 2-3 easy meals for unexpected guests. You’ll spend less money when you are prepared, rather than running to the store for last-minute groceries.

4. Easy options: Keep it casual–less work and less cost. Plan a buffet style meal, an appetizer “open house,” or a brunch, where your guests bring a dish.

5. Use leftovers: With a casual event, use paper products from the prior year. Don’t get sucked in to buying all-new when you already have a stash. Better yet, stay “green” and use cloth napkins.

6. Use greenery of all sorts for decoration, and skip purchased flowers from the store. Go to the Christmas tree lots forremnant pine pieces.

7. Go in together on preparations. If you want to do an elaborate dinner party, go in with another couple and share the cost and work.

8. Progressive dinner: Plan a dinner that involves 4 couples, with each responsible for just one course.

9. Put perfectionism aside: Remember the reason for the season is to celebrate and reflect with family and friends. Don’t let your cooking, the cost, dining space, how your house is decorated, or busyness steal away the JOY and memories that you’ll create if you’ll only say YES.

What one thing is standing in your way of entertaining this holiday season?

Table setting above: White wedding dishes (20 years old), paper napkins, Dollar Store goblets, fresh greenery (free), water bottles from yard sales, ornaments and pinecones. Elegant and inexpensive. Today

I’m guesting over at {In}Courage today, if you want to join me over there