Christmas is my favorite time of year and, although my husband and I aren’t regular party-givers or goers, our recent move has given us more room and me the idea of hosting a Christmas party. As I found out, you don’t have to spend a small fortune in order to have a fabulous Christmas party. Elegance and atmosphere can be accomplished quite simply in a few easy steps.

Here’s how to throw a holiday party for less.

Send E-vites

Save the cost of paper and postage by inviting friends and family to your event through They have some wonderful free holiday designs to choose from and you simply fill in the blanks and send. You’ll be able to see right away who’s coming and who isn’t.

Of course, this won’t work for those of your acquaintance (possibly older relatives?) who don’t even own a computer, but it will help to cut down on the overall cost of sending invitations.

Host an Afternoon Get-Together

If you have your gathering in the afternoon, you’ll be able to eliminate alcoholic drinks and save a bundle.  Plus, you can aim for  a more casual atmosphere. If you want to have alcohol at the party, you can add bring your own bottle (BYOB), to the invitation.

Another possibility is to limit drinks to wine and a non-alcoholic punch. You could also have an electric coffee urn full of hot water so that kids and adults can make hot chocolate and apple cider with drink mix pouches.

Host With a Friend or Make it Potluck

As my Mom was fond of saying, many hands make light work and, after all, you want to be able to enjoy your own party, so ask for help. You can split the expenses, as well as the workload if you host with a friend but a potluck get-together can be fun too, especially if it’s for an evening meal. You can assign one dish to each person who’s coming.

If someone doesn’t cook, they can bring wine, beer, ice or dinner rolls.

Keep the Menu Simple

For a cocktail party, substitute cheese and smoked meats with a whole roasted ham or turkey platter with biscuits or rolls. If it’s a drop-in gathering, serving only dessert, fruit and toasted nuts is acceptable and will help to keep your budget in line. I like the traditional idea of fruit and vegetable trays, along with holiday sweets like shortbread cookies, fruitcake, chocolate and mixed nuts.

Don’t feel like you have to make everything from scratch unless you really like baking.

Find Cheap Party Supplies

Shopping at a discount store doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting poor quality. A paper napkin is a paper napkin, no matter where you find it. Check your local Dollarama store for pretty holiday napkins, melamine and silver-look trays, extra glassware, candles and candle holders, as well as loads of attractive Christmas trimmings for your home.

You can also find brand name baking supplies like Duncan Hines brownie or Betty Crocker cake mixes that consistently sell for less than at a grocery store.

Less is More Decor

Besides the Christmas tree, here are a few simple ideas for decorating a room for a party.

Placed strategically around a room, candles are an inexpensive way to provide soft lighting and the appropriate ambiance for an evening party.

A bowl of clementine oranges or pears makes an attractive display on a side table. Some suggest spray painting fruit in gold but I’d rather leave fruit in its natural state so it can be eaten after it has served its purpose as a decoration.

Harvest decorations from your own backyard. Evergreen clippings can be used to make garlands and wreaths. Use a Styrofoam cone and evergreen clippings to make a centerpiece tree. A wooden bowl filled with pine cones and a few sprigs of evergreen is also an attractive and inexpensive way to decorate.

If you don’t have a backyard, ask friends to let you forage in their yards or find what you need at a local park.

You can throw a Christmas party for less. It’s easier than you might think.

Marlene Alexander

Marlene Alexander

Marlene is a freelance writer and blogger. She maintains a free budget decorating site called Dollar Store Style and writes content for client websites.