How to Host a Christmas Party on a Budget

'Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! We're making a list of Christmas party ideas on a budget and checking it twice.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” That’s the ultimate goal when hosting a Christmas party. The food, entertainment and decorations don’t have to be elaborate to have fun!

First, take a look at our guide for hosting a holiday party. Then, check out our thrifty Christmas party tips below.

Make It a Potluck

Focus on preparing one or two dishes as the host. Before the event, ask your guests to whip up some simple hors d’oeuvres, bite-size desserts or crunchy snacks. If some guests aren’t skilled home chefs, no problem. They’re welcome to bring chips and dip, a vegetable tray or even some napkins and cutlery.

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Pick a Simple Theme

No need to go out and spend a ton of cash a new outfit. Instead, ask guests to wear old Christmas sweaters or pajamas!

Your theme could even revolve around the food. For example, host a Christmas cookie exchange or throw a chili cook-off.

Ask Guests to BYOB

It’s fun to have festive holiday cocktails and tasty seasonal beers. But buying everything yourself can add up quickly. Feel free to ask your guests to bring beer, wine and spirits to share. If you want, just ask in advance what people plan on bringing so you can provide any necessary garnishes and the proper drinkware. Otherwise, mason jars and cups are perfectly fine.

Do a Stocking Stuffer Exchange

If you plan on exchanging presents, set a monetary limit to each gift—say, $15 to $20. Secret Santa is a fun way to buy and receive gifts. Before the holiday party, each guest is assigned another guest for whom they will buy a fun, practical gift. After the gifts are opened, the recipients have to guess who their “Secret Santa” is. Those who guess correctly can go home with extra Christmas cookies.​

Plan your Secret Santa gift with our holiday gift guide.

Decorate Like a Minimalist

Keep it simple with the decorations. Hang streamers, tinsel and handmade paper snowflakes from the ceiling. You can also make your home or apartment smell amazing with some festive scented candles or DIY Christmas potpourri.

For music, listen to a Christmas playlist from a free streaming service, such as Pandora or Spotify.

Play Economical Games

This is such an easy Christmas party idea when you’re sticking to a budget! Ask a friend if you can borrow a fun team-oriented game to play. Apples to Apples and Trivial Pursuit are great group games. You can also play games that don’t require cards or boards. Find more ideas for a Christmas game night.

Easy Christmas Apps for Your Holiday Party
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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.