If you need to plan a Christmas party this year on a budget but don’t know where to start, then you’re in the right place!
While Christmas parties themselves can be a lot of fun, planning them can be a headache, especially when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. However, it is easier than you might think to plan a low-cost Christmas party that will still be fun and memorable for your guests.
Keep reading to get all of the ideas and tips!
How much should you budget for a Christmas party?
Everyone’s spending limit is going to be different simply based on how much they have to spend. This can start as low as $100 and can go up from there. Some people spend thousands on these parties, but unless you have a lot of money, this isn’t recommended as you don’t want to go into debt for a party.
With that being said, it is important to set a spending cap in order to avoid overspending on your party. Once you’ve determined what that amount is, you can make your actual party budget.
For example, if you want to spend $250 on your party, then you might decide to allocate $150 for food, $50 for drinks, $25 for decorations, and $25 for games and entertainment.
How can I host a cheap Christmas party?
There are many things you can do to reduce spending on your Christmas party. Ideas include:
- Find a budget-friendly venue if you can’t host it at your home.
- Brainstorm some cheap food and drink options, or make your event potluck, and ask guests to bring a dish of their own.
- Decorate using what you already have or find budget decorations like streamers, banners, etc.
- And lastly, set up some games and activities for guests to enjoy.
In the next section of this blog post, you will find different ideas for each of these categories.
Christmas Party Venue Ideas
If you aren’t hosting your Christmas party at home and instead need to book a venue, then you will want to consider some of these cheap venue options.
First, you might consider renting out a space at a local community center, church, hotel conference room, etc. Some local schools may also let you rent out their gym or auditorium space.
Another venue rental type that is growing in popularity is privately owned barns, shops, and even garages.
Alternatively, you can see if any of your friends or family members have a large enough space that you could use for the party. Just make sure to ask them first and be respectful of their home.
Food Ideas For A Christmas Party
When deciding what to serve at a Christmas party, you’ll want to find a balance of both hot and cold options that match your budget.
Appetizers & Finger Foods
Finger foods and appetizers make great party food because most of them can be prepared ahead of time. Here are some crowd-pleasing appetizer ideas you can try.
- Cranberry Orange Meatballs
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Cheesy Bacon Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
- Spinach Dip Cups
- Roasted Red Pepper Ricotta Crostini
- Christmas Charcuterie Board
- Easy Pizza Rolls with Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
Don’t forget to include the classics too.
- Chips & Dip
- Vegetable Tray
- Fruit Tray
- Meat, Cheese & Crackers
Main dishes can get really expensive, especially if you’re planning to serve a lot of meat. However, if you are willing to serve something that can be made in large quantities, like chili, then you will be able to save yourself a lot of money.
Here are some main dish ideas you can steal for your own Christmas party.
- Mac & Cheese
No party is complete without dessert, and luckily, there are plenty of delicious options that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Gingerbread Cheesecake Ice-Cube Tray Bites
- Strawberry Santa Hat Brownie Bites
- Crazy Easy Christmas Crack Recipe
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Choc-Mint Cheesecake
Your budget for drinks will obviously depend on what you plan to serve. If you want to keep things cheap, then focus on serving non-alcoholic beverages such as water, fruit punch, soda, coffee, tea, etc. You could also have a signature Christmas drink or even a hot chocolate bar complete with marshmallows, peppermint, whipped cream, and other fun toppings.
If you want to serve alcohol, then consider having a BYOB party or only serving beer and wine. This will be much cheaper than getting all the ingredients needed for mixed drinks and cocktails.
Christmas Party Decoration Ideas
Decorating is one of those things that many people get stressed out about when they plan a Christmas party. However, there are plenty of ways to get creative with your Christmas party decorations without spending a lot of money.
Use Paper Plates, Napkins, Etc.
Not only will using paper plates, plastic cups, etc., save you a bunch of clean-up after the party, but it’s also a great way to add some practical decoration to your party. Having these on your food and drink tables will make them feel so much more festive.
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Use Your Own Holiday Decorations
If you already have holiday decorations around your home, then put them to good use for your party.
This will be a lot easier to do if you are hosting your party in your home. However, even if you’re not, you can still consider bringing some of your smaller holiday decor pieces to the venue. This could include:
For more ideas on how to decorate for Christmas on a budget, check out 15+ Ideas For Cheap Christmas Decorations That Make Your Home Look Amazing.
Make Your Own Decorations
There are tons of DIY Christmas decorations that you can make yourself that will help you decorate for your party. Some ideas include:
Set The Mood With Music
One of the best (and cheapest) ways to set the mood for any party is with music. You can find lots of free Christmas music on platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.
Just make sure you have a speaker set up that will be loud enough for all the guests to hear. You don’t want to be playing music off just your phone speakers all night.
Add Lots of Light
Warm, yellow lighting is a great way to add ambiance to your Christmas party.
Of course, you can use string lights or colorful Christmas lights, but you can also use lanterns and candles. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so that they don’t start a fire, or use flameless candles like these.
If you have a fireplace in your home or venue, consider lighting that as well for added ambiance.
If you don’t have a full-size Christmas tree, or even if you just have a lot of small spaces to fill, then consider using mini Christmas trees. You can usually find these at your local dollar store or on Amazon. You can display them as-is, or you can add mini lights and ornaments onto them.
As a mom that is always on the hunt for a deal, I often see coupons listed for Pop Up Christmas Trees on Amazon! It will vary day to day but you can often catch them on sale and they will really amp up your space without too much work during your party preparations.
Use Cheap Party Items
In addition to the decor ideas mentioned above, you can also find some cheap party-specific decorations at places like Amazon, Target, or your local party store
Consider getting a holiday-themed balloon arch, party decoration kit, banners, etc.
Fun Things To Do At A Christmas Party
While eating yourself silly is always a fun part of any Christmas party, you can make it even more memorable by including some fun games and activities that guests can choose to partake in if they would like. And the great thing about games and activities is that they really don’t have to cost you a lot of money to get set up.
Unwrap The Gift Challenge
There are actually two ways to play this game. With the first version, you will need to wrap up a bunch of mini-sized prizes and have guests try to unwrap them while wearing oven mitts or large gloves. The person who can unwrap the most in the allotted time wins a prize.
The second version is similar but instead of multiple small prizes, you will only wrap one prize. Each person will get a try at opening the gift while wearing oven mitts or large gloves, but they will be on a timer. You can set this timer for however long you like, but some common options are 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 1 minute. Once the timer is up, then the next guest will take their turn. The person who gets the gift unwrapped wins the prize!
Make this challenging for your guests by wrapping things in tape, plastic, etc. You can also nest wrapped boxes within wrapped boxes for an additional laugh.
And don’t worry, the prizes don’t have to be fancy. Consider wrapping small, inexpensive likes like chocolates, candies, or even socks. Your local dollar store will have a lot of great things you can use for this game.
Christmas Scavenger Hunt
This is a great game for kids and adults alike. You will need to hide a bunch of small Christmas-themed items around your house or party space and have guests try to find them all within a certain amount of time.
Similar to the tip shared above, go to your dollar store to see what items you can find for your scavenger hunt. Alternatively, you can use items that you already own.
Trivia is a great game idea for a Christmas party because there are so many different themes that you could use like Christmas movie trivia, Christmas song lyrics trivia, and more.
In addition to games, you can also arrange some other activities such as:
- Christmas Cookie Decorating Station
- Photo Booth
- Christmas Carol Sing-Along
- Gift Exchange (Secret Santa, White Elephant, etc. )
- Christmas Movie Marathon
Getting Help From Your Guests
Last but not least, I want to talk about the value of asking your guests for help. When everyone comes together to lend a hand, it makes it much easier to plan a Christmas party without you having to stress about money.
You could ask guests to:
- Bring a dish to share
- Bring their own alcoholic beverages
- Help with set-up or clean-up
- Donate prizes for games or activities
- Bring their own games & activities
Create A Christmas Party List
As you are planning your Christmas party, one of the best things that you can do to stay organized is to create a list. This will help you keep track of everything that is done, and still needs to be done.
You can also use your Christmas party list to track your spending and help you stick to the party budget you made.
You could also create a list of things you need to do in the days leading up to the party. For example, if you are making some of the food yourself, then consider making a list of things to prepare so that you don’t miss anything.
Now that you have some ideas, it’s time to plan your party. And remember, don’t stress. Just follow these tips to plan your Christmas party, stay on budget, and enjoy your time at your party!