DIY Diva: Tips for Broke-Ass Holiday Entertaining

Pucker up, baybee!

Pucker up, baybee!

Heyo – the DIY Diva here!  Let’s just cut right to the Christmas-chase here… holiday parties are a fuckload of what is awesome about the holiday season.

When one is a broke-ass it is quite tempting (or practical) to put an ixnay-on-the-artaypay in an effort to save money.

It is a bit of a mind-fuck to go from being able to throw cash around pretty much how you want to, to re-learning how to live on a budget and like Top Ramen again… you know?  But, you really don’t need a basket of cash to throw a good party (as all of us GenX’ers should remember from our broke 20s in the 90s).  Sure you can’t rent out a warehouse, hire three DJs and have the open bar you would like – but – with some money saving tips you can still have a rockin’ around the Xmas tree holly-jolly good time.

#1 Go green!

A good way to save money and help the environment is to go green for your holiday party.  What do I mean?

-Do not waste cash on paper invites – use Evite (that’s common sense).

-Ditch the disposables.  If you don’t have enough dishes, etc. either hit up your local Goodwill and pick up some mismatched dinner and glassware you can store in your closet to use at every party (an initial expense, but a money saver over time) OR borrow from your friends/neighbors/relations.

-Find festive and fun looking bedsheets/curtains/fabric remnants or actual tablecloths at Goodwill or a fabric store or a yard sale  – wash them – trim them with some pinking sheers and voila!  You have linens you can reuse party after party after party.

A tip from The Party Planning Professor: “Red Is the most versitile color to decorate with. I love that we can use my red decorations on valentines day, Christmas, 4th of July and so many more…  you can use, use and re-use a great bunch of red decoration pieces. Buy a red table cloth. You will use and reuse. I promise.”

#2 Make it a community effort!

-Two words: Potluck, BYOB.

Seriously: while it’s nice to foot the bill for a fantastic soiree for your friends, it is financially impractical in these hard times.  A better choice is to ask everyone to bring something with them to help make the evening merry and bright.  For a dinner party ask those invited to bring a side dish and you can provide the main course.  For a drink-the-night away type of fling-a-ding-ding you provide cocktail mixers and your friends can bring a bottle of booze to share.

#3 Stay home!

-I ask: WHAT THE F EVER HAPPENED TO THE ROCKIN’ AWESOME HOUSE PARTY?

Seriously, it’s time we brought that bitch the House Party back.  Without Kid n’ Play… or, maybe with?  Who can say?

House parties are responsible for some of my fondest memories from 1991 until at least 2000.  They are personal, fun and a hell-of-a-lot cheaper than renting out a swanky hipster whatever.

Just make sure to corral your friends into coming over the day after to help clean up.  (Hell, that can turn into an after-party of sorts if your friends are like mine!!!)

This guy wins the bad sweater prize for 2009!!

#4 Pick a theme!

-Granted, picking a theme for your holiday party isn’t technially a way to save money.  However, it is a way to make less seem like more.  Having a “bad holiday sweater” party, a “cheap beer” party, a “White Elephant” party or a “cookie decorating” party, or a “Christmas karaoke” party are ways to perhaps distract from the blingy affectations which you may be lacking at your soiree due to budgetary concerns.  Plus, who doesn’t like to see their friends dressed up in hideous Cosby-era holiday sweaters?

#5 Just have a good time!

Everyone and anyone who writes for (or reads) this site can tell you that money does not dictate a good time.  (Regardless of what means you do or don’t have in your coffers!)  You can have a great time with your friends doin’ any little ole’ thing at all.  Whether you’re having Disco Christmas Carol Dance Party or just sitting around with a cup o’ nog, watching It’s A Wonderful Life you’ll have a great time.  Fer realzie – it’s about the people, yo!  That’s what the season is all about!

Have a holly-jolly-whatever and see all you broke-asses in 2010!

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About the author

Kate Kotler - DIY Diva

Kate Kotler is a freelance writer and professional blogger. IRL she is a very nice person, regardless of what you might have read about her on the innerwebs. Kate lives in Berkeley with her dog, Max. You can follow her on Twitter @adorkablegrrl