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Amanda Pendolino
December 10, 2012

5 Ways to Throw an Awesome Holiday Party on the Cheap

Holiday parties always seem like a good idea — until you’ve spent so much on booze and sparkly things that you have no money left for presents. Fear not! We’ve got some ideas for inexpensive yet festive holiday get-togethers.

1. Get potluck-y
Don’t kill yourself in the kitchen — make your guests do some work, too. Buy or prepare one dish, then ask your guests to each bring one as well. You can create a list of specific things, such as desserts or appetizers, or you can just leave everything open to chance. Would a party with no veggies and 10 kinds of cookies really be so terrible? You can also try a wine potluck, where everyone brings a different bottle of wine (or liquor). Another tip: Start your party later and you won’t need a giant meal.

2. Skip the paper products
We don’t love dishes, either, but shelling out for fancy holiday plates, napkins and cups can add up. Plus you always have the leftover supplies that aren’t right for non-holiday parties. Instead, choose finger-foods and use the dishes in your cupboard. Bonus: This option’s green, too.

3. Go out
Who says you have to throw a holiday party at your own place? Pick a conveniently located bar or restaurant and tell your friends to meet you there. You’ll only have to pay for your own drinks! With no decorations, supplies or paper products to pay for, going out is often (surprisingly) the cheaper option.

4. Ugly-sweater it up
If you’re into theme and costume parties, ask your guests to wear ugly sweaters. If the focus of your party is on what your guests are wearing, you won’t need to buy anything. Or — here’s a crazy idea — ask your guests to wear ATTRACTIVE holiday sweaters. (They probably already have some, and won’t need to go to a thrift store to buy one.)

5. Throw a wrap session
Everyone needs to wrap their holiday gifts — so do it together. Share wrapping paper, tape and other supplies to save cash. If you’re crafty, you can also work on homemade holiday cards together, sharing your markers, stamps and paper.