Hosting a Holiday Party on a Budget

Between shopping, traveling, and eating, the holidays can be an expensive time of year. But one thing that shouldn’t break the bank? Throwing a holiday party. Your success as a holiday party host lies in the time, thought, and care you spend designing your event—not the budget. Stick to these simple rules and you’ll have a blast without going bust.

The Prep

Don’t Go Overboard When Buying for a Crowd

iStock-979027804Partygoers may not consume as much as you’d think, so don’t overbuy at the grocery store. When planning your meat and cheese trays, figure about two ounces of meat and three ounces of cheese per person. When stocking your beverages, remember that guests will typically consume two drinks in the first hour and one drink every hour after that. 

Pro tip: Want to be a true crowd-pleaser? Check out these natural gas gifts for everyone on your list.   

Save Time and Energy by Working Ahead

iStock-868603100Set aside several hours to prep and freeze any food that you can make ahead of the party. Then, simply cook everything all at once before the festivities begin! Not only will you save time on last-minute grocery store runs, you’ll cut energy consumption by using your natural gas oven only once.

Pro tip: Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and drying spend an average of $874 less per year than homes using electricity.

The Décor

Embrace a Classic Theme

iStock-855371600Find a party theme that never goes out of style. The best themes get the whole party involved, like dressing up in costumes, a dessert party, or a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Simple, inexpensive touches—like balloons and streamers—can bring the whole look together.

Pro tip: A hot chocolate or eggnog dunking station is a tasty add-on to the traditional holiday cookie recipe exchange. 

Deck the Halls, but Not All of the Halls

iStock-879530330Resist the urge to splurge on this year’s trendy holiday tchotchkes. Instead, pick a few rooms or areas to decorate instead of the whole house. Create vignettes for guest photo opportunities by hanging mistletoe and fresh greenery on doorways or decorating the mantel on your natural gas fireplace with a personalized display of your favorite holiday mementos.

Pro tip: To make a cheerful centerpiece that will cost you next-to-nothing, display vintage ornaments, holiday candy, or citrus fruits on an ornate cake stand or in a clear vase.

The Menu

Elevate Your Potluck Game

iStock-698042866Not a party goes by without a friend asking what they can bring. Now you have a response other than “just bring yourself!” Get to know your guests better by asking them to bring their favorite comfort food dish, a special meal from their childhood, or an international dish from their favorite vacation destination. 

Pro tip: Cook communal meals on your natural gas stove and you’ll warm up your living spaces, saving on heating costs in cold winter months.

Display Food with Flair

iStock-869598988Place inexpensive snacks like popcorn, olives, hummus, pre-made quiches, and grapes in decorative serving dishes. Combine sweet and savory snacks on party platters or try your hand at a more challenging charcuterie display. Bottom line: Grab-and-go holiday party appetizers should be fun and easy to eat.

Pro tip: Fresh ricotta, mozzarella, and feta cheeses are more perishable and, therefore, less pricey than aged cheeses like gouda and manchego.

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How’s that for holiday spirit? Now it's time to kick up your feet and relax by the natural gas fireplace—congratulations on a party well done.

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