party friendsBy Amy Sawyer

We all know that the holidays can be an expensive time, what with all the gifts, the food and the travel, and adding to that by spending a fortune on a party can be a nerve shredding experience.

However, no one wants to be a Grinch at this time of year and a festive party is one of the best ways to bring everyone together and celebrate.So how do you throw a great event for friends and family to celebrate the holidays in style without blowing the budget?Here are a few tips:

DIY rules! Whatever you can buy for your New year’s Eve party in a shop, whether it’s decorations, a cake, snacks or festive party games, you can easily make it yourself instead.  Most of the components of a great party can be made at home, with half the expense and will most likely get twice the appreciation from the guests for having a personal touch.  When you’re looking at saving money by DIY-ing try and use what you already have at home rather than buying in lots of supplies, as otherwise this can end up being just as expensive.  If you have a freezer full of filo pastry then turn it into cute party tarts, if your kids have their own arts and crafts box then raid it for decorations, and if you have lots of half drunk alcohol supplies take a look through to see what would make a good festive punch.

Decorate yourself – if you want to have a great looking party without the expense of paying for shop bought decorations then take a creative look at your festive décor plans.  Candles are a great way to make a room feel warm and cosy – fill empty jam jars with tea lights for a homely, sparkly look. Fashion your own paper chains with strips of spare wrapping paper, newspaper or even pages from a magazine and glue; make some snowflakes for your windows by folding a piece of white paper into four, cutting a circular edge and then cutting out little holes for the snowflake effect.

Get guests to bring their own A Potluck and BYOB can really help if you don’t have the cash to pay for everything that you need for a party.  There’s no shame in asking people to bring something with them.  You provide the venue, the great music and all the fabulous attendees.

Make sure that it doesn’t feel too onerous by asking guests to bring only a little something each a little bottle of spirits for the punch, a festive desert, a couple of bags of snacks, some fizzy drinks for the kids or a plate of canapés.  Don’t be afraid to be bossy and allocate to make sure you get all the components on the night for the perfect party.

Lay on plenty of food – there’s no excuse for not providing lots of eats at a party, no matter how tight the budget.  Most of the best loved party food isn’t of the expensive variety but the kind of bite sized treats that go perfectly with a glass of something bubbly. Of course you can lay on lots of canapés, fois gras and caviar if you want to but most people will be equally as happy with big bowls of crisps, toasts, sandwiches, party sausages, pies and the like.

And don’t forget the drinks for the adults,.the best way to make the most of the alcohol that you have in the house is a tasty punch there’s no better way to make sure that everyone at your party gets into the festive spirit!  And the great thing with a festive punch is that you can disguise the taste of any cheap alcohol with lots of fruit juices and soda. Alternatively, if you have bottles of wine or cider lying around warm these up with a combination of spices to create a festive warm spiced cider or mulled wine.

Organising a New Year’s Eve party is a great event and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. From the party food through to the decorations, everything can be fashioned from what you have at home, contributions from others, or small cheap purchases leaving you free to entertain your guests without worrying about the bill.


Mary Forman

Mary is an educator and a parent of three children. She is the author of 7 children's books, loves arts and crafts and teaches parenting classes at Washington Community College.

Latest posts by Mary Forman (see all) FormanParty IdeasChristmas Family Fun,Family Fun,Holidays,PartyBy Amy SawyerWe all know that the holidays can be an expensive time, what with all the gifts, the food and the travel, and adding to that by spending a fortune on a party can be a nerve shredding experience.However, no one wants to be a Grinch at this...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids