Written by Spotloan

During the holiday season, there’s much to celebrate. In the past, this may have meant near-endless spending on everything from decor to dinners. For example, in 2019, Americans spent an average of $230 on holiday decor and other non-gift holiday items

But with many of us becoming more mindful of our spending and potential shipping delays being announced globally, now is the time to prioritize creativity over cash. Thankfully, we’ve got some suggestions for hosting a Christmas party for next-to-nothing. 

5 Tips to Help You Through a Christmas Party on a Budget

  1. Stream the Holiday Classics for Free

From the classics like Bobby Helms’ Jingle Bell Rock to the record-breaking hits like Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, Christmas music sets the tone for a season of gratitude, nostalgia, and togetherness. 

Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to enjoy Christmas music completely for free. Both Pandora and Spotify have cost-free apps with optional paid versions to eliminate the ads. But if you don’t mind the occasional interruption, you can listen to millions of songs and podcasts for free. 

And now you have a free soundtrack for everything that comes next, whether you’re baking, eating, decorating, or playing a festive version of a favorite game like musical chairs. 

  1. Bake Something Sweet 

Both a delicious treat and an exciting activity, baking together is an easy and affordable way to add some extra magic to your holiday gatherings. Plus, desserts that are fresh out of the oven typically taste better than ones that have traveled or been frozen. 

And we think you’ll earn bonus points if you break out the ingredients for some fun and festive gingerbread cookies, along with Christmas-themed cookie cutters, and host a cookie contest! This is a fun, low-pressure, and affordable activity that holiday guests of all ages can get in on. 

  1. Ask Your Guests to Bring Their Favorite Meal Item

Most holiday guests volunteer to bring a dessert or two or a side dish to help fill up the host’s table. Make the most of this offer by asking them to cook up their favorite meal item instead. This way, there’s something for everyone to try and less pressure on your wallet and oven. 

They’ll likely spend just as much on the main meal dishes as they would if they had to bring a dessert or two. So, they’re not spending any extra, and it’ll save you money and give you a helping hand in filling up the table. 

Another bonus in breaking up the bigger tasks this way is that it gives everyone more time to relax and enjoy spending time with one another. Rather than having the host in the kitchen all day, everyone takes a task and an hour or two off the timeline. 

  1. Play Christmas Party Games

Last year, Shutterfly compiled a list of 30 Christmas Party Games Everyone Will Love. Depending on the size of the group and the theme of the party, there’s something on the list for every type of Christmas gathering. 

Here are a few we think could become your family’s new favorites: 

  • 20 Questions: Christmas Edition 
  • Santa Limbo
  • Christmas Carol Pictionary 
  • Christmas Charades 
  • Family Feud Christmas 
  • Blindfold Christmas Drawing 

The full list is broken down into categories, including family-friendly, adults-only, and large groups, so it’s easy to find something for everyone once you know what type of party games you’re looking for. 

  1. DIY Rather Than Buy 

If you’ve been following along on our Financial Education blog page for a while, you already know that we’re big on DIY decor. But whether this serves as a friendly reminder or initial inspiration, it bears repeating. 

DIY decorating provides all of the holiday spirit without all of the costs. And the options for easy and affordable DIY Christmas decor are endless. Sticking to traditional decor, you can craft little Christmas trees out of everything from clothespins and yarn to paper cups and washable paints. 

You can also make completely cost-free Christmas trees, Santa hats, snowflakes, and other festive crafts out of construction paper. Turn them into holiday place cards or attach them to pre-cut strings to create your own garlands to hang by the fireplace, bookshelves, and other areas of your home.