How to throw a great holiday party on a budget

Planning a holiday party can be daunting and expensive. The trick is to be crafty and creative. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The holiday season is the perfect time to gather with friends and celebrate together. Planning a holiday party doesn’t have to be as expensive or stressful as it may seem. There are a lot of ways you can keep things simple and even make use of items you already own. The trick is to be crafty and creative. Here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Plan a Secret Santa and be sure to set a price limit

It can be tempting to want to buy all of your friends presents or to have party favors, but this can be extremely pricey. To make everyone feel special without having to buy a million gifts, set up a Secret Santa within your friend group. This way, everyone still gets a present without it being all on the host. Also be sure to set a price limit for the gifts. You’d be surprised to see how many cute gifts can cost under $20. Opening up the gifts together and figuring out who bought what can be a really fun bonding experience and add some excitement to your party.

2. Make decorations out of things already in your house

Decorations for a holiday-themed party are actually really easy to make at home. There are so many easy holiday decorations you can make with just a piece of paper and scissors. Go crazy with paper snowflakes and have your house looking like a winter wonderland. You can also round up any decorations lying around such as wreaths or Christmas lights to help create the perfect ambiance. A centerpiece with real fruits like apples or pears can be festive. Even just turning on a Christmas movie or playing some festive music in the background can help set the mood.

3. Don’t go overboard with crazy recipes

It can be tempting to try and impress your guests with an amazing menu, but food can be really price. In the end, an inexpensive meal will be just as delicious. For a casual party, sticking to a variety of small appetizers and desserts is a great idea. Websites such as Tasty, Tastemade and Delish have tons of easy holiday-themed recipes that can often be made with things already in your home. For desserts, if you don’t want to actually bake anything, grocery stores have a variety of pre-made cookie doughs that are holiday themed and very inexpensive. Any food that is red, green or in the shape of a wreath will be a huge hit. Just a quick search online will turn up tons of festive results such as chocolate-covered pretzels, cranberry cheese balls or pull-apart cheesy bread in the shape of a Christmas tree.

4. Get crafty together

If you don’t know what to do once you’ve all eaten and opened presents, working on a craft together can be really fun. DIY ugly sweaters or ornaments can be both super festive and enjoyable. All you have to buy is a pack of long-sleeved shirts or glass ornaments, and then everyone can just gather up the rest of the supplies such as glitter, paint and tinsel. Basically anything you have lying around could work. Decorating cookies together could also be really fun and inexpensive.