Many of us love entertaining, but few of us love the added expense or stress that often accompanies hosting. If you’re putting on your family’s holiday gathering this year, read on as Teri Gault, founder and CEO of The Grocery Game, offers ten tips to save time and money when entertaining this holiday season.
Invitations—Save time and money by inviting your guests for a party within the same card as your annual holiday card! Another low-cost, eco-friendly option is to try an online site like PaperlessPost.com or Evite.com.
Decorate for Less—Find new uses for everyday items by repurposing them for decorations. Try using garland, bows and candles on hutches and tables or holiday decorations in vases to add a festive touch.
Drinks Guide—Factor in how much guests will drink using this guide: two drinks in the first hour, one drink per hour after that. To find low-cost wines, check drugstores and supermarkets; whereas for hard liquor, visit warehouse club stores.
The Perfect Punch—The simplest and most cost-effective pre-made drink is a champagne punch with frozen berries. Remember to use moderately-priced champagne -- no one will know the difference!
Christmas and New Year's Ham—Ham is at an all-year low price now, so buy two and freeze the extra either for New Year's dinner or for use in sandwiches, soups and other dishes later in the year.
Holiday Baking—Baking goods like sugar, flour and cake mixes, are also at the lowest price of the year right now. Stock up for your holiday baking, as well as for next year's baking -- think of your upcoming birthday parties and holiday parties like the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. Buy products with the most extensive expiration dates.
Clean-Up!—Buy convenient disposable disinfecting wipes on sale with online coupons or manufacturer coupons for the last-minute spruce up. Use a large sink or outdoor bucket filled with water and soap to soak your dishes and avoid a long, time-consuming and messy clean-up.
"Do-Aheads"—Save your sanity and time by doing most of the cooking and prep work in advance of the big day: chop vegetables and arrange and cover cold platters and keep them fresh in the fridge.
Santa's Helpers—People want to help, so let them! Have guests help you with small tasks such as opening wine, tossing a salad or watching the timer for oven-made dishes to avoid over-cooked or burned entrees. Getting help from others lets you focus on the bigger picture of managing the kitchen and entertaining your guests.
The Perfect Centerpiece—Use a wreath with a clear bowl with a candle in it placed in the center hole of the wreath. Epsons salt is great to keep the candle(s) steady and it looks just like snow! This is a quick, easy and beautiful centerpiece for any season.