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How to Throw a Last Minute Holiday Party for Less than $50

You know what they say… ‘Tis the Season (for partying, socializing, eating, drinking, and spending)’. December can be an expensive month, leaving us with the dreaded January Spending Aftershock. Smart Mogo Minds can totally avoid a cash-induced hangover by sticking to a few easy tips.

That’s why we’ve put together this helpful how-to guide for hosting a great holiday party, that could have gotten budget approval from Scrooge.

How Can I Spend $50 and Still Be a Good Host?

In my opinion, December is the best time of year for getting together. The year is winding down, people have cleared time for merriment, and it’s an easy sell to get people up and off the couch. While there are ways to have a budget conscious (see: totally free) holiday party, I like to get a little more generous this time of year. Read on, and see how you can host a spur-of-the-moment, fun, and generous get together for $50 or under.

To me, every holiday party needs the big three: Food, Drinks, Fun. But instead of going to extravagant lengths, make sure to check the boxes on the first two, and go heavy on the third!

Food: $20

Veggies & Hummus, Chips, Cookies
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This isn’t the 1950s, and nobody expects to be served a sit down meal at a get together. Keep everyone’s mouths moving with some simple appetizers (2 bags of chips: $6, tray of veggies/hummus: $10, homemade sugar cookies: $4) and a single line on the invitation: “Come by after dinner for a snack, drink, and INSERT HOLIDAY FUN”.

Drinks: $20

Cranberry Cocktail, Mickey of Alcohol, Ginger Ale, Oranges, Cups
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Nothing says party like a big ol’ bowl of punch. It can be cheap to make, easy with or without booze, and a fun communal element to your party. Here’s a simple punch recipe that should get the good times started, the social lubrication rolling, and turn the BYOB policy into the SATBYB (Share All The Booze You Brought) policy:

  • Optional mickey of Vodka, Gin or White Rum ($10)
  • 2 Liters of Ginger Ale ($2)
  • 2 Oranges, wedged ($1.50)
  • 333ml of Cranberry Cocktail ($2)
  • Lots of ice (free, if you plan ahead)
  • Stack of Red Cups with a marker for guest names ($3)

Add it to a big bowl, set out the cups and markers, get ready for the party to jump off from here.

Fun: $10

Ermahgerd! Ernamerts!
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It may seem cheesy, but decorations can set the tone for your party atmosphere. Not looking to go all out? Hang something simple on the outside of your door to let guests know that this is about to be a party zone. Wreath? Why not. Intricately glued together macaroni nativity scene? Obviously. Red and white balloons? Of course.

Hitting the dollar store, art supply shop, or even the gas station should give you $10 worth of merriment to spread around the place to set the tone for fun.

The Freebies: $0

Christmas friends
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  • Great friends
  • Songza playlists – pick one and let the good times stream!
  • Friendly neighbours – about to have a shaker? A few knocks to your left, right and floors below can go a long way. It’s better to get a knock on the door from St. Nick than Sgt. Nichols.
  • Phone numbers for cabs – Don’t forget to get home safely this holiday season. As the host, you’re already home, but putting cab numbers out will remind your friends to be responsible.

There you have it! A quick way to get your friends together, give a little back, and not sacrifice too much time or money. What are you waiting for? Deck the halls and fill that punch bowl.

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