How to host a brilliant Christmas party without breaking the bank

You don't need loads of money to make your festive gathering memorable. 

You don't need loads of money to make your festive gathering memorable. - Credit: Alamy/PA

This year, there will hopefully be more Christmas get-togethers than there were in 2020. But with prices rising and budgets stretched, party hosts will welcome ways to save some cash.

Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, millennial finance specialist at Barclays, shares her tips for hosting festive gatherings on a budget…

Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, millennial finance specialist at Barclays. 

Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, millennial finance specialist at Barclays. - Credit: PA Photo/Barclays

1. Have a savings pot for celebrations

“Having your finances under control will help you feel less stressed. There are many useful tools online to help you keep track of savings goals,” she says – why not try the Budget Planner from Money Helper.

2. Think outside of the box with festive decorations

Natural Christmas decorations sourced from the great outdoors can have the biggest impact. 

Natural Christmas decorations can have the biggest impact. - Credit: Alamy/PA

You don’t have to buy all new ornaments, with Zainab saying: “For example, empty wine bottles can make great decorative pieces either as candle holders, or decorated with fabric to look like Santa Claus. Pine cones, holly, and mistletoe also make great decorations, so why not bring the outdoors inside this year and head out foraging?”

3. Build up your freezer stock

Most Read

“Bring down the cost by bulk buying staples with a long shelf life and opting for own-brand products that can be popped in the freezer weeks ahead,” suggests Zainab.

“It’s also a great way to cut down on the mounting Christmas shopping list, and will make you less likely to buy spontaneous purchases in the festive scramble.”

4. Visit charity shops

“It’s always tempting to treat yourself to new outfits and decorations for festive celebrations every year, but why not look at going second-hand? You’re bound to find some treasures at your local charity shops or on apps,” says Zainab – such as Depop. “There’s always something unique and affordable.”

5. Get baking

“When putting on a festive spread, it’s worth making your own mince pies and gingerbread to save some money.”

6. Ask guests to bring a contribution

Happy Christmas! It's the simple things that make a party a success. 

It's the simple things that make a party a success. - Credit: Alamy/PA

“Whether that’s a dip, side salad, baked goods, or cocktail kit, in the end it spreads the cost and puts less pressure on the host.”

7. Plan transport ahead

“With fewer office parties being virtual, it’s useful to have a think about the best, most cost-effective way to reach a party destination ahead of time,” Zainab adds.

“If you’re hosting an office party, perhaps arrange a carpool with colleagues who live nearby to help minimise the cost of an otherwise expensive solo taxi ride.”