Whether your pockets are tight or you just don’t want to spend extravagantly, this year you can keep your holiday festivities classy and cost-effective. BlackEnterprise.com talked with T. Sharee Butler, CEO of La Frai DS Events and Entertainment, and Dorrie Pariser, CEO of World Wide Events Ltd., for tips on how you can entertain on a budget, bringing in the holiday cheer with both pizazz and bang for your buck.–Janell Hazelwood
Go eco-friendly with e-mail invites. “Create a nice invite via the Web and send to all your friends,” Butler says. If you want to get more fancy, try Paperless Post, which are more like virtual, customizable stationary. Sign up is free and the first 25 Web “stamps” are also free.
Go the DIY route for festive decor. Vases, wreaths, pine cones, and ribbons can be purchased at discount stores, Butler says. “For centerpieces, get the small winter white trees and spray them with a gloss or glitter to give the icy look. Or fill clear bowls with ornaments and candy from your local dollar store.” Also, candles are an inexpensive way to add a special allure and set the mood. “You can find votive candles for as little as 50 cents,” says Pariser. Add a special touch with a table runner. Get sparkly cloth from a fabric store and drape it across tables to add that holiday flair, Pariser adds.
Offer appetizers bought wholesale. “You can bake the pre-made frozen appetizers–available at stores such as Costco– and offer them on a nice serving platter. Or place paper doilies on simple dishes and serve them that way,” Butler says. You can also serve cookies from Christmas tins or add a sprinkling of powdered or colorful sugars and other sweet garnishes for decoration on a serving plate.
If appetizers aren’t enough, try a small buffet of larger family-style dishes–instead of a full multiple-course meal—such as lasagna, pasta, and salad, Pariser suggests.
Request guests bring the liquor or drink of their choice. “That’s a great way of going about it where it makes the invitee feel they get to dictate what’s at the bar,” Butler says. Another great alternative: Buy liquor by the case. “Many liquor warehouses, and some stores will sell wine and liquor by the case or at the wholesale price, which is much cheaper than buying individual bottles, if you buy enough, ” Butler adds.
Mix it up with a sangria or rum punch for all to enjoy. “You can get a great wine for under $15, brandy, and fruit, and mix them for sangria,” Pariser says. “Each bowl or pitcher goes a long way and people love it!” Butler is a fan of the same mixed concept in rum punch. “You get the rum, the juices, and mix them together and serve,” Butler says. Garnish glasses with leftover fruit or rim them with colored sugar to add special touch of class.
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