Spend your Christmas season on a budget

Plan your Christmas parties early. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

May your holidays be merry and bright with these fun and inexpensive party ideas

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of precious holiday season prep time ticking away.

Plan your Christmas parties early. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

You may still be dipping into your personal stash of discounted Halloween candy, but whether you like it or not, Christmas is right around the corner. Soon enough, you’ll be swept up in the holiday rush, frantically looking for the perfect presents for your family and friends, going from party to party, baking up a storm, all while still cramming for finals. With a month to go until the big day, why not get started early?

Plan your Christmas parties early. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Besides shopping for gifts, the most important thing to get started on right away is planning the perfect Christmas get-together. Unlike New Year’s, Christmas typically isn’t a holiday marked by its wild parties and drunken antics. Instead, it’s best spent with those nearest and dearest to you. This year, why not try something different?

There’s nothing better on a blustery winter night than staying in and filling the house with the warm, enveloping aroma of gingerbread, so why not get your friends together for a gingerbread-decorating party? It may sound childish, but when you are catching up with friends and having some drinks (hopefully in your best/ugliest Christmas sweaters), you’d be surprised how fun it can be. Prepare gingerbread dough beforehand (or buy some premade dough, no judgment) and ask everyone to bring some decoration supplies: icing, festive sprinkles, gum drops, M&Ms, and anything else you can think of. Find some kind of to-go containers so your friends can bring home whatever cookies they don’t eat, and you’re good to go. Be warned: the clean up won’t be fun, but once you get some cocktails and cookies in you, you won’t even care anymore!

Plan your Christmas parties early. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

If gingerbread isn’t your thing, put on your dressiest holiday clothes, buy some champagne and throw an elegant affair… or as elegant an affair you can have at home on a limited budget. Christmas is the perfect excuse to dress up, even if it’s just a night in with friends. To help your bank account out, tell everyone to bring their favourite brand of bubbly or a dish of food and make your own decorations using simple craft supplies like construction paper and glitter. A little can go a long way. And don’t forget to take an adorable Christmas card-worthy picture with all your dressed up guests!

Plan your Christmas parties early. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

The holidays are a time for relaxing, so if you don’t feel like baking or getting dressed up, there’s a perfect alternative—a Christmas movie marathon pyjama party! Invite everyone over and make sure they wear their comfiest pyjamas (bonus points if they’re Christmas PJs). Buy holiday snacks, make a big batch of hot cocoa and round up as many cozy blankets as you can. Pick out some classic holiday movies for you and your friends, and then snuggle up on the couch for a cozy night in with those you love most. Who needs fancy outfits or alcohol when you have your best friends by your side and It’s A Wonderful Life playing on your T.V.?

Whatever you decide, start planning as soon as possible. The holidays move way too quickly, so take advantage of what little time you have. Whether you have a gingerbread party, a fancy affair, or a cozy night at home, don’t forget what matters most this holiday season—the people you spend it with.

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