‘Tis the season…to watch money fly out of the wallet.
If income is not eaten up by Christmas shopping, entertaining can make quick work of it. Many people hesitate to be Christmas dinner hosts because they cannot afford it. Fortunately, it is not necessary to forgo time with family and friends to keep money in the wallet.
Food and drink are essentials for Christmas entertaining and with some creativity, the meal can be excellent without overspending.
If guests prefer variety, turn the meal into a wine tasting party by asking each person to bring a different bottle.
There is also no shame in asking guests to bring some snacks, a Christmas pudding or cake, or a side dish. Not only does this save the host money, it also saves time and effort. When everyone contributes, everyone receives a share of the compliments for a great meal. This is also a way to bring a family closer together by letting each person show off culinary talents.
First-time hosts or those cooking for a small group should not attempt a full roast turkey dinner. A crown turkey breast is much easier to prepare and is a better choice for a small gathering. Turkey steaks are alternatives that can be specially prepared in advance in minutes, not hours.
Cooks will spend less money and less time in the kitchen, two welcome things on Christmas day
Leftovers should be wrapped and refrigerated or frozen rather than discarded. They will provide several hearty meals during coming weeks.
Decorations make the home appear more festive but they can also be expensive. Look in the garden or at the house plants to find a substitute for a traditional live Christmas tree. Fairy lights transform a potted bay tree into a holiday focal point. If a cut tree is important, wait until Christmas Eve when costs should be lower or purchase a short tree and create a tabletop version.
If space is limited but a live tree scent is desired, request scrap branches from a tree seller or cut some from trees in the backyard. Create a table centerpiece by placing these into a large vase tied with a ribbon and hanging small ornaments from the branches.
Tie other branches together with wire to create a wreath, welcoming Christmas at the front door.