Holiday Parties on the Cheap

I have a friend who invites all her neighbors and friends over the day after Christmas to have a “leftovers” party!  She provides the beverages and they provide the potluck. How’s that for being ingenious in having a no-fuss holiday party on the cheap with a chance to see friends during the holidays without any hassles whatsoever.

If you are contemplating a last-minute gathering, it is perfectly okay during these tough economic times days to involve your guests in the plan. Here are three ideas to make your holiday party on the cheap quick and easy for everyone:

Limit the food group to desserts and coffee or bubbly and you have a smash hit. Have an Ice Cream Social with syrups and toppings (everyone loves ice cream, even when snow crunches underfoot). Or, ask everyone to bring their favorite brownies for a Best Brownie Tasting. Of course, there are various Christmas cookies, pies, cakes and fancy pastries to consider. Let your guests be your caterer on this one, and don’t be shy in telling them what to bring.

This is a lovely holiday party on the cheap because it is styled after the famous stone soup fable of sharing food, which is a perfect finale to the Christmas holiday. Ask guests to bring their choice of one of the following:

– Any fresh or frozen vegetable (onion, tomato, carrot, green beans, or potato, etc.)
– A small amount of raw meat, chicken or seafood (if desired)
– A favorite seasoning, such as garlic, celery, oregano, etc.
– A small amount of noodles, rice, barley, or canned beans

You provide the big pots, some chicken, vegetable or beef stock (at least 8 ounces per expected guest).  A hearty supply of bread, butter and wine is also recommended (all stuff guests can bring, too). As they arrive, have your guests dump their contributions into the soup pot.  In about an hour of festive cooking and catching up, you’ll have a great dish that everyone will love because they helped fix it!

Make-your-own-eggrolls are a great and inexpensive dim sum food and party activity for your holiday party on the cheap.  Have all the eggroll ingredients ready (including the deep fat fryer), and instruct guests how to fill and roll large wonton wrappers with chopped bean sprouts, cabbage, shredded chicken (or pork), green onions, water chestnuts, and sauces. Guests can also be invited to bring side dishes such as fried rice, stir-fry vegetables, and even fortune cookies.

By the way, if you need a fun activity for your holiday party on the cheap while the food is being prepared, have your Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software open on your computer, and have everyone add a recipe to your family cookbook!

Happy Cookbooking!


About Erin Miller

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