They say there is no place like home for the holidays and we completely agree! With twinkle lights adorning house fronts, candles glowing in the window, and smells of gingerbread and fresh pine circulating the air, gathering in your community with family and friends during the holidays is what this season is all about. Yet, amidst the holiday buzz of preparing for the big day, when does a hostess with the mostess find time to plan the perfect holiday party?

Well, we’ve got you covered. From simple DIY décor tips, lovely libations and clever conversation starters, we’re sharing budget-friendly, no-fuss solutions to creating a joyous occasion with your neighbors and friends.

Décor Tips

While our fair-weather communities may still be enjoying the outdoors, the rest of us are hunkering down next to the fireplace trying to stay warm. An easy, budget-friendly way to breathe “fresh air” in a closed-off room is to bring elements of the outdoors inside! Collect pinecones and sprigs of pine, place them in a basket, and add a decorative candle to create a simple, yet elegant centerpiece. Add a fresh pine aroma to any space without even walking outside, by simply boiling pine with hot water. Try experimenting with other flavors too like cinnamon and apple slices to give your guests a sense of nostalgia.

With the winter sun setting earlier and the cold, dreary weather setting in, another way to liven up your home for the holidays is with light! Add some twinkle here, or a candle there to make your home sparkle! Instead of just hanging a simple garland, incorporate twinkle lights into the mix to literally make your garland glow. Candles are also a great way to add warmth to a room, making it feel cozy and sentimental for any gathering. Don’t have candleholders? Make your own like this mason jar with cranberries and pine inspiration.

Drinks

Crank up the merriment at your holiday party by adding festive cocktails to the mix. When entertaining a larger group, remember that the booze is better in batches (and will stretch your penny farther). A fruit-filled glass of red or white wine can do no wrong during the holiday hustle, nor does cinnamon-apple spiked sangria! Try to keep your fruits and flavors seasonal – we like cranberry, pomegranate and even some rosemary like this inspiration here. Add personal flair to your signature cocktail by naming it after yourself, such as “Mary’s Merry Berry Sangria.”

Another cost-effective and creative way to mix things up is to invite your guests to be their own mixologist. Create your own bar cart, make homemade holiday mixers (and pop open some bubbly to set a celebratory mood), then let your guests decide how to do the rest. No fuss about what drinks to make or how to serve, let your guests do the work for you and have fun along the way. The cherry on top: Have them name their signature cocktails too!

The Guests

The most important element of any holiday party is the company you keep – because after all, entertaining is really just about bringing together neighbors, friends and family to enjoy each other’s company.  For guests who are new to the group, try some fun ice-breakers so that everyone can get further acquainted – our personal favorite is Two Truths and a Lie!  Games are also always fun at parties and require little preparation on your part. Have fun and make new friends competing over that one sought-after white elephant gift that isn’t a total gag, or play detective identifying your Secret Santa. Tacky holiday sweaters also make for a good laugh!

Instead of checking your to-do list twice, let these quick tips help do the work for you! We invite you to relax, breathe in the crisp winter air, and enjoy the beauty, warmth and joy of this special holiday season.

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