‘Tis the season to be jolly — not stressed out about hosting a Christmas party. Hosting a party during the holidays can add a whole layer of stress to an already busy time of year. Figuring out the meal, making room to seat everyone, and keeping guests entertained — it all adds up! But fear not, we’ve got some Christmas party hacks to lessen the anxiety this holiday and help you throw a memorable party without becoming a bundle of stress.
If you’re lucky enough to be hosting family this holiday, use these 24 genius tips to be the hostess with the mostest without breaking your budget this holiday season. We’ve pulled together easy, cheap, and even free holiday hosting tips that you can use this year or at any party you’re hosting in the future.
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1. Turn plain dishes into party dishes with chalkboard tape.
2. Give red Solo cups the Santa treatment with black ribbon and buttons.
Turn a cheap Solo cup into a fun Santa-themed drink with this simple trick. Buy a spool of black ribbon and some buttons from the dollar store. Use a hot glue gun (or even double-sided tape) to stick the ribbons to the cup, making them look like Santa’s belt.
3. Turn a shower rod into a coat check.
One of our favorite Christmas party hacks! Use hangers from your own closet to hang guests’ coats in a bathroom with a shower rod. This keeps them at easy reach if a guest needs them and prevents the dreaded digging for a coat that’s been tossed on the bed when you need to step out.
4. Make a homemade potpourri.
If you find some in-season fall and winter fruit on sale, pick some up and use the peels to make a homemade holiday potpourri. Before serving this fruit on your charcuterie board, peel it and place it in a saucepan on the stove with a few cinnamon sticks and cloves. Bring the pot to a simmer and enjoy the scents of the season all night long.
5. Wrap empty boxes for table centerpieces or party decor.
For inexpensive party decor, use discarded Amazon boxes or other shipping boxes and wrap them with $1 wrapping paper from the dollar store. Scatter the wrapped “gifts” throughout your home for easy (and cheap) party decor.
6. Decorate napkins and place settings with rosemary sprigs.
For elegant and simple table decor, use a sprig of rosemary in your napkin rings. They look like pine branches and smell wonderful. Better still, if you have a pine tree in your backyard, clip a few pieces and use the real thing for table decor. It’s free and so festive!
7. Make placeholders with candy canes glued in threes.
Pick up a pack of 12 candy canes from Walmart for $1.24 and use them to create these cute placeholders for name cards at your holiday table. Using ribbon from the dollar store and crafter paper, you can make these placeholders for an entire table for under $5.
8. Use upcycling Christmas party hacks to protect your wood table.
Protect a wood table from spills by setting down newspaper underneath a tablecloth. This is a great way to recycle and save your table, protecting it from spills and hot dishes while you serve your guests a Christmas dinner.
9. Create a DIY table runner with paper snowflakes.
Use your elementary school crafting skills and create a homemade paper snowflake runner. Inexpensive printer paper and some clear tape makes an affordable custom runner to fit your holiday table.
10. Save money by creating homemade centerpieces.
Add greenery, water, cranberries, and floating candles to a mason jar for an easy centerpiece. Mason jars and floating candles can be found at the dollar store, and you can use greenery from your own yard for free!
11. Cover tables with craft paper and use a Sharpie to label food.
12. Cook stuffing in muffin tins for easy serving and delicious, crispy edges.
This tip is great for easy servings for your guests and also makes for convenient take-home leftovers! It’s also a perfect use for any leftover stuffing you have. Create something new with what you’ve already prepared.
13. Use a wine glass for a DIY chip and dip bowl.
Place an empty wine glass from your collection in a large bowl and you can use it as a dip dish within a big bowl of chips.
14. Wrap water bottles in decorative holiday tape.
Hobby Lobby often has holiday-themed packing tape for under $2, and you can also find holiday duct tape at Walmart for around $4 per roll. Use it to create festive water bottles for your guests. Bonus: you can use any leftover tape in your gift wrapping as well!
15. Make reindeer root beer for the kids.
With a few dollar store craft supplies — pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and googly eyes, to be exact — you can create these adorable little reindeer root beers for children or any non-alcohol drinkers at your event. Plus, you can get your kids involved in making them before the party.
16. Label disposable cups with gift tags.
Another one of our absolute favorite Christmas party hacks! Help your guests keep tabs on their cups by using dollar store gift tags as name labels on cups. This is a simple and festive way to label drinks rather than using a black marker.
17. Use cinnamon as cocktail swizzle sticks.
Buy a large, 7-ounce container of whole cinnamon sticks at Sam’s Club or Costco for under $10. You can use these as cocktail stirrers, they’re perfect for apple cider, or even use them as decor in your napkin rings or tied in the bows on gifts.
18. Keep cider warm in a Crock-Pot.
An easy way to keep your guests’ cider glasses topped up all night is to keep it warm in a Crock-Pot. Add cinnamon sticks, spices, or even some cranberries for a festive holiday drink.
19. Decorate wine and cocktail glasses with wire garland.
Buy wire garland at the dollar store and use it to wrap around the stems of wine glasses for a fun pop of holiday cheer.
20. Keep white wine and sparkling cider cool with frozen cranberries.
Consider using frozen cranberries instead of ice at your next holiday party. The cranberries will keep drinks cold without watering them down and look like Christmas in a cup!
21. Use frozen balloons to keep drinks cool.
Especially fun for the kids’ cooler, fill balloons with water and freeze them for extra large and colorful ice cubes to keep drinks cold all night.
22. Press cookie cutters into frozen whipped cream for holiday hot cocoa.
Spread whipped topping onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once the whipped cream is frozen, use holiday cookie cutters to create shapes that add a fun element to your party’s hot cocoa bar.
23. Cover the kids’ table with kraft paper.
Buy a large roll of kraft paper at the dollar store or craft store. Line the kids’ table with paper, secure it with duct tape, and set out crayons to keep them entertained all night. You can even use scissors to cut out any drawings they’re particularly proud of, and send them home with it as a memento from the party.
24. Make cleaning up easy by lining your trash can with three or four bags.
Save time on taking out the trash by lining your bin with several bags. Now when one gets full, you can just remove it and not waste time — or worse, risk a garbage dump with no bag! — on replacing the bag.