FRIENDS AND RELATIVES COMING FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The long holidays at Christmastime affords a chance for relatives to come together. It is a time to reinforce the familial bond. And hosting relatives for the Christmas holidays are quite common among Filipinos.
It is, for instance, common for Filipino homes in cities to host relatives from the rural towns to spend Christmas with them. It’s often the kids who are eager to come to the city at Christmas, to witness the grand celebrations there. And then the kids only return home to be with their parents for the New Year.
Sometimes it goes the other way around. Families from the city would want to spend their Christmas in the province. They want to experience the less flamboyant Christmas of the countryside and, well, taste again the heirloom family recipes at the home of a dear relative.
But hosting relatives can be rather stressful – and expensive, as well, since hosts want everyone to eat well and be merry. According to Tiffany Aliche, in an article at www.money.usnews.com, it’s easy to get carried away and overspend when hosting relatives. At the same time, Aliche shares tips for managing a tight budget this holiday season and still host a memorable family get-together:
1. Create a holiday itinerary.
It’s often the unplanned activities, like an impromptu trip to the movies, that drain your wallet when family comes to visit. You’ll save big this holiday if you can limit surprise expenses.
Schedule your holiday itinerary out play-by-play. For instance, plan meals for each day in order to avoid eating out. If you do want to take your guests out for a special meal, scope out one or two affordable restaurants beforehand. Then let your family choose from restaurants you already know are in your budget.
You can also plan fun activities for each day of their visit. For example, you can stay home and rent a movie on nights to avoid expensive concession snacks, and then venture out the next day to window shop.
Even if you don’t follow your itinerary, you’ll have budget-friendly activities to fall back on throughout the holiday to entertain your guests.
2. Prune your holiday dinner menu.
Choose your menu wisely to cut costs and make less complicated dishes with affordable ingredients that can feed a large group of people.
Of course, main courses like turkey and ham are where you can get the most bang for your buck. You can usually find good deals at the supermarket on both types of meats, since they’re holiday staples. For instance, one supermarket may be offering one free turkey or ham if you spend a certain amount using your rewards card (exact purchase requirements may vary in each store).
Search your local supermarket announcements in advance for deals and bargains to plan your shopping trips around the savings.
3. Budget for every expense.
It’s common knowledge that it’s easy to go overboard during the holidays. But the last thing you want to do is overextend yourself and start the New Year with credit card debt. To avoid overspending, always head to the store with a budget and a list of everything you need for the holiday – and not just food.
Make room in your budget for tableware, decor, wine, beer and even toiletries for family guests staying over. You can find most of the party tableware, décor and toiletries at the stores nearby. You can also buy in bulk at major stores.
What about the wine, beer and other adult drinks? Typically, there’s a discount for buying large quantities. Look for case specials or call local distributors for deals. Party drinks like punch or sangria can be affordable alternatives to wine and beer. They’re also cheaper than individual bottles and can last the entire night.
4. Trim the guest list.
Be realistic after creating your holiday budget. If you find it so hard to accommodate a relative you haven’t seen in years, it’s okay to say no. If you don’t have the funds for a huge dinner, be straightforward with your guests.
Let them know you’re having an intimate affair for close family and a few friends. Sending out personalized invitations is an easy way to tell guests that your holiday party is invite-only without offending anyone.
5. Know when to ask for help.
If you have a huge group of close family and friends who you don’t want to cut from your guest list, you can always host a potluck. You can take care of the main courses, and then ask everyone to prepare a dish. Most guests are happy to chip in.
Plan the potluck so you’ll have a variety of hors d’oeuvres, side dishes and desserts to balance out the holiday dinner. You can also ask guests to bring their drink of choice to the party. It will save you money, plus you’ll have a stocked bar at the end of the night for future gatherings.
The holidays are definitely a stressful time for party planners. But if you shop in advance, budget carefully and create a detailed plan, you’ll enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank.