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Holiday Bash on a Budget

December, a month filled with wintry holidays, is a classic time to celebrate with friends and family. The cold outdoor temperatures and diminished daylight hours make a warm, friendly party a welcome treat. Whether you're going to make it a quiet evening with extended family or a boisterous bash with all of your friends, we have some tips and ideas for planning a great holiday party that won't break the bank.

The first thing to decide is how much money you can afford to spend on your get-together. If you don't determine a budget ahead of time, you may get carried away by the holiday spirit and spend more than you can afford to - which does not make for a happy new year! There are a few things you should take into consideration: how many people you will invite, what kind of food and drink you will offer, and whether your guests will contribute. Once you've considered these things, you should have a better idea of what the party will cost.

Decide how much you want to spend per person on food and drinks before planning out the menu and making up a guest list. The fewer people you invite, the more money you can afford to spend per guest. If you plan to invite everyone you know to your party, keep costs down by sticking to either a potluck meal or drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

Once the budget is set and the guest list is made up, send out invitations. Remember to include guests' children in the invitation, so they'll feel comfortable bringing them and your kids will have playmates.

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