When it comes to hosting fantastic parties and giving luxury gifts, there is a way to do your holiday shopping with limited time and money, say entertainment experts Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali. Black Friday shopping is actually a great way to save money, not just on holiday gift shopping, but on planning for holiday parties, too.
Entertainment experts Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali, authors of Plan To Party and founders of The Party Bluprints Blog, have have appeared as featured experts on the Today Show and in Good Housekeeping, Redbook and many more. Above all, they are dear friends of mine, busy moms, and they know how to make the household budget stretch, and how to take time for yourself — even between carpools and sports practices.
This holiday season, Dawn and Elizabeth teamed up with CheapSally.com to find the best deals for the gifts they recommend in their Holiday Gift Guide, designed to help you find the best gifts for your family for the lowest price possible. Check out the Party Bluprint’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide and then click to Cheap Sally’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday pages to get the gifts for the lowest prices.
6 Tips for EASY Holiday Entertaining
Hosting holiday parties can be lots of fun, but only if you plan properly, make sure you get to partake in the party and avoid busting your budget! Making memories for your family, friends and, especially, the children in your life is a gift you give each guest as a hostess, but you don’t need to sacrifice your own enjoyment to give it. Here are 6 super tips that not only save you time, but allow you to enjoy your own party!
1. Set a self-serve bar area the day before your party, and instead of mixing cocktails, serve cocktail punch instead. Keep an eye for single serve beverage machines/coffee makers on Black Friday to make it easy to serve self-serve hot drinks during your holiday parties.
2. Set your table a day before too. It’s one less thing to do means more time for you during your holiday entertaining. When you are shopping the sales, get simple white dinner and serving dishes for your parties. They are easy to mix and match with any theme, come cheaper in the long run than paper plates and look a whole lot better.
3. Plan make-ahead meals like casseroles are great for holiday entertaining and can be served in one dish. That means fewer pots to clean and you won’t need to cook during the party. Or skip cooking dinner entirely and host a desserts- and cocktails-only holiday party.
4. Consider the value of your time. When you put a value on your time, you will discover it can be cheaper to buy certain items for your menu. Here are some items to consider buying rather than making from scratch: bread, pies, rice balls, and fancy desserts.
5. Graciously accept guests’ offers to help. This makes many people feel good. Invite them to bring a side dish or dessert or help serve or clear dishes. Paying it forward is great to keep in mind during holiday gift shopping as well. Purchase presents that pull double duty and give a portion of the proceeds to charity. Don’t forget this is the season of giving!
6. Enlist the help of teens at the party to watch the little ones for a while, so you can join in conversation and eat a hot meal. Black Friday is a great time to also find deals on gaming systems and the latest games, so you can set up a gaming corner just for the kids for your holiday parties using the latest games, making it a super holiday party for the kids, too.
Lifestyle expert Katja Presnal owns the Skimbaco blog network, and she inspires women to live life to the fullest. You can read more at SkimbacoLifestyle.com and you can connect with Katja on Twitter @katjapresnal.
Full disclosure: MommaSaid was compensated for this post and especially loves the tip about valuing your time. Also, the gaming center. We play a mean Guitar Hero here.