Are you the host for this year’s family get-togethers? Here are a few top tips to help you keep control of your budget this festive season – without losing out on the spirit of fun…

Compile a budget

While creating a budget can seem fun-sapping, in reality, it gives you peace of mind so you can relax and enjoy the process. Once you know what you can spend, make a list of what matters for the event, in priority order. That way, you’ll know you can axe the fancy napkin rings if the entree takes a little extra cash, and you won’t have to stress.

Offer an open (hot) bar

Have a sumptuous spread of cocoa, hot chocolate, coffee and tea open to guests, and let them bring the alcohol if they are drinking. It’s more family-friendly, anyway. Glam it up with some festive toppings like marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles and cream.

Invite meaningfully

It’s tempting to splurge on a bash for 100 people – but why? Take the second cousins you never speak to and the aunt who always has bad things to say about your kids off the list, and keep it to a small, memorable celebration with people you love instead. It’s the easiest way to reduce the stress and enjoy the best of the season instead.

Keep decor under control

If you have a tight budget, active kids or curious pets, opt to decorate the main areas – hallway, lounge and front door- and keep it simpler through the rest of the house.

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Ask and ye shall receive

When it comes to staples like china, tablecloths, bowls, and even the food you are serving, don’t always feel you have to buy – ask friends and family to lend you everything you need. There’s nothing wrong with asking each guest to bring a side, either.

Remember that the true meaning of the season is family, love and celebration – not doing more than the Joneses. Keep your wallet and your heart happy this festive season, and keep your celebration in line with your budget – without sacrificing style.