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Updated on Dec 8, 2019. Posted on Dec 1, 2019

16 Cheap But Fun Ways To Throw The Best Holiday Party Ever

Being fun and festive on a budget is easier than you think.

1. Rule number one: Ask for RSVPs! Knowing how many guests to plan for can help you avoid wasting unnecessary cash on preparing stuff for people who don't show up.

While there may always be some last-minute no-shows, having a general sense of how many people will attend is super helpful.

2. If you don't have holiday decor on hand, just grab some string lights to create an instant festive vibe.

Get a 66-foot pack of bendable copper string lights from Amazon for $15.99 and decorate away.

3. You can also DIY some decorations from cheap materials — think paper stars or snowflakes. There are tutorials online for basically everything in existence!

Accessorize with garland, tinsel, or stockings from a local discount or dollar store, a Hanukkah banner from Amazon for $10.95, or artificial pine leaves from Amazon for $12.99.

4. Ask all your guests to give you two songs they'd like to hear, and incorporate them into a holiday playlist.

There's nothing like hearing your favorite song come on at a party surrounded by friends — and it also means less time spent curating the perfect playlist for you!

5. Have a potluck party instead of preparing a ton of dishes yourself.

Make some light bites and then let guests know that you're hosting a potluck and they can bring any sort of dish they prefer — from dips and appetizers to a main course, if they're feeling ambitious. (This will also make sure everyone has something to eat that they enjoy, especially if they have any dietary restrictions.)

6. Resist the urge to buy premade desserts and bake or prepare any sweet treats yourself.

Whether you're going the boxed-brownie route or full-on apple pie from scratch, it's much more economical to just make the darn thing than to splurge on cupcakes or pastries from the hottest bakery in town.

7. Or, set up a cookie-decorating bar for your guests!

Bake some basic sugar cookies — they can be plain ol' round ones or take fun shapes, your call — and have colored icing and other edible adornments available so everyone can get make with their own delicious 'grammable (or not-so-'grammable) creations.

8. Tell your guests to bring a favorite card game or board game.

Everyone knows that games are the best icebreakers — and they're a great way to help more introverted guests socialize with others!

9. Or grab an inexpensive seasonally appropriate game, like holiday charades or trivia — perfect for even family-friendly holiday parties.

Get Holiday Charades from Amazon for $19.99 or Christmas Trivia from Amazon for $14.86.

10. And if you really want to take your party to the next level, get a karaoke microphone — trust us.

All you need to do is look up some lyrics videos to the songs you want to sing and voilà: best investment ever!

Get a (frankly beautiful) cordless karaoke microphone from Amazon for $28.99.

11. Forget ugly sweaters — have a holiday pajama party!

Not only are PJs more comfy, they're also generally less expensive than investing in a new sweater — plus they're a practical purchase! If you really want to step up your role as host, consider having some extra onesies or pajamas on hand for anyone who doesn't have one that's on theme.

12. Set up a DIY photo backdrop with wrapping paper or string lights and get some holiday props.

Was there even a holiday party if there aren't cute pics to prove it? Decorate a wall with festive wrapping paper, lights, or a banner, and then print out some cheap-o downloadable photo booth props!

Check out these fun options available: Get downloadable Christmas props from Chela Williams on Etsy for $3.95, downloadable Hanukkah props from Simply Silhouettes on Etsy for $5, or a 20-count IRL kit of Kwanzaa props from Big Dot of Happiness for $15.99.

13. Have everyone who wants to participate bring a gift under $10 for a white elephant gift exchange...

It's a fun way to entertain your guests and encourage mingling. If you're unfamiliar, here's how it works.

14. ...or have a "bad Santa" gift exchange, where people are required to bring crummy gifts that they're not allowed to spend any money on.

Think: an old T-shirt, a half-eaten box of cereal, a houseplant that's in bad shape. It's a hilarious activity to loosen up the crowd if some guests don't know each other (and maybe for that houseplant to find its way to a greener thumb).

15. Set up a crafts station where guests can make their own ornaments to take home.

You can buy mini-stockings and cheap ball ornaments at a discount store, and other inexpensive materials like glitter, sequins, and twine, at a crafts store (or online, of course).

16. Once everyone is too tired to socialize, put on a classic holiday movie and call it a night.

Happy holidays!

All images via Getty Images.

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