I love to entertain, especially during the holidays while my Christmas tree is up and the house is warm and inviting. However, hosting parties can be expensive, and it is so easy to overspend on food and decorations. So tonight, I ventured out to Walmart on the night before Thanksgiving (not recommended!) to see if I could throw a fabulous holiday party for 20 of my closest friends for just $200. Is it possible???

Although happy hour parties with heavy hors d’oeurves sounds like a good idea, I have learned that they can turn into an all night affair! So, I decided on Dessert and Champagne at 9 pm.

Champagne – Christalino is really great and I recently found it on sale at my local Albertsons for $7.10 a bottle (Walmart didn’t carry it, but I highly recommend making the extra trip to find it.)

  • You will need a case for 20 people –$85.20

  • Grab a bottle of cranberry juice to make Poinsettias and stretch your supply – $2.98

  • Make it pretty by dropping fresh cranberries into the flutes – $1.68

  • Total $90

Cheese – pretty display, crowd pleaser, and regardless of how much you have it always seems to last (no one wants to eat the last bit!)

  • Brie $4.48 (you can also just serve baked brie with cranberries and walnuts in phyllo dough)

  • Gruyere $2.50

  • Onion Chive Goat Cheese $4.48

  • Carr’s water crackers $3.98

  • Pepperidge Farm Entertainment Quartet $2.68

  • A bunch of grapes $1.68 (throw in leftover raspberries from mousse below)

  • Total $20  

Desserts! Not only do freshly baked goodies show you care, but they are affordable and make your house smell wonderful!

  • Delicate Lace Oatmeal Cookies

    • 1c sugar – $2.82 for 4lbs

    • 1 stick butter -$2.50 for 1lb

    • 1 egg – $1.58 for dozen

    • 2T flour – $1.84 for 2lb

    • 1 c oatmeal – $2.42 for smallest

    • 1t vanilla – $2.48 for smallest

Preheat oven 325. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Add flour. Stir in oatmeal and vanilla. Cover cookie sheet with foil, lightly spray grease. Drop small balls of mixture onto cookie sheet widely spaced. Bake till lightly brown. Peel from foil when cool. Careful, they break easily. Makes 2 dozen- you have plenty of ingredients to double recipe.

  • Mini Key Lime Tarts topped with whipped cream

    • Mini Walker’s shortbread cookies – $2.50 for 35

    • 1/4c sugar

    • 14oz can sweeten condensed milk – $2.25

    • 4 egg yolks

    • 8oz cream cheese – $1.48

    • ½ c key lime juice – $2.48 for a sack

    • Reddy Whipped cream – $3.48 can (or whip 16oz heavy whipping cream with sugar to taste – $2.62 )

Place cookies in bottom of mini cupcake pan (you should use the papers but I forgot to get price, probably $2). Blend sugar, milk, cream cheese together in cuisinart. Add egg yolks and blend well. Slowly add lime juice. Pour over cookies and refrigerate overnight. Top with whipped cream. This mix might yield more than 35, but that’s how many cookies came in a package.

  • Chocolate Mousse with raspberries and whipped cream

    • Instant Jell-O Chocolate Mousse – oops missed price, say $4 for 2 boxes

    • 1c milk – $1.28 for a pint

    • Raspberries – $1.98 container

    • Whipped cream

    • 2 packages 15 Mini Phyllo Shells – $3.48 

Follow instructions on box. Place raspberry in bottom of shell. Dish mousse on top and topped with whipped cream.

  • Total dessert ingredients – $40

Grand Total $150! (plus tax)

Leaves plenty for cocktail napkins, maybe a poinsettia, and possibly extra champagne! 

When I started this article I really didn’t think I could do everything I wanted for $200, but I did without skimping on anything I planned and even came in under budget! Just because money is a bit tight doesn’t mean you can’t throw a fabulous party.

Happy Holidays!

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