I have dramatically scaled back my holiday entertaining in the last 5 years. At first it was because of all the babies I kept having around that time. (just 2 really but it felt like more). Then it was because of money. Now it is because I am embarrased by my carpet. Seriously you would be too, it is really bad. But I might bite the bullet this year. You should too. Here are some ideas on how to do it cheap and easy. Just like______. (fill in your cheap and easy friend's name here).
Party Idea #1: Neighborhood cocktail party
No need to break the bank on all kinds of booze for a full bar. Just serve one signature cocktail like this pear and cranberry bellini. Then choose one appetizer. You don't even have to make it. You can buy perfectly yummy frozen apps at Trader Joes. Pop them in the oven when you get home from work, mix up the drinks and pour them 10 minutes before it starts, swipe on some lipstick and something sparkly, pull out the apps and arrange them on a big platter or cutting board, and voila, you look like Martha herself. Simple, elegant party, no stress. Oh and if you house is like mine, turn off all the lights, light some candles and no one will notice all the dirt. I promise.
Party Idea #2: Saturday morning coffee klatch
Send the mister and the kids to the ice rink for the morning and gather a group of close friends for an old fashioned coffee klatch. You don't have to do a cookie exchange (which would require baking dozens upon dozens of cookies), just grab some scones from your favorite bakery, make a big pot of coffee, and start the gossip. I won't tell if you add some Baileys.
Ok this is the hardest one, but still super easy. And as Martha says, "brunch is the perfect reason for a
midday cocktail on the weekend." You can make an egg bake the night before. Serve one signature cocktail (see pear cranberry bellini above). Go to the bakery for some scones, again, see above. Add a plate of fruit and a pot of coffee and you have brunch.
You know those days when you actually pull together a decent outfit, your hair and makeup come together for some reason, you feel confident, but then don't run into anyone you know (or want to get to know)...this is how your house feels at Christmas. All dressed up and no one to show it off to. If you put up a tree, throw a party. "You know, Jingle Bells, Ho Ho Ho, and mistletoe, and presents to pretty girls," Lucy Van Pelt, in a Charlie Brown Christmas.