Hosting The Holidays 

My in-laws typically host Thanksgiving for the family. This year, however, they are in the middle of construction on their new home. So naturally, we volunteered to open our house to the fam bam. 

We have the space to fit everyone, especially with a newly re-finished basement for the kids to run around in (more on this in a later post!). But space doesn’t necessarily equal equipped. 

I recently found myself staring into our cupboards at our 10 place settings of dinnerware, wondering how on earth I am going to pull off a “nice” Thanksgiving for our large family without spending hundreds of dollars on doubling our current set, buying linens, center pieces, and food. 

Ladies and gentlemen, enter creativity. Throwing a kick butt bash doesn’t have to cost a fortune; and being on a budget doesn’t always have to mean paper plates and no style. 

Get out your glue guns and mod podge: we’re throwing a party.

Tip #1: 

White. White. White. White table cloths, white napkins. Why? First, white is easy to bleach; when little Timmy throws his food or grandma spills her wine, you can rest easy because white is bleachable. Second, white goes with everything, so you’ll be all set for many parties to come. 

*my white table cloth is currently being bleached because: cranberries. So now you KNOW this is a good tip. 

Tip #2:

GO BOLD OR GO HOME. In contrast to the last tip (literally), if you need to purchase more dishes, go with something starkly different than what you already have. For example, we have white for our normal set; for our needs, red was the perfect choice of color for our second, inexpensive set. I decided to go with every other place setting being red or white; mixing the plates and bowls would be adorable, too! 

Tip #3: Do accent. We chose not to do placemats, and instead bought a bunch of gold chargers. Hello, gorgeous. I also bought gold & white twine to tie around the napkins to match. Everyone LOVED THEM. It’s the little touches that make your table special. 

Tip #4: If possible, don’t wait until the last minute. I made that mistake with my centerpieces, but I made it work. When I went shopping, all fall accents were gone and I was only able to find Christmas pieces. I was lucky enough to find a wooden leaf on clearance at Target that I painted gold and worked with what I had: crystal candle holders, gold votives, pine cones (bought on clearance after Christmas last year!) and some turkey salt and pepper shakers we’ve had for a few years. 

Tip #5: Shop around. And don’t be afraid to go REALLY cheap. No one can tell the difference (unless you blog about it, like I am!) 

Are you ready for the cost breakdown? Here’s what I spent (and where) to get my home host-worthy for Thanksgiving for the whole family:

*Note: I did not include food/beverage costs because everyone in the family pitches in, so my contribution was the same as any other year.* 

  • 10 red plates: $1.00/each [Dollar Tree]
  • 10 red bowls: $1.00/each [Dollar Tree]
  • 20 gold chargers: $1.00/each [Dollar Tree]
  • 8 place settings silverware set $11.00 [Family Dollar]
  • 120″ long white linen table cloth $20.00 [Tj Maxx]
  • Extra large white paper napkins: $4.00 [Target]
  • Gold & white twine $4.00 [Target]
  • Wooden leaf: $2.50 [Target]
  • Gold paper dessert plates: $3.00 [Target]
  • Kids colorable table cloth: $4.00 [Target]
  • 4 felt leafs for kids table: $0.40 [Michaels]
  • Coloring books and crayons: $5.00 [Michaels]

Total: $93.90

Yes. You’re reading that right. I bought everything I needed to throw a dinner party for less than $100. That’s a win in my book. 


Happy hosting! What are your favorite money-saving ideas? 

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