Entertaining during the Christmas season can be fun, exciting and…expensive. The budget can easily be broken by extra goodies to bake and (the big one) presents!
I love to GIVE! It’s exciting to see the joy on a child’s face when you say “I have something special for you”. However, I come from a large, mixed family. Entertaining only my siblings’ immediate families means I’m hosting 25 people at a minimum. So I’ve had to get creative with the budget.
There was a time when I happily broke the budget to get everyone “at least a little something” — racking up debt. Since then I’ve learned that while God calls us to be giving, He also calls us to be responsible with what we’ve been given. I don’t believe God wants us to go into debt giving trinkets at Christmas time.
So, in an effort to honor what God has given us, and my husband who works so hard, I’ve implemented some budget friendly rules for when we entertain like:
- Guests contribute (whether it’s a dish, paper products or a bottle of soda)
- No store bought decorations
- No party favors
- GAMES instead of gifts
The last one is my favorite! Not only because it saves a ton of money, but because it builds so many memories. And that’s what the holidays should be about. Children will likely forget that little trinket you bought them; but they will remember the warm, loving, fun time they had.
My favorite budget friendly Christmas game is Yankee Trader. This game is also known as White Elephant…but we’re below the Mason-Dixon, so around here it’s Yankee Trader.
How To Play
- Every guest brings a wrapped gift (we set a dollar limit)
- Gifts are randomly placed under the tree (or designated spot)
- Every guest draws a number
- Player 1 picks and unwraps a gift
- Players 2 and up have the option of choosing a gift from the pile or “stealing” a gift from any previous player
- If someone has their gift stolen, they either steal another gift (not the one taken from them in that turn) or unwrap another gift
- This continues (with hilarity) until every player has had their turn
- Items may only be stolen 3 (or set your own number) times – this cuts down on gifts going back and forth between two people for “hours”
In order to play Yankee Trader, guests must know to bring a gift ahead of time. You may want to buy a few extra, inexpensive gifts to have on hand in case someone forgets. This game might be a little upsetting for young children who don’t like to have their gift “stolen”, or if there are only adult gifts. Encourage guests to bring fun, goofy gifts kids will enjoy. Have fun, Yankee Trader always brings a TON of laughs and happy memories to our gatherings!
Do you play games at your Christmas parties? What’s your favorite?