Party Entertaining with Party Finger Foods

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The holiday season is fast approaching and even though the recession may soon end, people are still a bit cost-conscious in regards to party entertaining.  When it comes to holiday party ideas and cocktail parties, people still desire the highest return on their investment even if it is a cocktail party where you are serving party finger foods.  As I explain in my book Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget, you can throw inexpensive yet elegant cocktail parties quickly and easily.  Here are a few menu suggestions and event décor tips to help you be the host or hostess with the biggest bang for your buck.

Theme – Everything That is Old is New Again

Party Entertaining and Event Décor

• Host an open house and monitor your invitation list
• Re-use your table linen from previous cocktail parties but add a decorative overlay or table runner
• Purchase candles.  They are inexpensive event décor that create ambiance and set the holiday mood.  Holiday party ideas using candles include colored pillar candles and votives, hurricanes wrapped with natural greens such as holly, pine or flowers such as red roses or white hydrangeas.
• Substitute your iPod for a DJ or Band
• Buy seasonal greens and fresh flowers at the market and create your own centerpieces or place loose greens and flowers on your buffet as accent pieces. 
• Cluster groupings of flowers on your dinner table instead of buying vases.

Here is a great event décor tip combining ambiance and style for your holiday table.

• Obtain tall glass containers either square or cylinder shaped and then take one stem of a flower such as a cymbidium orchid or a grouping of roses or tulips and submerge them in water. 
• Place the rocks, crystals or glass stones on the bottom of the container and stick the stem or grouping of flowers in these stones to hold the flowers down on the bottom of the container.  You can also mix in lighted plastic neon ice cubes and hold them down as well using the stones as an anchor. 
• Add the water and the floating candle and there you have a submerged arrangement using candles.

Party Entertaining with Party Finger Foods and a Holiday Specialty Drink

One of the many holiday party ideas you can use to help you maintain your budget when giving cocktail parties is to include an anti-pasta buffet as part of your menu.  Anti-pasta stations are a great way to serve a lot of people inexpensively.  Cheeses, dried fruits, crostini and breadsticks, canapés, cured meats, dips and bite-size desserts are party finger foods that are easily obtainable at any market and are fast and effortless to prepare and display.  Have small plastic plates and cocktail napkins on the buffet to prevent those with eyes wider than their stomachs from taking more than they will eat at these cocktail parties. If it is a nighttime affair, serve a holiday alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty drink along with wine, beer, sodas and waters to avoid serving a full-bar.

Below is a sample menu with food suggestions that are easy to prepare.  Budget Bash has many of the recipes for the food selections listed below.

Party Finger Foods Menu with a Holiday Specialty Drink

Brie and Pear Quesadillas
Flour Tortillas filled with Freshly Sliced Pear and Brie Cheese

Array of Imported European Cheeses
Artichoke Bruschetta
Olive Tapenade
Dried Dates and Cranberries
 With a selection of Whole Wheat Pita, Vegetable Chips and Sourdough Toasts

Mini-Turkey Sandwiches
Accompanied with Cranberry Chutney Relish

Roast Beef Canapés Topped with Horseradish Crème Fresh
Served on Thinly Sliced Toasts

Cucumber Cups
Hollowed out Cucumber Rolls filled with Salmon Mousse

Dessert
Carrot Cake Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Espresso Brownies
Maple Pecan Cookies

Holiday Specialty Drink
Peppermint-tini

Finally, you may want to consider with your party entertaining an inexpensive party favor for your friends to take with them when they leave such as a small organza bag with a pine-scented candle, a sachet filled with dried holiday spices or quite simply a card letting them know in honor of their presence you have made a donation to a local charity.

So just keep in mind this upcoming party entertaining that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to entertain when considering your holiday party ideas.  You can host cocktail parties that include simple yet stylish event décor and low-cost but tasty party finger foods and impress your friends and family with your entertaining savvy.  Remember the Budget Bash mantra; make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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