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Holiday Entertaining on the Cheap

Brunches, potlucks are frugal ways to be festive

The cost of holiday entertaining can really add up—from having a festive dinner with friends to hosting the office holiday party. A New Year's Eve extravaganza can also be an expensive gathering.

I'm not convinced that how much we spend on entertaining—at the holidays or otherwise—always translates into how much fun we have or the quality of the memories we share. Sometimes simpler is better.

Given the current economic times, my wife and I are proposing potlucks and "progressive dinners" (where everyone hosts the group for just a single course of the meal) this year, so that a single household doesn't have to shoulder the whole financial burden.

We've also decided to have a New Year's Day brunches rather than the New Year's Eve parties we've thrown for years. Breakfast foods are generally less expensive fare and people won't expect alcohol to be served.

So this holiday season try out some new economically minded holiday-entertaining traditions. Some friends of ours held their first old-fashioned caroling party for the neighborhood last year—in lieu of the costly cocktail party they'd hosted for years. We all agreed that we had a blast, even though none of us got "blasted" on eggnog.

Have fun, but keep it frugal!

Jeff Yeager is the author of the book, "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches." His Web site is www.UltimateCheapskate.com.

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