Try Buffet Style for Your Holiday Party

#Holiday parties benefit from a buffet, The Shop Edit says. Not only does it allow guests to get up and move around, you can offer customizable, do-it-yourself dinner selections such as a baked potato bar, leaving meal assembly up to guests and their tastes. Once dinner is cleared, you can set up a selection of desserts and have guests repeat the process until they are sated. Drinks can be batched, too, to make them no-fuss and self-service. Add disposable dinnerware, and cleanup will practically take care of itself — but you should enlist friends and family in the effort so that you can participate in the holiday festivities. #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Clean Up Before Christmas

#Holiday entertaining should start with a #clean house. #Declutter and clean any areas of the house that need it or will see heavy duty in the days ahead, including bathroom, kitchen and floors. Then, keep the menu simple. “You don’t need every side dish or appetizer in the world,” Bread Booze Bacon says. “Choose options that pair well with the wine, cocktails or beverage you’re planning to serve and stick to the basics. If you want more options, ask your guests to bring a specific course. You can worry about cooking a little less, and nine times out of 10, they’re happy to bring something in lieu of a hostess gift.” #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Put Your Personal Stamp on a Holiday Party

The key to hosting a successful #holiday party is to plan it around the things you like, says Markets at Shrewsbury. Write down your menu and include some of your own favorites. If you’re short on time, there’s no shame in ordering some dishes or hiring house-cleaning help; you don’t want to be stuck doing chores when your guests arrive. Work backward from the date of the party to ensure you have everything you need when it kicks off. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! One of your friends or family members may have a signature recipe that’s always a hit; get them to bring it. Not everyone can be “Ina Garden or Joanna Gaines — and that’s OK!” #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Pick an Easy Plan for Your Holiday Party

The long #holiday weekend is just ahead! If you’re entertaining guests, make sure your plan suits your capabilities and time constraints. Goop suggests three versions of a relatively easy holiday party: the no-cook, wine-cheese-and-charcuterie option; an easy holiday brunch featuring bagels and toppings or baked frittatas; and a sit-down dinner that features simple, yet satisfying recipes. While the natural inclination may be to do an over-the-top feast that requires lots of kitchen time, these options will wow guests without #stressing you out, the story says: “Shortcuts maximize your ability to relax and enjoy your guests.” #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Stretching Your Holiday Dollars

With inflation worldwide hitting 40-year highs, many shoppers are looking to keep their spending in check this #holiday season. Full of festivities and gift-giving, it’s already an expensive time of year, and you may have to stretch your dollars to make it memorable.

The first thing to do is set a holiday budget, writes Kentucky State University extension specialist Joanne Bankston. Include everything you’ll need to make the holidays happen: food, gifts, decorations, travel, greeting cards and other necessities.

Make a gift list, ballparking what you want to spend on each gift. Shop early to get the best deals, and get gift receipts if they’re available. Think creatively to save: Someone on your list might like a gift card or tickets to a show instead of merchandise.

Make something to give if you can bake, sew, knit or craft. A tin of homemade cookies, a jar of preserves or a handknit scarf will be more memorable and relatively inexpensive to make. You can also give the gift of time by helping out with chores, #organizing or decorating.

If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, you can save money by asking guests to bring a dish to pass or the beverage of their choice. Better yet, assign certain menu items to specific guests to avoid duplication.

Watch out for the hidden costs of the holidays, too, says DCU. Gift wrapping can add up, so get creative with used maps or newspaper. Shipping is another line item, and energy costs can spike if you have a lot of twinkling lights. Finally, you’ll likely have the temptation to treat yourself as you shop for others. Stick to your shopping list!

For good deals on lightly used household goods, holiday decorations, clothing and other goods, visit a #thrift or #secondhand shop supplied by #donations to Not only can you save money, but you’ll also contribute to essential veterans’ programs at the most critical time of year.

However much you spend, remember that interest rates are going up. To keep from overspending, pay any credit card balances in full every month, or use cash or debit cards instead. You may find it easier to limit spending when you use cash. Happy #shopping!