7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

Preparing a successful Christmas dinner can be pulled off on a budget.

It doesn't take a fortune to set up a multiple-dish meal that can get your dinner guests full and leave them satisfied.

RELATED: Stuffing vs. dressing: Is there really a difference?

Create a budget.

Form your budget for the dinner ahead of time and keep in mind how many guests you will be feeding. This will help you stick to your desired amount of spending while making sure that everyone leaves full. When crafting the budget, make sure that each product you will need is also listed out so that everything necessary for your dishes is accounted for.

Shop ahead of time.

Seek out deals at your local grocery stores in advance. Checking for coupons on products you will be using, and looking for deals on meats can come in handy for when it comes time to buy. In the meantime, you can store the goods in the freezer or cabinets until you are ready to use them.

Use minimal ingredients.

Cooking quality turkey can be achieved on a budget by simplifying the ingredients used to fix the bird. Grab bay leaves, lemon slices, small cloves and cinnamon sticks to cook a Bay and Lemon Brined Turkey. The Food Network recipe is easy to prepare and will serve around 15 people. Set aside time in advance for the turkey, because it will take almost 12 hours to cook it.

Make your own cranberry sauce.

What's a Christmas dinner without cranberry sauce? Skip buying the canned sauce in the store and make it at home to have a tasty dish that's affordable. You only need one pound of cranberries, apple juice and sugar to make this dish in 25 minutes. The finished result will feature chunks of cranberries in the sauce.

RELATED: 7 ideas for hosting the perfect Friendsgiving

Turn the dinner into a potluck.

Have your guests pitch in and bring their own dishes to the dinner to help contribute to a well-rounded meal. If they ask what to bring, fill in the gaps on the menu by letting them know what is needed. An efficient holiday potluck would have enough main dishes, sides and desserts to go around. The more the merrier.

Craft DIY Christmas decor.

Showcase the holiday spirit by making your own dining room table centerpieces and decorative accents. Use affordable garland around the house, like on the banisters and door frames, to help set the Christmas mood. Make a sweet centerpiece by filling a clear glass vase you might already own with seasonal candies, such as peppermints and Hershey's kisses. Repurpose extra ornaments as a decorative piece by filling them in a festive bowl. Decking the halls can be achieved on a budget.

Trick the eye with smaller plates.

Serving food on slightly tinier dishes is an old trick that can fool the eye into thinking that there's more food on it than there really is. Use this optical illusion in your favor when picking out dishes for the occasion.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone
Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone

A Vietnam War veteran has become a fixture for music lovers in his Louisiana town. Donald Givens plays saxophone for several hours daily in his gazebo at his Monroe residence. His yard is located near the corner of two overpasses and commuters can listen to his daily jam sessions, the News-Star reported. Strangers pull up to his home and ask Givens...
Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas
Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas

A guitar owned by rock ’n’ roll legend Eddie Van Halen worth more than $100,000 was recovered Friday, hours after it was stolen from a Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, KSAT reported. The guitar, nicknamed “Frankenstrat,” had been reported stolen around 1 a.m. Friday. It was returned later in the day, but it is unclear how...
Sugarland confirms reunion and plans for new music
Sugarland confirms reunion and plans for new music

Concert review: Randy Newman spikes Atlanta show with humor and heart
Concert review: Randy Newman spikes Atlanta show with humor and heart

The setting was perfect. A guy who only needs his piano and the sharp, sardonic voice in his head sat at the keyboard of his ebony grand piano, unfurling his 1979 album opener, “It’s Money That I Love.” Randy Newman played two sets of songs from his 40-year career. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC Solid-color lighting shaded...
Author Events Nov. 19-25
Author Events Nov. 19-25

Rafi Kohan, “The Arena” and Gary Belsky, “Up Your Game.” In a fascinating, addictive look at the places we go to yell our lungs out, Sportswriter Kohan crisscrosses the country, bringing the modern American sports stadium to life. Belsky, the former editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, offers the ultimate sports handbook: a...
More Stories