Opening your home and creating a place at your table for friends and family might sound like an expensive endeavor, but with some key ingredients, and a pinch of creativity, you can create a memorable holiday feast on a tight budget. Jasmine Baker from The Love of Food & All That Jas tells us how!

There is nothing I love more than family and friends gathering around the dinner table for the holidays. As I get a bit older, and dare I say wiser, I’ve learned that being together is the best gift of all. I used to spend days shopping, preparing and cooking. I’d make dishes for each individual’s dietary requirements. While they left with full tummies and hearts, it was at a big expense, a big investment in time, energy and money, and a ton of food wasted. So, this year I’m looking at ways to simplify. Here are a few tips for cost effective entertaining:

Cheese, Please!

Cheese is a crowd pleaser, but it can get really pricey. A great work around is Baked Brie. Grab a $6 wheel of President’s Choice Double Cream Brie, add it to a similar sized round oven-safe dish, cover it with the berry jam of your choosing (I like Bonne Maman Black Current), add some thinly sliced jalapeño (sans seeds) and bake at 350 C for 20 minutes. Add a few crackers and you’re ready to roll!

Vegetables Are King.

Some people don’t eat meat, some don’t eat fish but EVERYONE eats vegetables! Instead of doing a Roast Turkey or Roast Beef why not try a Roasted Squash or Mushroom Risotto? Hearty, indulgent, stupid simple to make AND it’s also gluten free!

Cheers to Savings!

Mocktails and cocktails are a lovely addition to any party but again simple is best. I love sparkling water or sparkling wine with a few frozen cranberries and perhaps a clementine. The frozen cranberries help keep your drink cool, adding flavor as it melts and the orange slices complement the overall flavor and add a bit more refreshment.

Thyme for Something Pretty.

I love using fresh herbs to bring out the best in my dishes and for decorating the table. $15 of fresh herbs from the farmers market on Saturday gives me enough to decorate. Just pop a small bunch of sage, thyme or rosemary in a bud vase or tie a sprig to your place card and you’ve got gorgeous scented décor to complement whatever you’re serving.

I hope these tips help you keep things simple and cost effective this holiday season. Remember, it’s the time spent together that really matters. Happy holidays!

Photography by Rachel Simpson


If you’re working hard to stay on track during the holiday season download Green & Gold: A Holiday Guide from Paper & Coin. It’s full of helpful tips on self-care, boundaries, hosting and budgeting during this busy time of year. We’ve got your back!

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