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3 Easy Ways to Host Christmas Dinner on a Budget

Hosting a Christmas dinner can be quite expensive. Thankfully, there are a few ways to cut costs while entertaining your loved ones without compromising on the holiday festivity.

According to a 2018 survey by e-commerce firm Picodi, Singaporeans spend an average of S$196 every year on Christmas food. So, festive as it may be, the year-end holiday season can be quite an expensive affair, especially if you’re taking on the responsibility of hosting Christmas dinner. Fortunately, you don’t have to overspend to entertain. Here are 3 ways you can keep a lid on costs if you’re putting on a Christmas dinner spread for loved ones.

1. Skip the Gourmet Turkey

There's no need to splurge on gourmet turkeys offered by various hotels during the holiday season. Even though these turkeys are indeed fit for food connoisseurs due to their meticulous preparation methods (like overnight marinating and slow, low-temperature roasting), the price difference between a gourmet turkey and one from the supermarket can be quite significant, and may not be worth it unless you’re serving people with discerning palates. To give an example, the cost of 1 Whole Roast Turkey from Marriott Singapore Tang Plaza is enough to cover that of 3 Roasted Turkeys from Giant Supermarket.

Cost Comparison Based on Type of Turkey Purchased

Ready-to-eat and raw, uncooked turkeys from the supermarket are cost-effective alternatives to gourmet turkeys purchased from high-end hotel restaurants

While uncooked turkeys are not necessarily cheaper than ready-to-eat turkeys from the supermarket, cooking at home is still more affordable than buying a gourmet turkey. In fact, cooking at home can even feel more festive. Nonetheless, if you genuinely want to pay for the convenience and taste of gourmet turkeys, consider paying with a dining credit card. Many hotels offer discounts to various bank customers. Citibank, HSBC, OCBC, Maybank, and UOB cardmembers are entitled to a 10% discount on Festive Takeaways at Intercontinental Singapore, for example.

2. Have Everyone Bring a Dish

There is no rule in the Christmas dinner etiquette book that states the host must cook everything. Consider making your Christmas dinner a potluck and have your guests each bring a side dish. Not only will this cut down on your financial load, but it can also offer a chance to try new and exciting dishes. As the host, you can choose what your contribution will be, but typically, you'll be responsible for providing main dishes such as turkey and smoked ham. To avoid confusion (and potentially ending up with six platters of desserts on the dinner table), be sure to assign guests a specific course to bring along, like appetizers or salad. Also, to save on alcohol costs, you can ask each guest to bring their own. This way, you'll save yourself the headache of trying to accommodate every person's alcohol preferences.

3. Get Your Snacks from Value Stores

Snacks are crucial to keep your guests entertained and happy while waiting for everyone to arrive at the Christmas dinner venue. As such, you may want to set aside some money for them. You can save money by getting your snacks from budget shops, like ValuDollar.

Holiday Snacks Cost Comparison: ValuDollar v. Supermarkets

It's easy to save on snacks by shopping at discount stores rather than at popular supermarkets

Due to differences in country of production and economies of scale, these budget shops offer everyday food items at heavily discounted prices in comparison to major supermarkets. In fact, getting 3 packets of Tim Tams from ValuDollar, instead of NTUC or Cold Storage, can save you an impressive S$8.70. That’s enough to cover the cost of another 4 cans for Stax Potato Chips from the ValuDollar. Another budget shop to consider getting your snacks from is Daiso, where all items are sold at S$2.

Remember the Main Point of a Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinners are about spending time with your loved ones over a delicious meal. Fortunately, there's no need to spend more than you can afford on opulent main courses, dozens of side dishes, and excessive snacks. To earn rewards back from the holiday grocery purchases you do make in preparation, be sure to use a grocery credit card when you pay. Many of these cards offer special deals and discounts, including at supermarkets, which can offset final costs.

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