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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.
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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 almost 3 frozen Turkeys from NTUC Fairprice.

Cost Comparison Based on Type of Turkey Purchased

Turkey TypeTurkey ProductCost
Ready-to-Eat Gourmet TurkeyONE°15 Marina, Sentosa Cove Whole Roasted Turkey (6kg)
  • Regular price: S$158
  • Member Special: S$128
Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Whole Roasted Turkey (4.5-5kg)
  • S$225 - S$240
Intercontinental Singapore Traditional Roasted Turkey (5kg)
  • Until 22 Dec 2023: S$180.60
  • After 22 Dec 2023: S$258
Raw, Uncooked TurkeyCold Storage Frozen Whole Turkey (3.5-4.5kg)
  • Sale Price: S$29.90
  • Regular Retail Price: S$70.60
NTUC Fairprice Turkey Valley Farms Whole Turkey (4kg)
  • S$87.90
Prices are accurate as of 21 Dec 2023 and are subject to change

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.

Related: Best Credit Cards in Singapore 2023

potluck christmas
Source: Pexels

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

Snack ItemValuDollarCold StorageNTUC Fairprice
Lay Stax Potato Chips (135g)S$1.95S$3.10S$2.68
Oreos (133g)S$1.05S$1.75gS$1.70
Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate (180g)S$2.50S$6.60S$4.80
ValuDollar prices retrieved from foodpanda. Prices accurate as of 21 Dec 2023 and are subject to change

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. While these savings may seem small in isolation, when buying enough to feed a large dinner party, these small cost differences can add up to be significant savings.

Related: 2 Easy Ways to Save On Your Daily Groceries and Essentials

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.

Make the most out of your festive spending by earning rewards with the right credit cards. Check out our round up of the best credit cards for online shopping and groceries in Singapore to find the credit card that best suits your needs today.

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