A holiday party doesn’t have to be hard work, nor does it have to cost the earth. It’s a cinch to transform seasonal leftovers into easy hors d’oeuvres. Even easier is it to add a festive signature cocktail to the drinks served and bring out last year’s Santa-inspired decorations and you have all the elements for a memorable, merry night. With the help of  self-described Lazy Hostess Babe Scott, here are 5 IDEAL tips for hosting a stress-free soiree on a Scrooge budget.

CHRISTMAS COCKTAILS

We all know that the best way to kick off a Santa-inspired shindig is with a festive cocktail. If we’re not met with one when we enter a party, we simply turn on our heels off back into the night. Serve a delicious red or green libation like a Cosmopolitan or an Apple Martini for festive colours and fantastic flavour.

Another easy option is Babe Scott’s “Bad Santa” cocktail. Simply mix a half an ounce of Midori with 2 ounces of vodka, half an ounce of fresh lime juice and garnish with a candy cane and maybe even some red sugar around the rim. This libation will put even the Grinch in a good mood. If cocktails are a bit out of your budget, then you can’t go wrong with a holiday punch packed with festive flavours. Make sure you get friends to bring extra booze and add as the night goes on; a boozy work in progress, if you will.

DRESS THE PART

Asking your guests to dress up in the Christmas spirit is a sure way to crank up the fun factor. For those suffering from fancy dress allergies (you know who you are!), simply wear red or green. Those who jump at the chance to get silly can go all out and dress up as Santa helpers or impish elves. This dress code will ensure your party is as colorful as a Christmas tree – a particularly gaudy one at that. These theme will also equate to great photos for Facebook, Insta et all, and especially  your wall of infamy later. Give a prize for the best outfit; as simple as a kiss from the host, or the promise of a framed photograph of the winners in their Christmas regalia.

FESTIVE DECORATIONS

Create a Christmassy atmosphere with splashes of red, green and sparkle all over the house. Cover your sofa in red fabric and hang last year’s Christmas decorations from the ceiling. Or, garland the walls with Christmas lights; the more, the better during this season. One cheap and chic idea is to replace your light covers with Chinese paper lanterns in red or green, or use red light bulbs for that extra atmospheric touch. Be careful to exercise caution with the amber glow though, unless you want to evoke an amorous ambience, that is.

REGIFT OLD GIFTS

Ask your friends to bring a present to regift. This way all your guests will receive something from Santa at no cost or loss of sentimental value. These often-scary present selections are great conversation starters and the exchange will give everyone a chance to share their family histories and funny stories. And, everyone likes a surprise present – even the swirls of leftover giftwrapping will add to atmosphere.

USE LEFTOVERS

Repurpose as many leftovers as you can to create easy Christmas hors d’oeuvre ideas such as turkey and cranberry crostinis, ham and cheese in puff pastry, and pumpkin dip. Create a “trailer trash mix” of any leftover snacks all mixed together in one big, lucky dip bowl. It’s nice to end on a hint of sweet, so make a red velvet cake topped with white frosting. Add red sprinkles to your tiny treats and put them in Christmas themed wrappers for a festive touch. Trust me, these cutesy cupcakes will disappear as fast as Rudolph on Ritalin. The only other things you need for a sizzling evening is a celebratory playlist and a sense of humor. If you follow these tips, you are guaranteed a great night.