Holiday entertaining without breaking the bank

Welcome to Day 19 of the
25 Days of Ottawa Life
Christmas Calendar

We’ll be updating with a
new treat daily so be sure
to keep checking under the
OLM Tree to see what’s new.

It's that time of year again, full of holiday cocktails, parties and gatherings. For those hosting, there is always the added stress of what to serve and how to impress your guests without going over budget.

Fortunately, there are a few tips that will help you throw the ultimate gathering without emptying your wallet.

1. Check weekly flyers. You should start checking weekly flyers in the weeks leading up to your get-together so you can stock up on a variety of essentials. Grocery stores are in tune with holiday must-haves and will have sales on products throughout the season.

2. Organize your pantry. This might sound really obvious, but the pantry is one of those places in the home that most of us don't go through often enough. Many times, you find yourself having to run out at the last minute to pick up a certain spread, only to realize months later, you had stocked up on this item earlier.

3. Pay for what you eat. Did you know that fancy grocery stores with musical entertainment and extravagant displays are all frills that show up on your bill? Choose a store like No Frills, where you can pick up your turkey, produce and all the great fixings without paying for extras.

4. Do a potluck for appetizers. No, your guests won't be disappointed if you ask them to bring a dish, because everyone knows how much work goes into hosting. You can still put together the main course and dessert, but asking for a hand with the appetizers is no big deal.

5. Use a smart rewards program. A great example is the PC Plus Program, which creates personalized offers based on what you like to buy and the more you shop your offers the more points you earn on those items. These points can then be used to save money on your future grocery bill at participating stores.