Forget the big meal
Potlucks or simple buffets are certainly less expensive than sit-down, seven-course dinners. Pare it down even further by hosting a brunch, dessert or cocktail party.
For a cocktail party, offer a holiday punch or signature drink to control the costs of buying different types of liquor. Browse the Web for interesting holiday drink ideas -- such as candy cane martinis, Correale says.
If a New Year's Eve party calls for champagne, opt for a champagne cocktail instead, says Allison Julius, co-owner of Maison 24, a home decor and accessories retailer based in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Put a few fresh pomegranate seeds in a champagne flute followed by pomegranate juice. Then, fill with champagne.
"The red-tinted drinks look festive and will stretch out the number of servings you get from each bottle of champagne," Julius says.