Get ready to eat, drink, and be merry on a dime.

By Kait Hanson
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There are three basic elements to a successful holiday cocktail party — food, drinks, and decor. But the thought of dishing out extra cash, especially at the holidays, might be turning you into The Grinch. Good news: A holiday party does not have to cost a fortune. Here is a menu that impresses, without breaking the bank, and a guide to hosting a memorable holiday fête.

Aunt Sue’s® Raw Honey

Step #1: Keep the food simple.

A classic charcuterie board is not only a delicious appetizer, it's a feast for the eyes and creates a conversational party piece. It allows guests to grab a bite and mingle, without trying to juggle a ton of plates. Charcuterie also helps minimize the chances of guests spilling food and staining your couch. Just make sure to have party picks ($3.22, walmart.com) and cocktail napkins ($3, target.com) at the ready!

Rest assured, while cheese board styling might be a hot trend for 2019, it isn't something relegated only to the pros. By using complementary components (think: sweet, savory, and salty), as well as simple accoutrements, an impressive — and affordable — charcuterie board can come together in a snap.

How to Build an Inexpensive Charcuterie Board

Start with cheese selections, and try to choose a mild option, like aged cheddar ($3.48, walmart.com), as well as a soft cheese, like goat ($5.73, walmart.com) or mozzarella ($2.97, walmart.com).

An optional addition would be mini semi-soft cheese wheels ($5.84, walmart.com) that can easily be made into shapes using tiny cookie cutters, or simply cut in half to form semi-circles.

Next, choose two or three meat options, like pepperoni ($3.97, walmart.com), dry salami ($4.73, walmart.com), or prosciutto ($6.88, walmart.com).

Then, add a savory component like olives stuffed with feta ($3.98, walmart.com) or mixed nuts ($2, walmart.com) and a sweet detail like dried apricots ($2.98, walmart.com). Fresh fruit, like grapes ($1.72) and sliced pears ($.96/each, walmart.com) work well, too.

Finish your masterpiece with a gourmet cracker selection ($3.48, walmart.com), and arrange it on a stylish board.

While a charcuterie board hits every palate point, adding a side tray of something to satiate a sweet tooth — like brownie bites ($3.98, walmart.com) — is an easy way to finish off a welcoming spread.

Ken Burkhart

Step #2: Don't over-do the drinks.

No need to pull out the entire liquor cabinet. Pick a holiday cocktail recipe or whip up a seasonal punch that only requires a couple ingredients. We like Poinsettias, which is one part champagne ($7.99, target.com) with a splash of cranberry juice ($1.69, target.com).

Alternately, having a bottle of wine ($5, target.com) on hand can help alleviate any bartending-induced stress. Just make sure to pick up a couple different varietals — one red and one white is a good place to start — to appeal to most palates.

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Step #3: Set the mood.

Hosting a holiday party at home means that most of the decor-related heavy lifting is already finished.

Twinkling lights provide the perfect party backdrop, but if the table spread looks sparse, consider an arrangement of seasonal flowers ($4.87, walmart.com) or a holiday-scented candle ($6.99, target.com) to dress it up.

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