If you're looking for another great way to entertain on the cheap, I've stumbled across a terrific idea recently. It's called a progressive party. The party starts at the first host's house, where appetizers are served. The guests remain there for about an hour, enjoying their appetizers and drinks, and then it's on to the next house for the main course. When everyone is finished, and has had a chance to digest a bit and chat, it's on to the final house for dessert and after-dinner drinks. You might want to select a holiday theme for your party, or focus on cuisine from a certain country.
The beauty of this type of party is that you are only responsible for one part of the meal, so it's less expensive than serving all three courses. There's a lot less work involved, too. It also keeps it exciting for the partygoers to have three different environments throughout the evening. The bad news is, you still have to clean your house, even though the guests will only be there for a little while!
To make this a little more environmentally friendly by not using a lot of gas to go from house to house, make sure everybody carpools in the most fuel-efficient car owned by the group. Or to keep it even greener, this type of party could be organized among residents of the same apartment building, mobile home park, or neighborhood where the houses were close enough together to walk.
Just a few tips to help your party go off without a hitch. If alcohol is being served at the hosts' houses, you will want to appoint a designated driver at each stop. The guests could take turns, so each gets to have a drink at at least one house. Of course this will not be a problem if you are walking between houses. You'll also want to have everyone RSVP so each host knows how many people to expect. Keep the guest list small, since not every home has space enough to seat a large number of people. Finally, make sure you have directions to any house where the host will not be with you in the car! This should prevent aimless rambling with tummies rumbling!
I hope you all give this a try. I would love to hear how your parties work out. Bon Appetit!