Simple Tips for an Elegant, Frugal Holiday Party

Serve simple but delicious foods...

in artful and unique ways.

Serve ordinary drinks in pretty stemware

garnered from thrift shops and estate sales...

(they needn't match)...

and garnish them with extraordinary, yet simple,touches...

(such as the pomegranate seeds above).

Illuminate your party using simple,

encased votive or tea-lite candles set inside plain drinking glasses.

Let Nature be your florist...

gather pine cones and evergreens from your garden...

greens such as cedar, rosemary, pine and boxwood add

fresh and festive embellishments...

(at little or no cost).


Hello kind souls, not too long ago...

I was honored to be invited to contribute...

to an interesting article at Bankrate.com ...

they were gathering simple ways to conserve money...

and time...

while entertaining during the holidays.

Please feel free to go by and give it a read.

It offers lots of fun and fresh ideas!

To get there? Simply click on the link below!

Bankrate.com: 5 Tips for Throwing Elegant, Fun & Frugal Holiday Parties


Photos: Bankrate.com


scrappy quilter said...

Lots of neat ideas for a frugal holiday. When C and I were at a tearoom a few days ago, we were served pop in a tall glass with little balls of ice cubes. It was so neat...we thoroughly enjoyed our drink. I'm on the lookout now for some pretty and frugal priced glasses. Hugs and love.

Anonymous said...

Great post Tracey! I use different patterned stem ware all the time. At one time it was all one pattern but do to fumble fingers queen I just kept adding pretty stemware that I would find for cheap- I love the look!


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Thank you Carol! Yes, I agree, it's those little touches like the round iced cubes that make simple things seem special and festive (and cost very little in time and money). We've been collecting stemware (mismatched,usually) since our children were young...it was a fun and frugal way to dress up the table and get them to drink their milk. :)
For parties, I collect a variety of mismatched glasses and gather them all together atop a pretty tray. The tray is set near the beverage pitchers and ice bucket on the buffet table. No need for those wine glass tags because each person's glass was unique. Currently, we have a nice non-set of colored stemware pieces in blue, green, amber and pink! The girls love the pastels and the guys will (sometimes) use the amber. It makes things fun and doesn't cost a fortune.
Hugs and love to you.

Dana and Daisy said...

Hi Tracey. I'm having a small gathering of four for Thanksgiving. However, my back has been giving me problems so I am not cooking. This will not be frugal, but I'm ordering my dinner from a good restaurant which does elegant food. You might say I am being frugal with my energies to spend them on the most important thing, enjoying my guests.

Much Love, Dana

Storybook Woods said...

I agree it is the little simple touches that can make a meal, a holiday and moment special xoxox Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Mary Ellen! I'm a world class stumble fingers~~this is why this strategy works so well for me! I don't fret over broken glasses because I didn't pay more than a dollar for it (and that is my TOP price~~most are garnered for about a quarter each ;). As well, I know a replacement is merely a tag sale away!
Hugs and love,

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Oh Dana, how frustrating for you, I'm sorry to hear about your back problems. I agree with you ~~ the upside is you get to actually relax and fully enjoy the company and the meal (and no dishes!). Yes, it's probably not entirely frugal, but you're spot on about the value of time, people and health trumping the money spent. This is what I consider a true "frugal luxury"! LOL
Have a lovely holiday~~you're in my thoughts and prayers for perfect healing.
Tracey xox


Clarice, you are the queen of special touches, especially when it comes to food! One example I am thinking about is your suggestion for a dash of balsamic vinegar into the caramelized onion...so simple yet sooo DELICIOUS...but I digress!! Hope your husband's healing and things are getting back to normal for you all. Best thoughts and hugs to you!

matty said...


What a lovely table you have created! These are such wonderful ideas. They can be unique for each of us and changed up each time we have a get-together! You are the queen of loveliness and eloquence!



Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Thank you so much for the kind words Matty. I have a confession to tell you... while the ideas are mine these images are not (they're borrowed from the Bankrate.com article I contributed to)! If the pictures were mine you can pretty much be assured the photography wouldn't be that good! But I do thank you for thinking so well of me! :)
I hope to make a visit to your blog on Saturday for your VIRTUAL TEA PARTY!! That soap giveaway sounds enticing too!!
Thanks again for your good thoughts.
Tracey xo

charmaine said...

hi my sweet and lovely friend Tracey! you are just so adorable! thank you for all your lovely notes. it's always so good to hear from you. sorry i have not been up on writing you back, like you, i've been sharing this computer with two other people. so, i try my best to post as fast as i can. i just had to write you a little note this evening to let you know that your always in my prayers.

so, how is the family? you told me you were in San Diego this weekend? i know you had a blast with your family. you know what, my family and i were talking just the other day about taking a trip to San Diego some time in 2010. i haven't been since 2001. i know shame on me. but the last time we were there my family and i had a blast. we were really sold on this area called Seaport Village. i absolutely love this place. do you know where i'm talking about? i'm glad you know about San Diego. when we go, would you please give us some tips on some nice places to eat and visit?

i always enjoy your amazing tips! i will definitely be using these ideas. i agree also, mix and match is just more appealing to me. love it!

well, i'm off now. i'll be checking out this Bankrate site. also, as always i keep you and your lovely family in my prayers. i wish you a lovely and super relaxing evening my friend. keep inspiring us all with your amazing frugal luxury ideas.

God Bless,

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello my sweet Charmaine! As always, I can't thank you enough for your kind words. :) You are so right...Seaport Village is soo charming. We usually stay with my dad, up north a bit, near Carlsbad. Carlsbad is also very charming and has a very, very pretty old-town beach area that we like a lot~~it's like a cozier, smaller, version of Seaport. Lots of little shops to wander in and out of, and the light and weather are lovely but it's not as busy or crowded (usually). There are lots of delicious restaurants, but there is one, right across from the beach, that we love. It looks almost like a dive...well...not really...but it does look as if it hasn't been remodeled since 1970~~very "Ocean's 11" (the original one w/ Frank Sinatra;). The fun thing is, the food is out...of...this...world. They smoke/grill their fish and steaks over coals and soaked woods. I always order the Maui Maui (it's better than the Fish House Vera Cruz, which is amazing) and Mike said the prime rib is the best he's ever tasted. The good news is...the prices are very reasonable for the area (probably because they saved all that money by not remodeling ;). It has a cozy atmosphere and a great, warm feeling inside...very busy but not too busy. During the week, they offer "early bird specials" (dinner before six) which works for us because we are early~to~bed, early~to~rise-er's. The bad news is... I can't remember the name right now (haven't had my coffee yet). I will call Mike in a little bit and see if he remembers the exact name. We just always say, "let's go to that Seventies' Restaurant..." especially when we're hungry!!
Okay my sweet friend, I am off to enjoy (dare I say...savor??) my first cup of coffee for the day.

Also, wanted to thank you for all your good thoughts and prayers~~ such powerful gifts and very appreciated and always needed!!

Love and best thoughts from Traceyxox.

j.e.taylor said...

Dear Tracey~

I was SO excited to see that you had created this blog... it's wonderful! As a military wife, I love to simplify my library when we move. However, I will never let go of your "Frugal Luxury" books! They have been an inspiration to me for the past decade. Thank you for taking the time to posting your ideas... I look forward to sharing this blog with my friends!

With appreciation,

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Oh my goodness, Jennifer, thank you so very, very much for the wondrous compliment(s)!! I grew up in a military family so I know exactly what that means! Whenever it's time for a move books are often the first things to be discarded (sadly). That's probably why, as an adult, I OWN so(too?!) many and think of them as my friends! :) My own gentle rebellion, of sorts.

I was wondering if you had a blog? Please let us know if you do so we can visit you back!!

I'm off now to get some things done, but I can't thank you enough for the nice words and good thoughts.


P.S. Did you know we also have Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons blog...and a food blog (it's not as busy as the other two...I'm on a diet lately ;)? There are links on the sidebar here, or you can cut and paste the addresses below!



Thanks again for the wonderful note.

Pondside said...

I think that the truly elegant - the truly special is anything made with attention and love. It certainly isn't all about spending. I love those ideas!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello Pondy! I absolutely agree that the truly special, as you say, is not about spending money!! Very well put, as always.

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


Frugal Luxuries
is a registered trademark.


"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

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