The Best Holiday Event Decor and Entertainment for Any Budget


Event hosts and guests have increased their standards for additional touches that can elevate the private dining and event experience, and the holiday season has proven to be no exception. They’re looking to venues for more than just a cocktail party or a sit-down dinner. This can come into play through the entertainment portion and also through different decor elements. We’ve pulled together some ideas that can fit every budget.

On a shoestring budget

Flowers don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you locate the wholesale flower area in your city or town and spend a little time there, you can walk away with some beautiful flowers for some do-it-yourself arrangements to fit any theme. The key is to stick to a simple color palette or even a single color. Don’t be afraid to bring in some more playful elements like pepper plants that make a beautiful centerpiece.

Another fun and virtually free idea is ice cubes with edible or flavor-enhancing holiday elements frozen in the middle. These can be both decorative and delicious and the possibilities are endless. Some ideas to spruce up holiday water (or libations): cranberries, figs, strawberries and basil, rosemary, mint, pomegranate seeds, and so much more!

Candles (real or LED depending on what the rules are in your venue) are an easy way to add warmth to any space. Candles can be used in a multitude of ways beyond the traditional tabletop setting. Large pillar candles can be used as room dividers or to frame out a dance floor (LED recommended!). Candles inside white paper bags are simple, wintry, and an elegant way to light up a room. There are a number of fun winter elements that can be added to a cylinder vase, like cranberries and evergreen branches, along with a topiary candle. Or fill the vase with water and top it with a beautiful floating candle.

Mid-range ideas

Investing in a cool bar cart to use during the event season can add a fun “Mad Men” vibe, and you can stock it with signature cocktails. Guests of the event can play bartender and mix their own with a festive menu or blackboard with instructions. We love the look of the instructions written directly on kraft paper to cover the table if a bar cart isn’t an option for you. Mimosa bar, mojito bar, hot toddy station, or an old-fashioned theme are a few ideas you can use to get started.

Balloon canopies and balloon-filled ceilings can add whimsy, color, and fun to a stark space without breaking the budget. You don’t have to stick to red and green balloons — try metallics or white and blue to create a festive winter theme.

Make your own … fill in the blank! Guests love having control of some portion of the event and it is also an activity and decor in one. The displays can be beautiful with fun instructional elements like light up signs or chalk signs. Try holiday food themes, such as a hot chocolate bar, crepe making station, candy cane decoration, or cupcake designs.

Unlimited budget

Break out the snow machine and get ready to transform your space into a wonderful winter wonderland. This is a great option for any party, but especially in warmer areas that don’t get a lot of snow — give them the feeling of winter without having to travel north!

Photo booths have been around and popular for a while but they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Guests love a memento of a fun night. Instead of an actual booth, creating a holiday background and providing compatible props is an easy way to get people into the spirit. If your budget really is no option, renting an inflatable snow globe that puts your guests at the center of their very own winter scene is a memorable souvenir.

It’s a good idea to build a Rolodex of actual entertainers, which might sound overdone and outdated, but still stand the test of time as excellent event fun. Having a magician or tarot reader setting up shop during a party can be a great way to get conversations flowing. A quiz or trivia company can really liven up a holiday party and give guests the opportunity to bond over common random knowledge. We did this at Tripleseat for our holiday party last year and it was a blast!

Holiday creativity = more revenue
The holiday season is so busy that it can be hard to find the time to be creative and come up with innovative ideas for your guests. Creating a menu of decor and entertainment options at the beginning of the season can be a great way to save time and set yourself up for holiday success! Differentiating yourself from the rest of the competition is a great way to ensure repeat business.

Don’t stop with decor and entertainment. Check out our holiday tips blog posts on increasing leads, marketing tips, food and beverage trends, and more!