Let me tell you about one of the worst holiday parties I ever went to. There was no food. Nothing! No food except for this one wheel of unremarkable gouda I know for a fact the host had just picked up on sale at the store down the street because I’d just seen piles of it there on my way over. That and some really dumb crackers. And let me tell you, these were people who could afford to do better. People with enough money for a multiple-bedroom apartment in the West Village of Manhattan. They had a bathroom just for the cat’s house-sized kitty litter box, OK?
Anyway, it made me mad because I was hungry. And it made me mad because back then I was a penniless artist who would labor for hours in my tiny kitchen and overspend my wee budget to turn out my own fancy parties, like I was Princess Margaret and her entire staff all rolled into one over-ambitious weirdo.
But look, these are not the only two alternatives if you’re hosting a holiday party. You don’t have to be the jerk with that one block of mediocre gouda. Nor do you have to go all type-A in the kitchen trying to make All of the Magic Happen from scratch.
It takes very little skill and not that much money, either, to pull off a grown up holiday party you can be proud of. A party where people pick up bites here and they and say things like, “OMG, these are so yummy, where did you get them? Please, I must know.”
And the answer is, you got everything at Aldi. I’ve got your party shopping list right here. Now. When you see this list, it still adds up to quite a bit ($72.55 before drinks), but it’s under $100. You could totally scale it back and get just a couple things from each group, and you’ll still come close-ish to pulling off your Princess Margaret act.