A person hold a Christmas gift.

Stay in budget

How to entertain, decorate and buy gifts for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, and Christmas

Don’t put aside your traditions and follow these useful tips to end the year positively.

Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas Dinner, and Christmas Eve are just around the corner. Although our number of guests will be drastically reduced for security reasons, that does not mean that you should put aside your traditions. We are aware that 2020 has been a year full of challenges for our physical and mental health and financially, so it is likely that our budget will be lower than in previous years. However, a lower budget does not mean poor quality; on the contrary, it motivates you to look for other ways to cover everything you want to do.

Decorating expert Imary Belandria, Gift Guide expert Anabelle Blum, and MasterChef Latino 2019 winner, Food from the Heart founder and author Lauren Arboleda, shared with HOLA! USA, useful tips to end the year positively, as a family, and creating memorable moments.

Imary Belandria

The events and spaces stylist, entrepreneur, and creative director of My Papilot uses the end-of-the-year festivities to connect with her loved ones. Thanks to her great skill in decoration, she can create a festive and unique atmosphere, always taking care of her pocket, regardless of the event’s size.

These are her tips for decorating with inexpensive materials or with what we already have at home.

Decorate keeping your traditions

A manger with a modern twist.©@mypapilot
Set up a pesebre (manger), either under the tree or on a table next to the tree.

Try not to make fancy decorations and go for something simple but beautiful. Set up a pesebre (manger), either under the tree or on a table next to the tree. If you have been collecting the pieces through the years, use them, and find a way to place the figurines differently and creatively. If you don’t have the traditional nativity scene, at Fiestas Amazon, an Amazon.com curated page that celebrates Latino traditions for the holidays; you can find a great variety according to your budget.

Create an inspiration board

Holiday decor mood board.©@mypapilot
When you create a board, you can have a clear vision of what will work and what you need.

When you create a board, you can have a clear vision of what will work and what you need. If you want this year’s decoration to reflect peace and calm, opt for neutral colors such as white, gray, or beige; if, on the contrary, you want your home to look vibrant, use the traditional colors of the holiday you are celebrating.

Reuse the boxes of your online purchases

Box wrapped with festive wrapping paper.©Photo by Samuel Holt on Unsplash
Wrap your boxes with festive wrapping paper and place them under the tree for decoration.

Reusing the boxes from our online purchases is an excellent idea, especially when we buy gifts that have irregular shapes. You can also line these boxes with festive wrapping paper and place them under the tree for decoration.

Anabelle Blum

The television and radio host, content creator, mother, wife, and businesswoman is considered an expert on gift guides. According to Blum, to successfully pamper those you love the most, the organization is vital. This year’s advice focuses on practical and useful gifts for the time we live in and gifts that can be used by more than one person to keep the budget low.

Television and radio host, content creator, mother, wife, and businesswoman, Anabelle Blum©Amazon
Practical and useful gifts for the time we live in!

These are her tips for buying practical and useful gifts while taking care of our pockets.

Plan and give smiles

Planner with pen, flowers and a candle.©Photo by Noemí Jiménez on Unsplash
Write down the number of people you want to give a gift and calculate your budget.

Take pen and paper and write down the number of people you want to give a gift to. Write down the price range and calculate the budget. Remember that we cannot start buying without a budget since you are exposed to overbuying. Avoid purchase little by little and respect the amount of money you already had.

Buy in your language

Fiestas Amazon for the Latinx community©$credits

Thanks to Amazon, the Latinx community will be able to shop in Spanish. On amazon.com/fiestasamazon, you can find personalized sections with recommendations in the categories of Gifts, Home & Yard, Fashion & Beauty, Kitchen, Amazon Devices, Prime Video, and more.

Buy from home

For Hispanics, traditions and family time have a lot of value, and since you will no longer have to travel and stand in long lines to buy gifts, you can subscribe for free to Amazon Prime for 30 days, and while you wait for your packages to arrive, you could spend more time with your loved ones.

Lauren Arboleda

The winner of MasterChef Latino 2019 and founder of Food from the Heart wants to encourage us to cook more, and above all, healthier,]. For Arboleda, cooking means putting our heart in the kitchen. With her tips, the expert will teach us to select the best organic ingredients, merge the art of food with our five senses, and have a conscious and loving relationship with food.

These are Lauren Arboleda’s cooking tricks for the holidays

Cooking with information

Lauren Arboleda cooking book©@foodfromtheheart
Cook with a guide with nutritional information

When we cook with a guide that contains nutritional information and organic or lower fat products, we can still obtain the traditional Latin flavors we love.

Use kitchen tools that minimize your time and help reduce calories

MasterChef Latino Lauren Arboleda making coffee with a hand mixer©$credits

Whether you‘re using an air fryer or using a multi-function toaster oven, you must have efficient tools. This way, you will not only save time when cooking, but you will also eliminate or reduce the amount of oil that you usually use when making tostones, empanadas, French fries, chicken, arepas, etc. On Amazon, you can find products such as multi-purpose hand mixers with various speeds. It serves as a milk frother, egg beater, to puree baby food, smoothies, sauces, and soups. There is simply no need to have a house full of gadgets.

Substitute ingredients

If you have the base of your dish, you can start substituting for healthier ingredients.

Bonus tip from HOLA! USA

Orange Chicken with white rice.©Panda Express
Organize a small “Friendsgiving” with four or five friends and order food for delivery.

If you don’t want to cook or cooking is not your thing, you can organize a small “Friendsgiving” with four or five friends and order food for delivery. Panda Express has options for every type of palate. For the friend who loves spicy food, you can order the Beijing Beef; for the friend who loves sweets, the crunchy strips of chicken breast, green beans, sesame, and yellow peppers bathed in a honey sauce is the perfect combination. For the friend who’s always on a diet, the Black Pepper Angus Steak is perfect to keep calories in check, and if you have a friend who eats everything you put in front of them, you can try the many people’s favorite, the Orange Chicken. Crispy chicken wok-tossed in a sweet and spicy orange sauce.