How To Save Money On Your Christmas Handaan This Year

Use these tips to make your Noche Buena delicious but budget-friendly.

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The ideal way to save money for your Christmas handaan is to do it all yourself. From the appetizers through the main course all the way to dessert, buying ingredients is more affordable option. 

However, the reality is that not everyone has the luxury or the time to do it all themselves. Even with a little help, the meal for noche buena can be the most stressful time you will spend in the kitchen. Thankfully, there are ways to make it less stressful while making it delicious and budget-friendly without sacrificing your sanity on what should be a joyous occasion. 

Here are money-saving tips for this year's Christmas handaan:


1 Stick to a simple but flavorful menu. 

No Christmas dinner needs to be a 10-course meal to be fabulous. A 5-course or even a 3-course meal can be just as delicious and satisfying, too, especially if these are all stand-out dishes that will showcase your skill as a cook. 

Capitalize on the recipes you cook that everyone loves and do it right. Don't scrimp on the ingredients and instead use the best quality you can afford to make it taste better than usual. 


Photo by Dairy Darilag
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2 Roast pork or a chicken.  

Ham may be the popular centerpiece for the Christmas table but you can make do with another kind of main dish. We say why not make an easy roast pork or even a roast chicken instead? Both options are delicious and economical options for the more expensive ham. 

There's no need to stress yourself and try to make a galantina or chicken relleno. Instead, make a simple roast chicken that hides the perfect side dish inside or simmer it in coconut milk for an Asian twist. What's fantastic about roast chicken is that it's easy to cook if you have an oven, air fryer, or even a turbo broiler, and when done right, the resulting bird is just as hearty as a ham would be. 

A crispy roast pork is even easier than a roast chicken since there is no need to do much other than brine the pork so it becomes juicy and flavorful inside and outside. All you have do is roast it. 



Photo by Pixabay/bluebudgie

3 Buy big then use it many times. 

Buying in bulk was never as useful as when you need to feed more than the usual number of people. If you're feeding more than just your family this Christmas, expect to buy more ingredients for this occasion. That means you have the leave to buy the big can or even pay a visit to the food service area of your local supermarket where the really big cans, packets, and other bulk items of food will be available. 


These are all bargain deals, but to maximize this money-saving buy, you have to use it for more than just one dish. You may not need all the mushrooms for the chicken pastel you are making but you can use any remaining mushrooms to make a cream of mushroom soup or even a chunky soup that has those mushrooms. 

Learning to use an ingredient many times is the key to buying in bulk and making it as economical of a purchase as possible.  

Photo by Majoy Siason

4 Make a simple dessert with a unique twist. 

Whether you're serving a simple mango float or a sans rival made from scratch, giving it a twist can make it more delicious and appetizing. Remember: it's not about the dessert itself but how special you can make it! 

How about making leche flan that are flavored or topped with a creamy layer of ube halaya? Why not use kapeng barako for your next sans rival? Why not decorate your next cake like a pro and make a naked carrot cake or use pastillas to make a milky cake topped with white chocolate trees that will wow your guests? You can even make a simple fruit salad but instead of using all-purpose cream, you use cream cheese.  

Photo by Shutterstock

5 Splurge on the one dish you cannot make well. 

Go ahead and buy that one dish that you cannot make or are too intimidated to even try for such a special occasion.

Since you're already saving with the other dishes on the menu, you can splurge on one special dish that will make your life in the kitchen easier. Maybe it's that baked salmon ala Conti's that you crave at every celebration or that super decadent and creamy sans rival cake that is sugar-free. Use this option wisely, so you can still have a wonderful Christmas dinner with your favorite food that is still within budget. 



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here


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