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Bye, Bye Big Budget

From decanters and pens to desk essentials, Award Master can create a suite of customized corporate gift options at a variety of prices.

Parties and corporate gifts low on price, high on panache

Budget-friendly parties and gifts are the way to go whether it’s for a small office or a business giant. Good news — a tight budget doesn’t mean skimping on the good stuff and it doesn’t wreck an otherwise great evening. Just add some additional planning and a dash of creativity.

For corporate parties put a new spin on the office party. In lieu of a traditional affair, lighten it up with a theme.

Party guru Cristina Martinez of Event Rental gives us a few suggestions for themes that work for adults.

“Sparkle, Gatsby or carnival themes work well,” she says. “My favorite is sparkle.”

Keep a theme simple. As the host, go all out for your ensemble, and keep in mind a basic idea that anyone can get on board with sans long explanation.

For a big party, consider switching up the menu to save cash. Instead of a full bar, go with one or two signature drinks or stick to the basics like wine, beer and only one specialty drink fit for the season.

When it comes to eats at the holidays, the bills can stack up. Most people aren’t looking for a heavy entrée, but rather something interesting. To that end, forget the buffet and serve roving appetizers with some panache that keep people talking.

At Joey’s, catering can be done for groups from a quaint 10 or 15 people to hundreds, all on a budget. Manager Maude Lightcap says simple locally-loved dishes like jambalaya fill you up on a cool night without a high price tag.

“Or try our everyday catering menu — things like mini muffaletas or mini turdunken breast sandwiches are a hit,” she says.

For gifting food, Joey’s is an easy go-to spot. They can send perishable foods to clients from lux steak to full holiday meals — a great way to make an impression, whether you’re trying to reach those in town or people out of state. Joey’s gives a nice cross-section of both Cajun-inspired and more traditional dishes.

“People like to gift whole meals like a stuffed chicken with a couple of sides, or we can ship gift baskets anywhere,” she says.

When it comes to smaller bites that leave a big impression, Cane River Pecans is tough to beat. The local nut company offers a bevy of nuts and related items that start as low as $12 a pop and go up to more than $100 for deluxe corporate baskets that include an assortment of tasty nuts, cookies and other items that remind your clients of the South. (Bonus: Get your order in early for customized tins.)

Make an impression that will last year after year with more than just a bottle of wine. Go big with a customized box that includes all the tools for opening a bottle of wine. Awardmaster can emblazon a company logo on the box.

If it’s a gift that will stand the test of time for clients, check out Awardmasters.

“We can go as small and as affordable as key chains and business card holders,” says owner Adam Lopez.

They can etch into marble, customize goods from leather to flasks and can be a one-stop shop whether it’s for one item or enough for a fleet of people.

This year, the hottest item seems to be a Yeti (an insulated cup) with a company logo or customized monogram.

“Cutting boards are also really cool, and we can customize them. I personally like wine bottle cases — they are personalized and really high end,” Lopez says.