Thanksgiving is filled with savory smells, vividly colorful decorations, overflowing feasts and family and friends. However, Thanksgiving can also become a time of overused credit cards and high-priced purchases. Creating a memorable and beautiful Thanksgiving on a budget is not difficult; it just takes a little time, effort and organization.
Frugal Thanksgiving Decorations
You can have a frugal Thanksgiving and still impress your guests. Although we have become a culture of quick and expensive purchases, sometimes the very things we need lie just outside our doors.
Consider Thanksgiving decorations, for example. You can walk though the aisles of a posh department store and collect beautiful vases filled with autumn flowers or fall-themed topiaries, or you can step outside and collect nature”s bounty for free. The following Thanksgiving-enhancing objects are outside and there for the taking:
- fallen, colorful leaves
- seed pods
A bowl filled with apples is inexpensive and beautifully festive, and a vase filled with twigs (perhaps twigs with berries) is a perfect, and cheap, Thanksgiving decoration.
Place pinecones, fallen leaves and acorns in baskets around the house, or place them in bowls to create a table centerpiece. Spray them lightly with gold craft paint if you want a fancy enhancement. It is so easy to create a gorgeous, natural and thrifty Thanksgiving theme.
Another idea is to have children draw Thanksgiving pictures. You can put their drawings in simple frames to add an artsy and whimsical touch to the dining area. Young children will enjoy tracing their hands to make colorful turkeys. Older children may want to draw pictures of their favorite Thanksgiving memories. Artwork and family photos will warm and decorate any area and will remind people what the holiday is really about.
Thanksgiving Shopping Tips
Remember that the best treasures can often be found at thrift shops and garage sales. Craft stores, too, often carry inexpensive and fresh holiday decorating ideas. Even your supermarket, filled with pumpkins, squash and apples, provides affordable and aesthetically pleasing decorating ideas.
Inexpensive Thanksgiving Food
Thanksgiving dishes can become expensive, but, with a little planning, even the food bill can be manageable. Remember that homemade dishes cost less than prepared delicacies and that many supermarkets offer free turkeys with shopping-incentive plans.
Here are a few culinary tips to ensure a thrifty Thanksgiving:
- Buy canned cranberries instead of fresh berries.
- Buy frozen turkeys instead of fresh turkeys.
- Have a budget, and stick to it.
- Have your guests bring some of the side dishes.
- Prepare potato dishes. (Potatoes are inexpensive and loaded with nutrition.)
- Purchase your turkey when it goes on sale and freeze it.
- Use glass or ceramic dishes and real silverware, as they are cheaper than paper and plastic products.
Thanksgiving Potluck Dinners
Potluck Thanksgiving dinners allow everyone to pitch in while relieving the host of the full burden of preparation and cost. Potluck dinners also reflect the true Thanksgiving theme, as the pilgrims and Native Americans all brought their own specialties to the first Thanksgiving feast.
No hard-and-fast rules exist for potluck dinners; just be sure to do what works best for you and your guests. Some hosts assign specific dishes to specific people, while others prefer the surprise of leaving that element open-ended. Potluck dinners lend a feeling of togetherness, as all of the guests get to participate in creating a shared meal.
Frugal and Fun
The holidays do not have to be costly. By following these suggestions for Thanksgiving on a budget, you and your loved ones can have a great time with minimal expense.