Nov 21

Tips on Throwing a Fab Feast On the ‘Cheep’

TurkeyParty Okay, so now that you’ve picked the perfect turkey, and you know how to cook it and carve it up, it’s time to plan the rest of your party for friends and family – from the feast, to the “feel”, to the festivities. Instead of settling for the traditional get-together this year, go all out. Make this holiday bigger than just turkey and pumpkin pie and give your traditional holiday celebration a special spin. Follow these Turkey Day tips on how to trim your celebration budget without trimming your trimmings:

1. The Food – The first rule of thumb to Saving Money on Thanksgiving Groceries is not to buy a bigger bird than you need for the number of guests at your holiday table. Most people over-buy when it comes to the size of the bird, and then they are left with an excessive amount of leftovers. Most over-do it on the side-dishes and desserts, too. Do you really need four different side dishes and three different desserts? If you decide that you do, why not get each of your guests to bring one? It’s a great way to save on menu money (and pressure) on the host, and at the same time bring an inclusive, intimate atmosphere to your celebration. Plus, you get to sample lots of cooks’ specialties. Alternatively, cut down your booze budget by asking guests to bring a bottle of something. Or, check out these money-saving tips on Turkey Day wine.

2. The “Feel” – Creating the right atmosphere can be extremely expensive – or cheap, easy and fun. You can find beautiful (and free!) decorative items right in your own backyard: pinecones, dried leaves and acorns, spread on table tops, create a festive, harvest look. You can pick up gourds for cheap at any grocery store or farmers’ market. They make a great decorative addition. Budget Decorator Kathleen Wilson suggests not limiting yourself to the little ones, but to also try piling up a few big pumpkins at entranceways and in corners. Baskets of apples can have the same effect. Fall-colored ribbons are a great (and cheap) way to spruce up dining chairs. Candles are the secret to cheap and easy lighting, that can really warm up a room. And, you can always have kids decorate the home with hand crafted Thanksgiving decorations.

3. The Festivities - When we think of Thanksgiving, we generally picture a house crowded with family members. We think about fights over the remote control because half the crowd wants to watch football (a tradition that dates back to the first intercollegiate football championship held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876), while the others would rather catch holiday movie reruns -- again. Then there are the parades, enjoyed by more than 46 million people each year, in person and on TV, which seem to make Thanksgiving official. But where does Thanksgiving come from? And just what are we thankful for anyway? This year, why not print out some info about the history of the holiday from the internet, and grease the wheels of discussion at your holiday table? For instance, did you know the tradition of making a wish over the turkey’s wishbone dates back to 322 B.C.? Askmen is a great place to start for history behind the holiday. And rather than just watching football on TV this year, why not get out there and toss around the pigskin yourself? Get your guests involved in a game outside. You won’t feel nearly as guilty about that second piece of pumpkin pie…