Thursday, October 15, 2015

Holiday Plans

The holidays will soon be upon us.  It just doesn't seem possible that it has been a year, since we last celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I thought I'd list a few things to think about and plan for ahead of time.  I like to get as many things as possible out of the way, so that the holidays can just be ENJOYED without stress.

  • Start watching thrift stores for vintage salt and pepper shakers at a cheap price.  They may be turkeys, snowmen, Santa, etc.  They just make a holiday table so cheerful!!    They also make cute little gifts.
  • If you are going to have a big get-together, make some place cards for your guests table setting.  Use some whimsical family or childhood pictures (copies) for their name card!
  • No need to buy fancy holiday paper napkins.  Use plain napkins or paper towels, and stamp with a cute holiday stamp.  This would be a fun kids project.  We like to use our cloth napkins, but if you are having a crowd, sometimes throw away is the best.
  • If you want to plan for a big crowd, and do something different - make all finger foods or appetizer foods.  Have everyone pitch in their favorite.
  • Start saving those butter, cottage cheese, sour cream containers now!  They are the best for sending leftovers home with people.  You never need to worry if you will get your dish back.
  • Kids feel really grown-up when served sparkling cider or juice in plastic long stemmed 'wine' glasses!  Start looking at the dollar stores for the glasses and for bottles of sparkling juice. 
  • REMEMBER when shopping for a turkey to allow one pound per person, plus extra for leftovers
  • When turkey and hams go on sale - if you have the extra room in your freezer - buy extras!!!!  Trust me, it will be cheaper than lunch meat for future lunches and meals, and so much healthier.  I generally have 2-3 turkeys in the freezer at all times.
I have started noticing some sales for baking items - although they are not the best prices YET!  Pumpkin (canned) prices seem to be up this year.  Supposedly there is some kind of shortage on pumpkins this year - so if you find a great price - stock-up!
Fresh pumpkins I have seen at the stores, seem to be cheaper for some reason this year.  Go figure.  My advice is to buy a few after Halloween (when the stores need to get rid of them) and make your own fresh pumpkin to freeze or can for pies.

Remember you don't have to use pumpkin in those pies.  You can use sweet potatoes, or various types of winter squash.  Use what you find the most of and whatever is cheapest.

Plan your menu now for the holidays, so that you can purchase items each week when they are on sale.  Keep that menu and your list with you, so that you can see what you need and what you have bought, at any time you enter a store. 
Holiday dinners don't have to cost a fortune.  Shoot, they don't even have to be traditional.  Many people do an ethnic dinner (Italian, German, Mexican, etc.).  There is nothing wrong, with having beef, pork, or even meatloaf instead of the turkey or ham.  Choose whatever your family likes and what your budget can afford and just ENJOY you time together.
That is what is important.

Start planning now as turkey day is just a few scant weeks away.  Holiday baking seems to start then, and goes on for another few weeks.  Be ready and be frugal.


  1. Hey Cheryl! What great ideas that I can use for the upcoming holidays! But Halloween hasn’t even come and gone yet! I was able to get 3 x 5/$1 Hershey’s Krackle Bars recently for our Trick or Treaters. And a charcoal sketch from Grandpa will adorn our front door. Instead of hiding in my basement this year, I might actually enjoy Halloween this year. We don’t get many T-or-T’s anymore so the number of candy bars is about right, 9 for the kids and 6 for The Good Man and me (!)

    What is it with canned pumpkin prices? I noticed last year they had gone up and this year even more! Sweet potato pie is just as good. But don’t tell that to my Mid-western born neighbor! She absolutely claims a difference in taste. But like me co-worker says, ‘It’s all good.”

  2. I think it’ll be ham for us this year (Thanksgiving and/or Christmas). I need to host a giant crowd for this is a giant ham!

    I hadn’t realized thought that a pound per person for a turkey! We brined a 14-pounder overnight and cooked it yesterday, with four healthy eaters, we have about six pounds left. That’s 10 lbs total and the other 4 lbs of bones and pickins’ is in the stock pot, put on overnight. I checked this morning and oh, yes, it will be a flavorful stock. The Good Man says he’ll help to pressure can it for our pantry.

    The garden is almost tucked away for the winter…chard, celery, carrots, and parsnips left. I pulled a couple carrots and they just aren’t sweet enough yet. We need a hard frost to get the sugar up in them! Then we can dig them out.

  3. Seems like I have had ‘spend’ and ‘no-spend’ months in the past. I think next month will be a ‘half-spend’ month. No luxury items, just milk at the store since we already have the cheese tucked away in the freezer. I dug out the bread maker so will do the daily sliced bread with it. The Good Man and I met with a financial planner yesterday (provided free with my employment, yes, the benefits of state employment just keep adding up!). I, at the wonderful age of 60, am finally on a savings plan, a 403b. Oh, How I wish I’d started in my twenties like so many told me. Better late than never though!

  4. Did you know the Amish have lard for sale in blocks, big five pound blocks! Think about that for holiday pies and cooking! I have a teeny tiny tub of it in the back of the refrigerator. More than enough for our uses.

    I think I'd like to try my hand at 'hand pies.' Sort of like pasties but instead of meat, potatoes, and turnips...put some apples in them. I was able to garner about 95 apples off our back yard trees last night. Pie apples I hope!

  5. ELLEN - I figure it's never too early to plan for the holidays! They can get so costly, so reminders f ways to save make sense.

    9 T or T's? Wow, Our numbers have dropped the last couple of years - but we still have 150-200. We used to get upwards of 450!
    I haven't bought the first bit of candy yet. I usually have it all bought in September.

    Good going on the financial planning! It's never too late to do something. It all adds up.

    I recently bought 5 - 1 lb. pkg. of lard. I have never used lard, and this was on clearance for .59/lb. and it is shelf stable till opened. Figured it will be good for my preps. I will use.

    That's a lot of apples!! Cool. I have made little fruit 'pies', like those you can buy at the store. G loves them.

    I here you. We have good months and bad months on spending too. When I am on a binge stocking up - I'm spend a lot. During the winter, not so much, as I stay in a lot. Figure it all balances out.