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.
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.