Finances

Prepping for Thanksgiving

Can you believe our Canadian Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away? Does anyone else feel like this year is flying by? 

Since most people are on a tighter budget this year, let’s get creative on how we spend Thanksgiving with our family and friends. 

Thanksgiving dinners can be expensive. Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you could have a turkey that costs anywhere from $25-$45. That’s just for the turkey. Then you’ve got the mashed potatoes, side dishes, desserts, drinks, etc. Is your family coming for the weekend? Now you’ve got the costs of breakfasts and lunches as well. Instead of feeling overwhelmed at the financial responsibility, let’s divvy some of that up. Here’s a few options to help:

1) Potluck

It’s actually a great idea. Some people can be fussy about what they like to eat. Does someone in your family have the tradition of having two choices of meat? If you provide the turkey, have other family members provide the side dishes (veggies, salad, appetizers), and desserts. If you’ve got a person in the family that is tight financially, have him or her make the potatoes or bring the drinks. By having everyone carry the cost of the large meal, you can all enjoy a variety of delicious food, not having to work in the kitchen all day long, and enjoy the moment. 

Another potluck idea would be to have a turkey sandwich buffet. You could get a turkey, your brother could bring the bread/buns and chips, and your sister could bring any preferred sandwich fixings. Your parents could supply the salad and drinks, and anyone else could bring dessert. How about some ice cream and toppings?

2) Make Ahead

Some of you thoroughly enjoy making Thanksgiving dinner for everyone and having all the family over. That’s great! If you can afford to pay for the entire meal, your generosity will be appreciated. One way to divvy up the expenses so it all doesn’t fall on one week of groceries is to buy and prep some of the meal ahead of time. Are there groceries on sale that you’ll need? Buy them now and either store or freeze them. That way, if you can spread the bill over a couple-few-weeks, it helps your account stay a bit more balanced. It all comes back to planning ahead. Figuring out what you’re going to make for the meal, looking at what ingredients you already have, and what you need to purchase. Having a plan always saves you money. 

3) Switch Up the Meal

No one made it law to have turkey on Thanksgiving. In fact, in 1578, the settlers ate a “meal of salt beef, biscuits, and mushy peas” (https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/thanksgiving-day).  Gasp! No turkey?   

The Indigenous people celebrated Thanksgiving as their annual harvest feast. The Europeans started it as a time of gratitude for making it to the foreign land safely. Many people have now adapted it as a time to stop and be thankful for all that we have in life. It’s a time for family and friends to get together, to share in our gratitude. For Christians, it’s a good reminder to thank the Lord for all that He’s provided for us. We have much to be thankful for. 

Therefore, it doesn’t have to carry the same food traditions that have been marked by the festive occasion. You can have eggs and toast and still be thankful. Serve others whatever you can comfortably afford, and be grateful for the meal that sits before you.  

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