For some families holidays are about gifts, while others are concentrating on traveling to grandma’s house, and yet others it is all about the Game. No matter what your family plans for the holidays there is sure to be food involved. And a lot of it! How can we have great holiday food and not totally blow the budget? Plenty of ways, here are some ideas…
- Plan ahead… we have discussed this with gifts and travel, but the same thing applies here. Often grocery stores will run fantastic sales on holiday food staples early in the month. I have found turkeys for .39/# the first week of November but the same birds were over $1/# Thanksgiving week.
- Enlist others to bring part of the meal. If other family members or friends are joining you for the day, ask them to bring a dish or beverage. Most times they will offer, so you don’t even have to ask. And this allows others to bring the dish that makes the holiday special for their family.
- Chose meals that are less costly. Some dishes are just packed with really expensive ingredients. Granted, they taste great, but not so much if they make the grocery budget to go into the red. For example: pecan pie is more expensive to make than pumpkin, so plan accordingly.
- Beverages? We all like special beverages for the holidays, but that can add $10+ to the cost of a meal. How about iced water with lemon or lime slices for the meal and then a small cup of egg nog with Xmas eve dessert. Just enough to make the evening special.
- Center piece? Fresh Flowers in December can be really expensive. Alternatives? Candle with a few small ornaments sprinkled down the middle of the table or buffet line is classy. Or find some outdoor items to bring inside for decorations like pine cones. Arranging the food on attractive platters with a few garnishes makes the meal feel special.
- Snacks! What holiday is not complete without snacks? From football game munchies to a sweet treat while decorating the Christmas tree, the holidays are a great time for snacks. But, WOW, that can burn up the budget. Consider homemade and perhaps a bit healthier options: popcorn, veggie tray with dip, cheese and crackers, apple slices with caramel dip, chex mix (homemade!), home made cookies, hot cocoa and spiced cider.
- Donate and Volunteer- we enjoy working as a family to feed hungry in our community on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We get up early and work with other volunteers to serve over 800 folks a special holiday meal. The day before we make about 300 servings of stuffing ( or dressing depending on where you live). We come home tired but grateful for all our blessings. (see picture at top of article. I am serving dressing or stuffing on Christmas)
Are you hungry yet? The holidays are a great time to gather the family around the dining table and savor the memories. Hopefully I have given you a few suggestions of doing it with grace and not blowing the budget.
Next time: Decorations inside and outside.