It seems like as soon as Halloween is over, the retailers hit us full force with the holiday shopping season. By November 1st, every store has their Christmas displays up and carols playing at full blast. But before I can even start to think about Christmas, and all that it encompasses, there’s another holiday on the horizon.
Party Planning Guide – Thanksgiving
Modern day Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday in November. And although celebrated in some form or another since 1621, it wasn’t until 1863 that it became a holiday when President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday of November to be a national day of Thanksgiving. In 1939 FDR amended it to the fourth Thursday in November (due to five in the month that year) making the actual date of Thanksgiving a federal matter.
Originally a harvest festival (a tradition carried over from England), Thanksgiving commemorated a successful growing season with prayer and a celebratory feast. But like everything else, the modern day Thanksgiving has evolved. For many, the religious aspect of the holiday has dwindled, although many still say grace before the meal. For most it’s viewed as an opportunity to get together with family and friends. And watch football. Or a parade. And eat. A lot.
Party Planning Guide – A Less Expensive Thanksgiving
There are a lot ways to host a great Thanksgiving day feast without breaking the bank and stressing about costs.
Keep your guest list down. There’s nothing wrong with a smaller Thanksgiving crowd this year. Keeping it intimate is a great way to keep your costs down. Because the bigger the crowd, the bigger the bill. If you can’t trim your guest list but still want to keep your costs down, take a look at the next tip.
Potluck baby!! Ask your guests to bring something. The communal feel of contributing to a meal makes everyone feel more involved and your guests are no different. When they ask you “What can I bring?” don’t be a martyr, tell them! Appetizers, desserts and side dishes are all welcome additions and can help keep your costs down.
Scale down the menu. My mom use to do these ridiculously huge dinners with, no joke, about 25 different dishes. Three main courses (turkey, meatballs, brisket), three different starches (roast potatoes, rice pilaf and mashed potatoes), various side dishes, vegetables and let’s not even talk about desserts. And oh, a huge vat of what is still, to this day, the best stuffing ever. Hands down. But at the end of the meal Mom always had so much food left over that she would send all four of us home with doggy bags that would last, easily, for a week.
Take an accurate look at how much you’re going to need. Leftovers are nice but only to a point. Be reasonable and plan ahead regarding how much food you’ll need. It will make a huge difference on your bottom line at the end of the day.
Party Planning Guide – An Easier Thanksgiving
So you’re sick of doing all the cooking. But unfortunately Cousin Sally isn’t picking up the major hints that maybe it’s her turn to host the family. If you can afford it, consider having your Thanksgiving party catered. The caterers are happy to do as much, or as little, as you want.
A lot of restaurants and catering companies have holiday specials. All you have to do is select your meal, your sides and dessert or two and, voila, dinner is ready! You can either pick it up or even have it delivered. You just have to heat and serve. Easy shmeasy. Or if you’re looking for an easier Thanksgiving still, have the caterers come into your house, cook the meal, serve it and even clean up afterward. So you have all the food, fun and fabulosity of Thanksgiving without the stress, headaches or clean up. Does it get any better?
Party Planning Guide – A Different Thanksgiving
Often people like to look at the holidays as a chance to step away from the norm and maybe try something new.
Volunteering is great way to show how truly grateful you are and it’s a wonderful way to show your kids how to give back. Instead of sitting and stuffing yourselves with stuffing, why not volunteer at your local food bank or homeless shelter. It’s a wonderful way to share your Thanksgiving with others while helping those in need.
Donate your Thanksgiving meal. Instead of having a lavish dinner (with two types of pie) why not donate your dinner to a family in need. You can help someone who might otherwise not have a Thanksgiving and you get to feel good while teaching your kids the true meaning of giving.
Host a stragglers dinner. We all have friends, colleagues and neighbors who live far away from their family and aren’t necessarily able to go home for the holidays. Invite all the “strays” in your life. For some it’s hard to be alone over the holidays and an invite to a warm and welcoming Thanksgiving can be a huge gift.
So whether you’re planning a blowout for 35, an intimate dinner for a few close friends or even just gearing up for all the great deals on Black Friday, have a happy, healthy and fun Thanksgiving!