Thanksgiving should be a day when we gather with friends and family to give thanks and catch up, but hosting or attending a large gathering can create anxiety. Let’s face it, there are a lot of things to get done before we can sit down and chow! These 10 tips will all but guarantee you a stress-free Thanksgiving. Best of all, they will save you money!
1. Skip pre-holiday parties – There are so many parties and gatherings around this time, but you don’t have to go to all of them to be in the holiday spirit. Attend high-priority events, like your company’s Thanksgiving potluck or Thanksgiving lunch at your child’s school, and skip the rest. Not only will you cut the cost of buying hostess gifts, but you’ll have more time to plan your Thanksgiving dinner. You can always go next year!
2. Make a plan – Start planning early! Prepare your menu, make a list of items you’ll need, and start looking for specials. And don’t wait too long to shop. A lot of the best deals sell out quickly. Also, assess your kitchen and make sure you have all the tools you need. You don’t want to realize on Thanksgiving day that you’re missing your roasting pan!
3. Decorate on a budget – You can decorate your home beautifully with these simple Dollar Tree DIYs. Make it even easier and decorate with your child’s artwork from school and/or free printables. And don’t forget to reuse your Halloween pumpkins as Thanksgiving decor.
4. Delegate tasks – Have friends and family pitch in with sides, desserts, and drinks. It will give you one less thing to do and it will cut down on the cost. Most guests like to stay busy and help out so don’t be afraid to give them tasks when they arrive.
5. Buy inexpensive booze – Unless you have a family of oenophiles there’s no need to spend a lot on alcohol. There are plenty of good quality wines at Trader Joe’s, Costco, and even your local wine store. Skip cocktails entirely.
6. Ditch sitting down – On the other hand, instead of a full Thanksgiving dinner you can host an hor d’oeuvre-and-cocktail party! Appetizers cost less than putting a complete meal together and making a signature drink will cut down on the cost.
7. Be honest with overnighters – Many times stress comes from having to accommodate relatives in your home. Tell them clearly whether they can or can’t stay with you and for how long. The longer they stick around, the heftier the bill will be for you (assuming they’re not pitching in when you go out). Just be sure to be very tactful if you’re letting them know they can’t stay with you. Avoid stirring up drama.
8. Encourage bonding – Plan cheap activities that will help people bond. It can be as simple as having them head to the park while you cook dinner (it may just be me, but I get so stressed when there’s a lot of people in the kitchen while I’m trying to cook). You can also have them watch the parade or some football.
9. Take a headcount – Knowing how many people to expect will help you figure out how much food to buy. It will also keep you from spending extra money. Sure, leftovers are tasty, but not when they spoil.
10. Keep your cool – Don’t forget what Thanksgiving is all about! Simply reflecting on what you’re thankful for will help minimize stress without breaking the bank on pricey massage therapy. You’re probably the only one who will notice those extra details you feel are essential.