November 19, 2020 · Budget, Vacation

Having a Simpler, Less Expensive Thanksgiving

Everyone understands how different this year is

After more than half a year into quarantining and following social distancing with many of us working from home, much of what was normal in our earlier lives isn't anymore. This new abnormal also affects holidays, as how Americans celebrate them in 2020 may be vastly different from previous years. Many people in the U.S. must accept, perhaps quite reluctantly, that things are just not the same, and this new world requires different ways of dealing with it. Secular and religious holidays may both be unusual this year in how they are acknowledged and celebrated, and a favorite holiday, Thanksgiving Day, might not be exactly like it has been before now.

Because of the U.S. economy and how the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has impacted companies, jobs and employees, this Thanksgiving might need to be more restrained for many people in our country. But Thanksgiving is still an occasion to enjoy, either by ourselves or with friends and family, and there are decisions and actions that can be taken to still make it a festive, fulfilling, and joyful holiday, even if it's unlike those of other years. For those planning to host a Thanksgiving Day meal, it is important to consider how to have a party that could cost less, but in some ways does more for you and your guests.

Switch from having a traditional meal, and keep it simple

While Thanksgiving traditionalists may insist on holiday staples—such as turkey with stuffing and gravy, sliced ham, cranberry dressing, mashed potatoes—the meal that day can be anything the host wants. For 2020, perhaps keep the meal simple with fewer dishes that, overall, are cheaper, and less complex and time-consuming to prepare. This year the menu could also be switched up by highlighting the cuisine of a specific country or world region to give the holiday an international twist. After all, Thanksgiving is originally about pilgrims leaving their country for a new, different world, isn't it?

Take advantage of grocery store and restaurant deals

Grocery stores continue to offer shopping discounts, all-in-one meal kits that can be a very cost-effective deal, and prepared foods that can save time and money; take advantage of those deals!

For those that purchase a takeout meal from a restaurant, either for themselves or for guests, note that some restaurants offer family-style large portions than can save money over regular entrees, and can be a good way to feed a group at a reasonable cost.

Have a smaller event with fewer people

With the pandemic continuing, it makes sense to interact with fewer people to limit the possibility of personal infection and further viral spread. During this unusual year, it's just smarter and safer to be involved in social events with a limited number of attendees that you can be completely confident are free of the coronavirus. If there was ever a year where people that are loved and liked will understand the need and importance of being physically separated, it's this year.

Guests can contribute to the meal by bringing something

Hosting a holiday meal takes money, planning, effort, time, and, maybe, anxiety as the host juggles all the parts of Thanksgiving and then tries to seamlessly connect them to create a successful event. It could be less stressful if the host (or hosts) share responsibility for the meal with attending family and friends. Let guests bring side dishes, salads, desserts, drinks, and, possibly, the main course. Everyone attending can contribute in some way to the meal to spread out and lessen the amount of time, money, etc., invested by each person.

Consider that fellowship is more important than the meal

If we're entertaining others (or just ourselves) during this Thanksgiving, because of the effects of the pandemic, it may not be practical to offer the hospitality we're used to providing. When thinking about the original Thanksgiving, remember that it was about sharing the day with others, and for giving thanks for what all of us have. The food and drink of the day help us celebrate the occasion, but what is most important is the time shared with those we care about.

Delta Community hopes that you, and your family and friends, all have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!