Eat, drink, and be frugal!
No matter what holiday your family will be celebrating this month, one of the most enjoyable parts of the season is sitting down to a big, special meal with the people you love the most in the world.
Unfortunately, those big holiday meals can be a costly burden to the host and hostess. But they don’t necessarily have to be! Consider these cost-saving tips when planning your holiday dinner this year:
Plan in advance. Plan your menu early so that you can take advantage of grocery store specials in the weeks leading up to your holiday dinner. Often holiday staples like turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie filling, and other baking needs go on sale in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you have your holiday shopping list ready in advance, you can grab those items on sale and store them until you need them.
Consider potluck. If your family members are up for it, consider making this year’s holiday dinner a potluck affair. You could supply the main protein and your guests could bring the sides and desserts. If you’re not comfortable asking people to cook, you could instead ask them to sign up to bring wine, soda or juice, rolls, pickles and other condiments. Just make sure you know who’s bringing what so you don’t end up with 10 bags of dinner rolls! Check out our article for tips on how to host a successful potluck dinner.
Go non-traditional. Food is important, of course, but the real point of a holiday dinner is to gather with family and friends. So if a 20-pound turkey isn’t in the budget, why not roast a couple of smaller chickens instead? Or take advantage of sales in the weeks leading up to your holiday dinner and buy a pork or beef roast if they end up being more affordable than a turkey. Another option is to get a smaller turkey (or even a couple of turkey breasts) and focus on the sides instead. Vegetable casseroles like scalloped sweet potatoes and broccoli gratin are fancy enough for company but much more affordable than meat. They can be the stars of the show and the turkey can become the side!
Make good use of your leftovers. A turkey can make a lot of meals when you consider everything you can do with it after the big event. Hot turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and turkey tetrazzini are all delicious, nourishing meals you can prepare for your family in the days following your holiday dinner. And even the sides can go on to become new meals. Potato pancakes anyone? Check out Jamie Oliver for more delicious and unique ways to repurpose leftovers.
Make desserts from scratch. It may take more time, but baking your holiday desserts will save you money in the long run. A trip to your local bakery to comparison shop is all the proof you’ll need that taking some time earlier in the month to bake your pies, cakes, and holiday cookies will save you money. Ask family, friends and especially your favorite kids to come and help you out on baking day to make the job easier and a lot more fun.
Ultimately the holidays are about family and friends, not food. But since meals, desserts, and other traditional treats do play a large and important role in holiday festivities, it’s good to know that there are ways to make festive meals more affordable.
414261B CAN/US (12/16)