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My Favorite Frugal Thanksgiving Traditions

November 20, 2015


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Thanksgiving doesn't have to be an expensive holiday. Here are some of my favorite frugal Thanksgiving traditions - maybe you'll pick up one of these traditions yourself!

A few weeks ago I found myself thinking about how much I really love Halloween. But now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I’m now thinking that maybe I like Thanksgiving even more than Halloween.

The truth is that it’s very hard for me to pick one favorite holiday because I really enjoy them all.

This weekend I will be getting the last of my Thanksgiving groceries since I will be hosting the holiday at my house again this year. I can’t wait to get my cooking on on Thursday morning!

If you aren’t careful, Thanksgiving, or any holiday for that matter, can get very expensive very quickly. Just in case you are trying to frugalize your holidays this year, here are some of my favorite frugal Thanksgiving traditions.

Potluck It

Thanksgiving foods are pretty traditional in my family. We don’t get too crazy with having too many choices because we like to keep things simple. Usually we have turkey (duh!), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, diner rolls, a vegetable tray, and a dessert.

In order to avoid me having to pay for all of those things myself, I usually pay for about half of them and my parents pay for about half of them. This is the first year that my brother is a full-fledged “adult” and out of college, but I don’t really for-see him pitching in with cooking or groceries. (Bachelors… sigh!)

My grandma always brings the dessert. Despite our best efforts to persuade her otherwise, she always brings 2-3 pies to choose from even though there are only 5 of us at Thanksgiving.

Luckily we always have leftover food and pie for several days after Thanksgiving. Plus the pies usually freeze well too.

Get Creative With Leftovers

Next week, Kristi will be sharing some great ideas for how to make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers. But in the meantime, I wanted to remind you that you don’t have to eat all of the dishes exactly as they are for days on end after Thanksgiving. Sometimes we even make turkey sandwiches or another simple dish with the leftovers for our evening meal on Thanksgiving. (Lunch is usually our big feast.)

Last year we made delicious mini-potpies for supper. They were amazing! (We just subbed turkey for the chicken in that recipe.)

Afternoon Entertainment

After our big feast at lunch, everyone relaxes in the living room and watches a movie while my mom and I de-bone the leftover turkey in the kitchen. Then the whole family spends the afternoon playing board and/or card games for a few hours.

Next we take a break from our games to do the chores out at the farm. My dad and brother usually handle that while mom, grandma, and I make something for supper. Our evening meal is usually small and is based mostly on using leftovers from lunch. Once my dad and brother get back, we eat and play games until late in the evening.

Spending time relaxing, watching movies and playing games with my family is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. That part of the day doesn’t cost a dime as we always watch movies we already have or something off of Netflix, and the games we play are old family favorites.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Do you have any favorite frugal Thanksgiving traditions?

Thanksgiving doesn't have to be an expensive holiday. Here are some of my favorite frugal Thanksgiving traditions - maybe you'll pick up one of these traditions yourself!

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2 responses to “My Favorite Frugal Thanksgiving Traditions

  1. Your family holiday sounds similar to ours. We also have a potluck Friendsgiving the Tuesday before, which we really enjoy, and is less expensive than going out together. It also allows us to invite international friends to celebrate with us. Since our mothers still host on Thursday, the Tuesday event gives us something we invite these friends to.

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