Subscribe Today! Please read: Readers of local content on the Herald and News website – heraldandnews.com – will require a subscription beginning today. For the first few months, non-subscribers will still be able to view 10 articles for free. If you are not already a subscriber, now is a great time to join for as little as $10/month!

Thanksgiving dinner can be overwhelming, especially if you are hosting it at your house. Here are a few ideas to help make preparing the dinner a little easier and lower your budget so you can concentrate on the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Your plan

Determine how many family and friends will be joining you for dinner so you will know how much food you will need to serve. Also you will need to set your menu and decide if you are going to have appetizers, then dinner with dessert following. Obviously, if you keep it simple, then the easier it will be for you, the cook.

Buying dinner

All the grocery stores are focusing their ads on all the fixings needed to make a Thanksgiving dinner.

Compare prices for the items you will need to buy, and plan to purchase most, if not all of them, at the store or stores with the best price. Calculate the size of the turkey (or whatever main dish you are serving) you will need to generously feed all your guests and then determine how much each will cost you to purchase. Primarily, a turkey will cost less than a ham, but it is your budget that it affects. Some of the stores offer deals on turkeys if you purchase certain other items or a minimum of so many dollars worth of items. Be sure to make a list of all the dishes you want to serve (vegetables, starch, bread, cranberry sauce, salads, appetizers, desserts and beverages). Check your pantry or freezer for items you might already have that will help lower your grocery bill. Don’t forget to use the digital or coupons you find in the Sunday Herald and News for extra savings when you shop. Also decide what dishes you want to make by hand or by premade – with the sales that are on right now, perhaps a premade dish will cost the same, or less, then buying all the ingredients and your time to make the dish.

Preparation

Next comes the preparation. Allow yourself enough time to prepare each dish. Some items can be made ahead, like the desserts and some of the breads and salads. Pace yourself so that it doesn’t all come down to the hour before and you are literally working yourself so hard that you are too tired to enjoy the meal. Ask for help ahead of time – surely some of your family and friends can help with the cooking or baking. Or maybe they will offer to bring a dish or two you want to include in the meal. After all, Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to come together to be thankful for all that our forefathers have given for us and all that we have, especially love. What better way for them to show love, then to help you with the meal preparation and cleanup.

Set the table

Now it’s time to set the table. You don’t have to buy expensive napkins, decorations or table settings. Use what you have available or borrow from one of your guests that perhaps you’ve loaned things to in the past. Visit one of the discount stores for pretty paper Thanksgiving napkins or small decorations for your table, but be sure to leave enough room on the table for the various dishes you have prepared. Don’t forget to organize the seating so that everyone can visit, and if necessary, set up a table close by for the little ones if your table isn’t large enough for everyone to sit at the same time.

Traditions

If you have certain traditions that your family likes to use every Thanksgiving, by all means, share them with your guests. I will guarantee they all will participate and appreciate being included while maybe gleaning an idea or two that they may begin using. Traditions are part of holidays since the holiday not only represents an event or important part of our history, but it also becomes part of the way our family celebrates.

Take time to rest ahead for Thanksgiving day and prepare as much ahead as possible to save your energy when Thanksgiving arrives. Accept help or ask for help when needed. Thanksgiving is the day we all are thankful for the gathering of our family and friends and remembering those that used to share is this special day. It is also full of other things that day like parades and football on TV, sharing stories and taking photos, and just enjoying each other’s company. Share with each other the meaning of the day for you when you are together because time changes things so quickly that you must always be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!