No matter how many people you’re hosting this Thanksgiving, your long weekend doesn’t have to be stressful. After many years of hosting family and friends, I’ve managed to keep my Thanksgiving budget a fraction of what it used to be since I reformed my own issues with overspending and under-saving. Hosting guests and decorating can add up to hundreds of dollars, but it doesn’t have to. This year, save your budget, and your sanity, with these three Thanksgiving hosting tips.
Serve Effortless, Crowd-Pleasing Appetizers
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, there’s no need to run out at the last minute and spend lots of money on ingredients you wouldn’t normally buy, only to take hours trying to perfect what you saw on the Food Network. Instead, keep your appetizers simple but impressive.
Try an easy appetizer that’s a throwback to the days of Mad Men: Serve shrimp cocktails in a martini glass. Arrange some large cooked shrimp around the edges of the glass and fill it with marinara dipping sauce. In fact, try any type of cocktail glass for serving cubed cheeses, olives or antipasto like pickled eggplant, chili peppers and mini mozzarella balls.
Looking for another no-stress appetizer idea? A charcuterie board filled with a verity of cured meats, olives, nuts and an assortment of cheese is a crowd-favorite that always presents itself beautifully.
Make a Signature Cocktail
Don’t bother buying a ‘holiday supply’ of pricey wines you wouldn’t normally splurge on. A 750 ml bottle of wine pours five or six glasses, whereas the same-sized bottle of rum, vodka or gin will make at least 16 drinks if mixed as a cocktail.
In our house, I keep our cocktail offerings simple but pretty. One of my favourites is a Raspberry Collins. It’s an easy and inexpensive recipe: In a tall glass, stir together 1 ½ shot glasses of gin, a shot glass of lemon juice, half a shot glass of simple syrup or fine sugar, and 12 frozen raspberries or a couple of spoonfuls of raspberry purée. Add ice cubes and some club soda. (Bonus: This drink is full of antioxidants.)
For an extra special touch, slide your favourite assortment of berries onto toothpicks as a pretty garnish for a fruity cocktail. Try a row of the same berries or mix up different types, alternating with a folded leaf of fresh mint.
Decorate On A Budget
Chances are, you have a supply of fall decorations that you feel tired of, and it can be tempting to buy new stuff each year. If you’re looking to switch up your décor, wait until after Thanksgiving passes, when stock will be from 50 to 70 percent off. This way, you’ll have an inexpensive, brand-new look for next year.
For now, use what you have, but in some new ways. Use gold spray-paint to elevate mini orange pumpkins, fill a glass candle holder with acorns, and trade an old table runner for some rustic burlap . For even more ideas, Pinterest has some great online inspiration for free and easy holiday decorating using elements from the outdoors.
Hire A Cleaning Service
It may seem counterintuitive if you are looking to save money, but think of the stress, time and energy it takes to keep the house clean before and after events throughout the Thanksgiving long weekend. To my mind, though it is a luxury, smart spending is worth the investment. Many cleaning companies will have promotions over the holidays; plus, online group buying sites such as Groupon.com and Tiktok.com may offer cleaning service deals when you sign up.
I’ve found that I can get these for as little as $15 per hour, leaving me extra time to organize things, enjoy a friend’s company or just relax during an already hectic holiday season. This is a well-worth investment for my mental health.