Frugal Hospitility

November 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Celebrating any event or holiday is about sharing time and affection with friends and family. It is NOT about stress. So let’s note some ideas on having a frugal holiday meal.

Prioritize- Please remember that the celebrations are not about food, though a  family’s favorite recipes are a source of pleasure. The holidays are about gratitude and relationships.

Celebrations are not for getting into debt. So be gracious and accept offers of help. ‘It’s better to give than to receive.’ I have found that one aspect of that verse for me is that receiving can sometimes be hard. Nevertheless, when YOU give, you like to do it and get grouchy when you are thwarted. In that same spirit, let others participate.

Plan- Because you may, as I just suggested, accept the gifts of food others may bring as you plan the celebration consider what you generally like to have at the dinner and be ready to modify your expectations based on circumstances.

Allow guests to bring any and all food and drink.  Your planning will pay off when people offer help and then ask for your direction. You will know that you generally serve three sides of veggies and several potato dishes, or whatever your routine. In allowing others to share in the blessing of giving You will need to relinquish some control. You will have to be okay with the way they cook their potatoes or the carrots. But because you are mindful that this celebration is about relationship and gratitude and not about control, you will be able to let go and allow others to help!

But there are other avenues for planning ahead. Over the course of several weeks prior to the meal, you may prepare parts of the meal as you can in advance. For instance, cut bread into cubes to ready ingredients for the stuffing, even weeks ahead, and freeze till you’re ready.

Another aspect of planning ahead is to think about foods that are filling but frugal. Side dishes, made with foods that are cheaper, like root veggies such as filling potatoes, fill bellies and save money. Other cheap tricks include using Halloween pumpkins for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, and remembering that making food from scratch is generally cheaper.

Shop- With meat usually the most expensive part of the meal, talk to friends and family to find the best deals in local shops and large retailers.  Another idea when you shop, buy only what you will need. It isn’t required that you have days of leftover food.

Beauty – Making the dinner, and your house, beautiful is part of what adds memories and creates a day different than, perhaps rushed, weeknight meals. But think creatively to satisfy your decorative and practical needs. Need more dishes or chairs? Borrow what you don’t have, from friends, or your church. Decorate the house, sideboards and tables with freshly cut branches, pinecones, pumpkins and gourds from the garden. There is free beauty to delight your guests right outside your door, my friend.

Focus on this: Sharing a meal and being together is the best part of the day. (CR 8670)



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