I’ve always thought that Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick when it comes to fall holidays. Christmas seems to invade stores almost as soon as kids are back on the school playgrounds after summer. Maybe that’s why I love Thanksgiving some much. It hasn’t been (and hopefully never will be) commercialized. Hopefully it stays the most home-centered of gatherings so our society.
Still, just because it’s not been co-oped by Madison Avenue doesn’t mean we don’t, as a nation, spend a lot of additional money on the holiday. Thanksgiving generally means extra expenses in:
- Travel: If you’re flying to your destination, you’ll generally spend anywhere between 10% and 50% less if you DON’T travel the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday AFTER Thanksgiving.
TIP: Consider flying out TWO days before the holiday and coming home on Friday.
- Meals: Often, a portion of the extra money we spend on Thanksgiving meals can be recouped by enjoying leftover turkey sandwiches for a week or two afterwards.
TIP: To make leftovers easier to deal with, separate them into smaller portions, place them in freezer bags, and pack into the freezer. That way, you won’t have to pull huge portions out of the freezer to use all at once.
- Decorations: After travel, decoration expenses can be considered to be the most expensive “optional” expense of Thanksgiving. Whether it’s new Thanksgiving-themed plates and serving dishes, front door wreathes, pewter turkey-shaped napkin holders, or other household ornamentation highlighting the joys of fall, a spendthrift household could easily lay down an extra $200 or $300 each Turkey Day in making their dinner more festive.
TIP: If children or grandchildren are available, use their pictures or artwork to decorate the house. Back a small photo of a family member with some construction paper and tie them around the napkin as a holder.
- Entertainment: More and more families are deciding to spend the afternoon or evening of Thanksgiving at the movie theater. Whether Hollywood pushed for it or reacted to it, the demand is definitely there. That’s why many blockbuster movies often debut on Thanksgiving Day or that weekend.
TIP: Games at home can be more affordable and usually much more interactive, but if you insist on going to a movie, make the decision to skip the high-priced treats. After all, you’ll probably still be feeling as stuffed as the turkey was just a few hours before.
Have a wonderful, safe, and happy Thanksgiving Day and holiday season!