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Fun-filled and Financially-Friendly Thanksgiving!

We are in November y'all, and what a year it has been! We are in the midst of a pandemic that officially began in March and in a new wave of advocacy around racial justice. We are awaiting a final determination of the next President of the United States, AND the holidays are upon us. In a year that seems fraught with one thing after another, we are about to enter into a traditional time of Thanksgiving for our country.

I want to take apart that word: Thanksgiving. Regardless of the history behind this holiday, the name itself calls for us to give thanks, gratitude and appreciation for what life has given us. I'd like to challenge each of us to answer the question: What are we deeply thankful for in 2020? Whatever the answer is, let that be your guiding motivation in this holiday season.

Now, I want to talk about two of my all-time favorite topics in this blog: finances (no surprise there) and FOOD. I've already written one post about eating healthy for your wallet and waistline, and thought, given the current circumstances, it would be good to bring that topic back, but as the Thanksgiving edition.

I don't know about y'all, but my family goes ALL OUT for holiday meals: at least three meats, plenty of sides, light on the vegetables (unfortunately), and heavy on the desserts. I grew up eating holiday dinners with 20+ people at the table. Given the times we are in, however, our holiday company is going to be severely curtailed. Rather than looking at this as a bad thing, though, I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to be extra creative with the food we serve for Thanksgiving.

With most folks spending the holidays this year with immediate family only, there is less of a need to impress. So one way to cut back on holiday spending is to cook your holiday meal from your pantry. There are many iterations of doing just this. There is the pantry challenge, and creative ways to eat from your pantry to name a few. By cooking based on what is in your pantry, you'll save money, get rid of some of the food that's been sitting in your pantry and/or freezer, and free that space up for more delicious options.

Not only is this a good cost-saving measure, but it can also be lots of fun! Use pantry-cooking as a way to spend quality family time together. Cooking together, especially with kids, can be messy and exciting and it will feel better knowing that the meal you've made includes the most important ingredient: love. You can take a look at this list for recipe inspiration. Also, Yummly allows you to search per ingredient to come up with recipes. Don't be shy about switching one ingredient for another if you already have it!

You can also use this time to make things from scratch. Most of us have sugar, flour and baking soda or baking powder in the cabinets. That's enough to make several baked goods (and some breads!) from scratch. Try your hand at making homemade cookies, pies, scones, breads etc. Get creative.

Lastly, decorate your table with homemade decorations. Using paper, glue, scissors, markers or crayons, items to sew, you can make your pantry-inspired holiday dinner look beautiful.

2020 has already been a year to remember, why not make some of the things we remember bring us joy in later years? I promise you that you have more than you think you do to be thankful for, and that by doing even one of the things above with your family, it will be a Thanksgiving you won't soon forget.

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