Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in light of the impending turkey comas and pumpkin-pie overload, we’re offering a practical guide on tips and easy ways to host a Thanksgiving dinner – without breaking the bank!

The day is meant to celebrate family, friends, and eating mounds of food – not spending mounds of cash – so here are 7 ways to help you celebrate a guilt-free Thanksgiving that will keep your belly AND wallet full!

1. Make a list – and stick to it!

Plan your menu around items you may already have in your pantry – one example would be if a recipe calls for fresh herbs and you only have the dried form, you can often save money without a large change in taste by utilizing what you already have.

Cutting corners and improvising where you can are never a bad thing – cooking is all about creativity! Besides, all that anyone will really notice in the end is a heaping plate!

Once you’ve created your list, try to stick to only the items you’ve written down for maximum savings.

2. Pick what’s best and what’s in season

One of the great things about where we live is the delicious and plentiful produce that just so happens to be in season right around Thanksgiving time – as a bonus, planning your menu around food that is in season is a great way to save money!

In B.C., you can catch these yummy ingredients in season right now: Apples, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Corn, Cranberries, Garlic, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Pears, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Thyme, Turnips, and Winter Squash.

3. Only make your must-haves

Feature the staples and only your absolute favourites in your Thanksgiving meal – there’s no rule that says you need ten side-dishes! You’ll not only save money, but also time.

4. Make your menu from scratch

As convenient and easy most packaged and pre-made items are, they’re also usually more costly. Sometimes half the fun is in the preparation with the help of friends and family, so buy that bag of potatoes and peel, boil, and mash them by hand – make a game of it!

5. Skip the alcohol

You’d be surprised at how quickly the cost of bottles of alcohol can quickly add up. Add in the grogginess of turkey and a heavy meal, and you may find that you don’t even miss it.

Alternatively, when friends and family ask what to bring, request they provide a bottle of wine!

6. Decorate simply

Don’t obsess over being the next Martha Stewart when it comes to a simple Thanksgiving dinner.

Natural gourds, pumpkins or even hand-picked flowers by little ones are all you’ll need to make your table look inviting and homey – a little goes a long way!

7. Have a potluck!

In the spirit of the holiday, sharing and being together is what Thanksgiving is all about – so be happy to accept help! Turn your meal into a potluck dinner and share the wealth, and people are usually happy to pitch in and bring a dish or two.

Happy Thanksgiving, Victoria!