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You scaled back the family summer vacation and expect to curtailspending on holiday gifts this year. Still, you would like to dosomething special for the holidays, even if your budget isn’t asgrand as it once was.

Thanksgiving is one holiday when you can make a big splashwithout spending a lot of cash. Food is still relatively cheap inAmerica – compared with other places in the world – and great foodis the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. Serving a feast to family andfriends doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; you just have to bewilling to invest the time in planning and preparation.

You’ll find plenty of Thanksgiving ideasonline at websites like Better Homes & Gardens ( for do-it-yourself decorating ideas and Thanksgiving recipesthat will help make the holiday special. Focus on ideas that willwork well whether you plan far ahead, or wait until the last minuteto pull everything together. Be sure to cover the two mostimportant elements of a Thanksgiving feast: food and decor.

Save by making your own decorations

Creating your own decorations can help set the stage for theholiday, get you in the spirit of the season and save you money.Thanksgivingcrafts can be as simple or grand as you choose. Getting kidsinvolved in making crafts is also a great way to make them feelengaged in holiday celebrations and to get the work done morequickly with many hands involved.

First, dress up the front door, as it will be the first thingguests see when they arrive at your home. You can find directionsfor making a variety of holiday-themed wreathes and swags online.Remember to incorporate plenty of autumn colors – from rich orangesto burnished golds – in your door decoration.

Next, focus on the tabletop, where guests will sit down for thefeast. Whether you opt for a festive centerpiece of pumpkins andautumn leaves or candleholders made out of ornamental corncobs,keep the emphasis on bright but easy. Finally, sprinkle toucheslike fall-themed garlands and holiday banners throughout the house.You’ll find plenty of Thanksgiving ideas at

Focus on the food

Thanksgivingrecipes are more than just directions for dishes, they’re partof a family’s holiday heritage. Whether it’s Grandma’s pumpkin pierecipe or Great Aunt Gert’s secret for succulent stuffing,Thanksgiving food creates memories and shared bonds.

The turkey will, of course, be the centerpiece of anyThanksgiving feast. The good news is, turkey is an affordable maindish, costing as little as $1 per pound, and one good-sized birdcan serve as a main course for a large family. It is, however, easyto dry out a turkey or underestimate cooking time, so make sure youbrush up on your turkey 101 before you begin heating the oven. Aquick online search will yield plenty of good advice and ideas forpreparing the perfect bird.

Don’t forget traditional side dishes liked mashed potatoes,stuffing (also known as dressing or filling in some parts of thecountry), sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, honey-glazedcarrots and yummy dinner rolls. Whether you go strictly traditionalor spice things up with variations on popular favorites, sidedishes will be essential to round out the meal.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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