Thanksgiving on a Budget

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I remember it as a time for delicious, home-cooked meals, laughter, and family togetherness. Of course, times have changed for me, and I imagine for you as well. But having less money in your pocket or fewer faces around the festive table is no reason to give up this very American time of year. With the following minor substitutions, you can have a very happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Cranberries Although homemade cranberries are a delicious side, canned “White Rose” brand cran-putty will do in a pinch. Adds flavor and style to your turkey, stuffing, or whatever other late-November treat you choose to rub it on.

Turkey True, a browned, juicy, buttery turkey is a Thanksgiving staple, but it also takes hours of labor, a functioning oven and at least $5 in change, because you’re not going to sneak this mama out in your coat pocket. Nearly as good: Nachos Bell Grande! Of course, your local Taco Bell may be closed on this national holiday, so stop by late Wednesday afternoon and pick some up extra. Store your new food bag on the radiator overnight and your guests will never know it’s not fresh from the microwave.

Guests The original Thanksgiving meal was all about people from different cultures and background coming together, and a holiday table is often warmed by the chatter of new friends. If your television isn’t working, try turning up your radio.

Radio If your radio is on the fritz (and hey, whose isn’t?) and you’re incredibly desperate for a friend, why not substitute me? Seriously, I’m begging you. Please come over. Please.

Stuffing Stuffing is an essential part of any true holiday meal. But you can't make Stovetop stuffing without an actual stove top. Instead, try substituting a browned, juicy turkey. Delicious!

Thankfulness Sometimes with all the hubbub in the kitchen, we forget about what Thanksgiving is really all about: expressing gratitude to a Higher Power for our health, happiness and bounty. If Thankfulness is in short supply this year, try substituting Regret.

Stephen Levinson is a co-founder of More of his writing can be found here.