Thanksgiving is all about family time, football, and giving thanks, but hosting Florida Thanksgiving dinner can quickly become a daunting and expensive task.
To help save you time and money this year, we’ve rounded up seven easy Florida Thanksgiving dinner ideas that your family will love – without breaking the bank.
1. Host a Bring-Your-Own-Dish (BYOD) Dinner
Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you should have to bear the burden of shopping and cooking the entire meal yourself. Ask guests to pitch in and bring a side dish or dessert of their choosing. To avoid duplicates, set up an easily accessible list through a program like Google Docs where everyone can sign up to bring a different item.
2. Stock Up on Food That’s in Season
Make your Florida Thanksgiving menu with seasonal foods in mind. When produce is in season, you can purchase it for much cheaper than if you’re buying it out of season. To help you out, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers a list of what types of Florida produce are in season at different times throughout the year.
3. Buy in Bulk
When it comes to purchasing food, more is less. Shop smart by buying nonperishables and drinks in bulk from a wholesale retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club. If you don’t end up cooking everything for Thanksgiving, you can store the extra food and use it for future meals.
4. Get a Head Count Beforehand
Save yourself the guesswork and headache by determining beforehand how many guests you expect. Send out a simple text message or email to friends and family and ask them to RSVP so you can plan your menu and shopping list accordingly. Not only does this make your planning easier, but it will also save you money that can then be used toward holiday gifts. Black Friday shopping, anyone?
5. Only Serve the “Good Stuff”
Don’t feel pressured to make something solely because it’s a traditional Thanksgiving dish. If year after year there’s that one casserole that barely gets touched, skip it this year! Ask your guests what their favorite dishes are ahead of time so you can plan a Florida Thanksgiving menu they will enjoy.
6. Opt for Simple Holiday Decor
Getting your home in the Florida Thanksgiving spirit doesn’t have to take a lot of work or money. Opt for simple, natural decorations like fall leaves, pinecones, and pumpkins, some of which may even be found in your own backyard.
7. Have a Plan for Leftovers
Let’s face it… there WILL be leftover turkey. So go ahead and plan out a few fun and creative meal ideas to save your family from eating the same thing for the next week. Alternatively, you could freeze the leftovers and eat them in the months to come. No one wants to see good food thrown out.
Here’s wishing you and your family a happy Florida Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year?