While normally I recommend doing your big budget review and adjustments at the new year, its just a great time to do so. This year be it a farm, homestead, mini or micro homestead or you are in a apartment with a allotment etc.
In our Zone 5 Ontario, Canada. Winter is coming! Our first major hard frost arrived last night, we have lighter frosts 4 out of the last 6 days so it was not a surprise and everyone locally had lots of time to get their garden harvests in this past week and weekend. The days have been in the high teens with lots of warming sun, and lighter breezes.
I have never seen so much demand both locally and across the province and I expect across the country on food banks and asking for thanksgiving baskets in order to help provide the meal. One part of me keeps a eye on how many 100 to 280 percent increase in food bank uses are showing up in the stats.
Another part of me is listening to those talking about what they are going to give up to provide the big meal, how many of them are talking about going to community supported meals and then on the flip side many are talking about just not having the meal all together or that they are not hosting this year as its to spendy. I have listened to so many peaple calling in to the local talk radio that are saying they are having to save and give up things in order to have their normal big meal.
While I do have friends that are choosing to not have this event due to personal beliefs and that is quite different, then not being able to afford the gathering or the meal itself.
It used to be that peaple did need to save for holdiay’s, that they did need to plan ahead and budget in for the food, for the company and so on. While it’s true that different family members would take turns hosting a lot of the time everyone headed back to the elder’s home be that grandma or Great Aunt May, everyone either brought a side dish to add in to the meal, or a bottle of something to be added to the bar or they would slip cash into the hosts hands, purse or apron pocket.
Just like we often say many hands make light work when it comes to gardens, farm work, housework and so much more. We need to go back to where you did not show up with empty hands and if you do need to do so, then you jump in and work for it, in your good cloths and host says no.. respect that but make sure you ask what needs help on and offer and then show up! See that they have firewood to stack, come back and help them get it done.
We do not need more pulling back, we need more community, while I respect the need for some to reach out to the community supported events. For most of us, we need put more plates at our tables, not less.
And we need to get over what the table should look like! O we have been so spoiled, we are used to having such massive plates, so much food! ALL THE TIME! We head out to eat out and those plates often have enough food on them for two or three or even 4 meals calorie wise.
These used to be called feasts for a reason, because it was the RARE time you filled your plate and could go back for seconds and desserts. As prices go up, as food costs more, as cooking the food costs more, as portions sizes are reduced, as we go back to asking when we open the fridge, can I eat this or is it part of a planned meal? As we go back to portioning out the meat for each person, it should mean that those gathering and feasting should bring back that feeling of extra of it being special.
Sit down and start your planning now for anything that you and your family do that adds to your monthly costs and start budgeting now and figure out what you can afford. It will be much easier to do this now then to deal with the stress of finding out “suddenly” that you can’t make it happen in the moment.
For us that is Thanksgiving, my 50th Birthday, Halloween and Christmas Holiday’s and New Years.
Somethings are being changed up meal planning wise to fit what we have in our freezers, example this thanksgiving, I am stuffing a big old home raised chicken as my Mini Classic Turkeys are not big enough for butcher yet (I will have turkey for christmas) and I am not buying a turkey.
Normally if I am not doing Turkey, I would do a ham, but the truth is while I could cure up some ham steaks, we have eaten all our hams and again, I am not buying a ham when I have full freezers.
We are back to the point that its costs big time to buy that big turkey or that big smoked ham, if you budget for it and want it, make it happen.
For many of us, it’s time to get creative! Maybe it’s time for a nice roast or a big platter of Baked Breaded Pork Chops, coleslaw with mashed potatos or sticky glazed chicken thighs with rice/veggies or perhaps fresh bread bowls with thick and creamy Corn and Potato Chowder.
As our budgets get tighter and our meals smaller and more basic something like a loaded potato Cheddar Chowder served up in your own freshly baked bread bowl can be a WOW meal for a get together!
Desserts, I mean pumpkin pie, it’s a favorite and I love it but there is a reason that it used to be a “dessert Tray” that came out with the tea and coffee. It was a way to make sure everyone got something they liked but just as important it was portion control. they were small one or two bite cookies, squares or tarts.
If you want to a plate for everyone, then go with a small plate and do a tiny portion with a little bling!
So with Canadian Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, did you plan for the meal, did you put it in the budget or are your flying by the seat of your pants? Going full out and cost be dammed? if so, what is the price difference between last year and this year? Changing the menu? How much will those changes save your cost wise overall or per person? Are you already working on your fall budgets?