Christmas! There’s nothing like it. The sights, sounds, smells, and togetherness! If only it wasn’t so expensive! Whether gift giving gets out of control or the festive meal tips the bank account, the joy can easily turn into stress that smothers the whole experience. Well, let’s don’t let that happen!
Less really is more. We feel better. We can focus on the real festivities and meaning. The meal doesn’t have to be lacking to be delicious! With a little planning, it can be everything it needs to be to make the holiday bright! When it comes to the meal itself, one way to cut costs for everyone is to designate each person or family member to bring a dish. Be specific so there wouldn’t be any duplicates. If you’re the host or hostess that wants to do it all, it is possible to feed a crew for under $50!
How does ham, mashed potatoes, garlic green beans, sweet potato soufflé, buttered rolls, tea with lemon and chocolate pecan pie sound? Amazing? Well, let’s get started!
The largest investment is meat. Keep an eye out and catch a spiral ham on sale for around $25. Then voila! The main dish is done. No cooking required and no mess… which is a huge plus.
Trader Joe’s has bags of frozen green beans for $2 per bag. Two will be plenty. Bake them in the oven until tender, drizzled with some garlic butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper for a healthy, less overwhelming dish
For the sides, a five-pound bag of potatoes will feed and fill. Plus, they are cheap. For around $3 you’ll have a bowl full of buttery potatoes that even the pickiest eaters can’t resist.
Sweet potato soufflé is an inexpensive side but such a tasty holiday addition. Two cans of yams and a few staples you already have on hand will pull this together. Top it with mini marshmallows sprinkled with chopped pecans and brown sugar to dress it up for Christmas! The total cost will come in around $6.
Sweet Potato Soufflé
2- 40 oz. canned yams
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Drain and mash yams in a large mixing bowl. (Check for and remove stringy parts)
Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.
Pour into a large buttered baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.
Sprinkle with mini marshmallows and chopped pecans.
Return to oven, watching closely until marshmallows are melted and lightly browned.
You may also be sprinkled with butter and brown sugar mixture.
Pick up some brown and serve rolls for a couple of dollars. My mom always used these…with a slice of butter melted between the warm layers…you can’t go wrong!
Teabags are such a deal they almost don’t even register on the meal price list. Lipton family size tea bags are approximately $2 for 24 bags. You’ll only need 4 bags per gallon of tea. Pick up a gallon jug of water for less than a dollar for better taste and storage. Add lemons for about 2 for $1.
For dessert, honestly, you can’t beat a Cracker Barrel pie for around $8. It’s much cheaper than making it yourself. And again, you save your sanity along with money. Giving yourself peace, goodwill and that “happy feeling nothing in the world can buy when they pass around the coffee and pecan pie”. Ok…so it isn’t pumpkin pie but everyone likes pecan better anyway!
There you have it…Christmas dinner for eight…on the table for less than $50! You even have enough left for two red taper candles to make it a cozy, candlelight meal to remember!
Some of these dishes require a dab of butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, garlic, a couple of eggs and other items that you more than likely have on hand. It would be impossible to come in under a $50 budget if you counted the price of every condiment from scratch. Staying ahead on those throughout the year will make the holidays easier. Start buying them here and there as fall approaches and you’ll be ready to hit the kitchen and your budget with ease