Thanksgiving 2010

In the United States tomorrow will be the Thanksgiving holiday, a day we gather together with our family and/or friends to give thanks for our blessings. This has been a tough year for a lot of us, and the economic news doesn’t seem to be brightening. But frugality is about more than just money, and has at its heart a gracious and abundant attitude. The frugal eschew waste and mindless spending in exchange for a measured approach to getting what they need, and sometimes what they want. They know that there is a sweetness in waiting for a desire to be satisfied. They understand the concept of enough.

The View from my Window in Watercolor by Julia Stege

Using that kind of frugality as a guide it is possible to be truly and deeply thankful for the relationships and things that we have even in an imperfect world. It gets easier when the measuring stick of money gets put on a very low rung on the priority ladder. The overall society is obsessed with that particular measuring stick, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be. If you have been walking down this road for awhile, you already have a network for keeping afloat, and perhaps even a bit of surplus, even if it only comes in the form of zucchini.

If you are new to all of this, I would like to say it gets better, as you find your footing in the gift and barter economy. But, just for right now, no matter what else is happening, ask yourself do I have enough today? Chances are that you already have a plan for Thanksgiving Day. That in itself is the sort of thing that can inspire gratitude. Even if is a public free meal, you are still inside, away from the cold, eating a meal in the company of other humans. That is a start. And most of us have a good deal more than that, even if we are unemployed, just lost the house, or whatever. I’m not saying it is fair, just that you will survive. And you still have plenty if you can see it.

So, on this Thanksgiving, I am setting aside the judgments and care to concentrate on the goodness of community, of the giving earth, and of the presence of love in the world. I am sure the rest can wait for a day. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

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This Year Make Thanksgiving a Simple Celebration of Frugal Abundance

Now that the Jack o’ Lanterns are all put away, it is time to start thinking of other uses for pumpkins-such as pie. Yes! It is time for Americans to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Even if money weren’t so tight for many of us this year there has been a trend towards a simpler easier approach. Gone for many are the days when one person, usually the oldest female in the family, was responsible for producing the entire Thanksgiving table. For those of you who have been in that position it’s a lot of work. Expensive too.

Thanksgiving is Almost Here

In an age when all parties seem to be potluck Thanksgiving is no exception. This relieves the hosts of a portion of both the work and the expense. One person really does have to be in charge in order to pull off a complex ritual meal such as Thanksgiving Dinner, really one the two pinnacles of the home cook’s year. And there may be one person in your crowd that truly loves to cook. But they might not be the same person.

The easiest most frugal way to handle this is to talk it over, pick a place, and assign chores. The family organizer set everything up and make sure that everyone knows what to bring. The host can buy just one item, probably the main course. This will probably be turkey unless everyone is a vegetarian. Each guest is responsible for buying, making, and transporting their dish. And everyone pitches in to clean up. There are some parts of a traditional Thanksgiving meal that have to be done at the very last minute, such as mashing potatoes and making gravy. The best cook can do that, and will likely love it, having been cheated out of doing too much for the rest of the meal. Just remember the true spirit of Thanksgiving is about gratitude and family, not about being perfect. If you are able to pull together your nearest and dearest and stuff yourselves, that is more than enough.

With the holiday only a few short weeks away it is time to get started. What role do you want to play? How do other people feel? You can make this the most fun Thanksgiving ever if you start now. And if you are one of the lucky people that have a great family to share this holiday with, consider inviting someone you know that doesn’t. Some people call them holiday strays. But whatever the name, this is the season of sharing, and it is part of the spirit of frugal abundance to spread the wealth around. Besides, that single friend might just make the best pumpkin pie in the world.

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