Easter with the Family
03/30/2014 12:15PM ● Published by Nancy Babin
Families thrive on gathering for the holidays—especially Easter. But the expense of serving a traditional Easter feast for the entire clan can be cost-prohibitive for some folks. With grocery prices rising like the morning sun, moms often struggle enough to feed the family every day—not to mention a ham, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, and all the other trimmings. If it’s your turn to have the tribe to your house, but you find yourself wanting to trim the trimmings, here are five ways to help lighten the load on your holiday budget.
Play the game
And I don’t mean baseball. If you want a traditional Easter meal you have to play the grocery store game. Start watching the ads early. Some stores require you save your receipts to earn free or reduced-priced hams. Others offer a free ham for a certain dollar amount in purchases. Do the math to see which store and which deal is the best for your family. Ingredients like sweet potatoes, eggs, butter, fresh produce, and marshmallows go on sale during this time of year. Watching the ads tells you when the price is right—not necessarily the week before the holiday.
Ask for help
Just because the family gathering is at your house doesn’t mean you have to provide all the food. There is no reason why cousin Kate couldn’t bring the bunny cake or sister Sally the colored eggs. If you provide the ham, ask each family unit to bring a dish. This is a great way for everyone to share in the load and appreciate the cooking skills and recipes of loved ones. In fact, have everyone that brings a dish bring the recipe typed on a 3x5 card. Collect all the cards and compile a little family cookbook to present to everyone.
Think outside the box
Do you really need to serve a traditional Easter meal? Take a poll of family members. Would pasta and salad suffice? If weather permits, how about a cookout while the children hunt eggs in the back yard? Our family likes to try different ethnic food on holidays. Try having a Chinese or German feast instead. If the focus is on the fellowship and not the food, it doesn’t really matter what you eat.
Use your china
Modern families think nothing of splurging on paper when the tribe comes to feast. From paper table cloths to paper plates, napkins, and cups, this habit adds a considerable expense to the meal. Show your family how special they are by breaking out the china. Do it up right with a linen table cloth, silver, and crystal. If you are nervous about the children using your precious things, at least give them the Corelle. Since no one wants to get stuck in the kitchen, when it comes time to do the dishes make a game of getting it done.
Skip the meal altogether
Rather than keeping to yourselves this Easter, consider having the family serve in a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or nursing home. Sharing love with those less fortunate than ourselves brings greater rewards than lolling over-stuffed on the sofa in front of a ball game. It also blesses others who generally are only thought of during the Christmas season. After sharing with others, invite the family back to your place for dessert and board games. You can even ask each family to bring their favorite dessert.
About the Author:
Carol J. Alexander, author of Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals, uses these ideas and more for saving money on her homestead holidays.