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Murray Journal

The Gift of a Gift-less Holiday

Nov 05, 2015 10:25AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Joani Taylor

It’s almost here: turkey time. I’ve always felt that Thanksgiving gets cheated. Before Halloween is even over, the stores cram their holiday sections with Christmas displays and have stooped to bribery by bargain, in an effort to get you out spending dough before you’ve had time to digest your dinner rolls. Poor Thanksgiving: it gets skipped right over. 

Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. What other day of the year is it socially acceptable to stuff your face with potatoes covered in fat, yell at the television and sleep on the couch, all while enjoying the company of family and friends without the expectation of ANY GIFTS?

Don’t misunderstand; I’m only a wee bit of a cheap, old scrooge. I love the light that shines in a child’s eyes when the jolly old man in a red velvet suit lands on the rooftop and sneaks a toy under the tree. Who can complain about a furry little barnyard animal that hides chocolate eggs under sofa cushions? But, it seems that entertaining kids with giving gifts is taking over our holidays. 

Now we have creepy-looking elves wreaking havoc on the house and leaving daily surprises for an entire month. There are leprechauns that deliver gold coins. And, this year a Halloween witch has made her debut. She steals your candy in the darkness of night and leaves a gift in exchange. What’s next: the 4th of July, gift-bearing Uncle Sam? 

While I’d love to be the one to capitalize on the making of Tom the Turkey, who would gobble in on Thanksgiving eve to stuff a magic cornucopia full of candy feathers and toy pilgrims before popping himself in the oven, I’ll have to leave that one to the magic of the marketing pros. Until then, I am thankful that Thanksgiving is still a holiday that celebrates family without the expectation of presents. Joining together for a meal can take a toll on the wallet, though. Here are some tips for keeping the holiday eats big and cutting the budget to a minimum. 

 Keep It Simple: Alleviate yourself of the feeling that you have to prepare everyone’s favorite. Keep the popular favorites and get rid of the rest. My hubby loves a creamed corn casserole my grandmother used to serve, but no one else will touch it. So, I make it for his birthday instead. 

Shop the sales early: The best prices for Thanksgiving meal essentials start three to four weeks before the holiday. Watch the ads and start purchasing the essentials early. Look for free and discounted turkey promos. Most stores run them a couple of weeks before the big day. 

Clip the coupons: Pair your coupons with the sale items. If you’re a Smith’s shopper, check out a blog called You’ll find the unadvertised bargains, along with the clipable, printable and digital coupons for those items. Maceys has coupons right on their webpage ( Harmons has a secret coupon special every Tuesday on Facebook. And always check for last minute printable coupons before heading to the store.

Volunteer: Skipping your own Thanksgiving meal and   volunteering to serve up the chow at shelters like the Road Home or SL Mission is a great way to kick off the season of giving. If the volunteer schedule is full, consider making care packages for the homeless and then deliver them to the shelters on Thanksgiving.

Make your own decorations: Fancy napkin rings and centerpieces are expensive. Check your local craft stores for ideas on making your own. Have the kids get in on it and make some memories, too. You can find a weekly list of craft store coupons on 

Eating a dry turkey and unusual side dishes may not be the favorite of kids, but it is this gift-less holiday that joins family and kicks off the season of sacrifice, love and compassion, and that is one heck of a gift. 

Note: Last month’s column had a notation about finding early movie previews at advance(d) There was a typo: the actual website is, without the “d”.