We’re hosting Mr. Frugalwoods’ family for Thanksgiving! This is our third consecutive year serving as the stewards of this fine holiday and we are thrilled. Homebody that I am, I absolutely love hosting people in our home. Well, not random people per se, but people we actually know.

Our table last Thanksgiving. Yes, in fact that is the remains of a gin & tonic next to my wine glass…

My in-laws (parents + siblings) will be here at Frugalwoods HQ for 4 days and nights. We’re all looking forward to endless rounds of Canasta, much talking, laughing, wine drinking, jesting, and general revelry. I’m grateful that my in-laws are such an easygoing, fun bunch of folks who really respect and appreciate the home that Mr. Frugalwoods and I have created.

Cranberries on the stove last year!

It means a lot to me that they’ve traveled to spend Thanksgiving at our home these past two years. It makes me feel like a real adult (unlike the rest of the time when I’m just some frugal weirdo going around digging through trash piles). Plus, I have to hand it to my in-laws for rolling with our frugal city life when they’re here.

Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for the Frugalwoods. There’s not much materialism associated with it and you get to cook in bulk, with ingredients bought on sale! There’s no compulsion to buy gifts, or costumes, or fireworks, or a live groundhog.

Granted, it yields a ton of food, but, Mr. Frugalwoods is pretty judicious about freezing and reusing all of our leftovers. I anticipate very little will go to waste. Plus, Frugal Hound is a certified turkey freak. Since we rarely eat meat, our little hound goes nuts for it every Thanksgiving. She about licked my hand off when I fed her a few pieces of bird last year.

The turkey freak scouting last year’s leftovers. Sidenote: I’d forgotten how ugly our cabinets were before we painted them!

Furthermore, Thanksgiving is really a great holiday for me because I don’t cook. Ahhh yes, you can see why I love Thanksgiving so much. I do bake the pies and clean the house in advance, but the Thanksgiving feast is entirely the domain of my main man, Mr. FW. He outdoes himself every year and the result is always a level beyond stupendous.

But most importantly, we’re able to simply spend time with our family. I hit the in-laws jackpot–I truly have the most wonderful in-laws. They love me, I love them, we both love Mr. FW, who also loves us in return, and everyone loves Frugal Hound. We’re basically just LOLing (lots of loving) all over the place.

 Frugal Hound getting toweled off after a bath. She’s so embarrassed that I posted this.
Frugal Hound after last fall’s bath. Dejected, but clean.

Another pro for Thanksgiving is that critical juncture in our Thanksgiving preparedness: The Bathing of The Hound. Poor Frugal Hound is bathed but twice a year, in spring and fall she does meet the suds of the tub, with much protest, and oh her little feetsies we do scrub. Basically she hates it and it’s a ridiculous scramble of fur, water, and limbs. But, she gets clean and we get filthy in the process. And, since we do it ourselves at home in the bathtub, we don’t incur the exorbitant costs of a groomer.

P.S. Does anyone in the Boston area know where we can find the cheapest turkey bird? We’ll go comparison shopping, but if someone else has already done it…. not that I’m lazy, but…. just sayin’. Mr. FW, after reading this, requested that I add the following: “tell them that I’m looking for a good value on a quality bird. I don’t want some janky turkey bird.” Duly noted, Mr. FW, duly noted.

Mr. FW displaying our turkey last year
Mr. FW displaying our turkey last year


The sweetness of having our family come visit always sharpens the pain of not living near them. Mr. Frugalwoods and I hate that we live so far away from both of our families. While we see them a few times a year and talk on the phone often, it’s just not the same. I have this utopian vision of us all living together in a little rural town on adjacent homesteads, but I’m not sure that any of them share that dream with me… Come on guys! You know you want to!

If you’re in the US, what are your Thanksgiving plans? If not, what holidays do you celebrate with family?

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  1. There is nothing worse than janky bird! My hubs keeps telling me he’s going to shoot one of the turkeys that walks into our backyard since we live in the country. How redneck does that sound? I’m thinking getting one at food lion sounds good. 🙂

      1. Hah! Not sure I’d go for roadkill, but, your husband might be onto something there, Robin… free range wild turkey!

  2. That is so wonderful that your families are traveling to see you guys! We are actually hosting Thanksgiving as well this year. Funny enough, it’s Will’s favorite holiday and he loves that we usually host Thanksgiving. Our challenge this year will be the fact that four of our family members have gluten allergies so we will be working on a gluten-free Thanksgiving menu this year. Fortunately we get a free turkey every year from my hubby’s school so we got that covered. Happy turkey planning!

    1. We hosted our first Thanksgiving last year. Mr. Maroon and I did all of the cooking even. We have been a gluten-free family since Mini Maroon 1’s first birthday – we cut gluten and cut the recurring ear infections! With just a little creativity and alternative flours (rice, millet, almond, coconut, and lots more), a gluten-free Thanksgiving is very do-able. I’d love to hear back about what you choose!

    2. That’s so sweet that Will loves hosting Thanksgiving! What wonderful memories for him (and you!). Best of luck with the gluten-free menu. And, nicely done on the free turkey!

  3. Since this will be the second year I will be home during Thanksgiving since quitting my job, I think I’ll be giving cooking the turkey a try this year. My first time was so good, I was pretty amazed. We normally stay home and spend it with the family. Then the weekend is where we come up with different recipes to use all our left overs. I truly enjoy Thanksgiving because is family and relaxing time for us.

    1. That’s great that you’ll be home for Thanksgiving–I really feel for people who have to work during the holiday. Good luck with your bird 🙂

  4. That’s so nice that you get to host the family for Thanksgiving. We drive halfway across the country to go see my family for Thanksgiving and then my parents come visit us for Christmas. I totally agree that it is the worst being so far away from family. We only see them 3-4 times a year which is definitely not enough. And now thanks to your pics, I’m drooling thinking about Thanksgiving turkey. Yum!

  5. I would be with you on the not cooking thing but doing some cleaning and baking, and I’m also with you in that I like thanksgiving over Christmas for that same reason. I will probably run a 5k that morning for a charity, then buy a whole foods meal and watch movies at home. Pretty sad eh?

    1. Sounds pretty relaxing, actually :)! I like the 5K charity run idea for the morning–a good start to the day for sure.

  6. Your family plays Canasta?!?! That is our FAVORITE game!! My mom and I played when I was growing up, and she played with her mom growing up! Now, my husband and I play at least three times per week! Haha – love that I found a fellow Canasta lover!!

    We just moved from AZ to NC so we are spending Thanksgiving all by our lonesome 🙁 We have two little girls so we’re going to make it as fun as possible for them (which should be easy considering they are 2 and 1, lol). My parents are coming to visit in December, so we’re going to have a big feast plus celebrate Christmas a little early. While I love NC more than anything, I do miss my family terribly!

    Hope you and Mr. Frugalwoods have a wonderful weekend!!

    1. Hooray Canasta!!!! No one knows the game, but it is the BEST! I played it with my parents growing up and I taught it to Mr. FW and my in-laws a few years ago. Now, they’re Canasta fiends :). I’m so excited that you play too!

      Hope you have a wonderful cozy Thanksgiving with your family. And, NC is great–my in-laws actually live there.

  7. We just moved across the country from our families. It will be just the four of us for Thanksgiving and we haven’t decided what to do yet–whether we’re going to go all-out and cook a turkey or just roast a chicken or something (which I have also never done) and just tell the kids that MOST people eat turkey , but WE’RE eating chicken. We are flying home for Christmas, but no one in the family can afford two sets of plane tickets even if Mr FP had enough days off work to make the trip worthwhile. (He does not.)

    1. I’m with you on the Thanksgiving/Christmas trade-off. They’re really too close together to warrant two separate trips. I like your chicken idea!

  8. I’m traveling down to Texas to visit my boyfriend’s family this year. I’m looking forward to spending a week in the Hill Country and enjoying the warmer weather for a few days. I, too, lament the distance from family. My parents are near Boston and my sister is in Oakland, so there isn’t much time for us to all be together each year.

  9. we live literally across the country from our families and haven’t shared Thanksgiving with them for 9 years. This year, we will have another quiet, but traditional (ish, remember I’m vegan) thanksgiving meal. Then hubs family will come visit us for the rest of the long weekend.

    1. That’s nice that your in-laws will come for the weekend. And, your little family Thanksgiving sounds perfect and cozy!

  10. I agree with Mr. F.W. on the “janky turkey bird” thing. Jay saw some turkeys on sale this morning at Walmart. I’ve never heard of the brand, if that WAS a brand. I don’t care how cheap it is, I need to have heard of it. We wait for the Marvel turkeys to go on sale. They only sell them at one store in our area about 20 minutes from here, but after trying different brands year after year, Marvel is still hands-down the best in our humble turkey eating opinions. 🙂

    1. I’m such a fan of any holiday that’s not focused on spending money! Thanksgiving seems to fit the bill well 🙂

  11. I’m kinda a scrooge when it comes to holidays. I reluctantly take part when I do. I always make sure I’m hope for Christmas. But the other holidays depend purely on whether or not I can fit a trip home in to my schedule. I’m lucky, my hometown is only an hour and a half away so I can go there any time I’m free, My mother comes in to the city a fair amount for things like doctors appointments and shopping. We do try and make an effort to get together for birthdays since my Nephew was born, Mainly to hear that sweet voice sing Happy Birthday. I did get home for Thanksgiving last month but that was purely coincidental.

    1. That’s nice that you live so close to home! And, how fun that you’re able to get together for birthdays. We haven’t been able to do that with family for many years now.

  12. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK but I love Christmas as we get to get together with family and spend some quality time with them. I help out with the cooking but am not responsible for it so it takes a weight off my mind in that respect 🙂

    1. I’m so excited for Christmas already too! Fall is just one wonderful holiday after another, in my opinion 🙂

  13. Usually we host Canadian Thanksgiving at our house, but we went to the in-laws this year because it was easier for an older family member. So we owe them a Thanksgiving, so maybe we’ll steal your American Thanksgiving. Although my mom will be in town in a couple weeks so maybe that would be a better time…

    Enjoy your family gathering. Four days hosting!

  14. It sounds like you have a lovely Thanksgiving planned!!! We will be going to my parents house … Yay! … that means no cooking for me;0) Well, I’m sure I’ll bring something. The hubbie’s family lives in Missouri and we don’t see them too often … both of his parents have passed but we really should make an effort to see his brothers once in a while …

  15. Being immigrants we don’t really adapted to thanksgiving but we get invitation every year from friends. we do potluck and the host usually makes a lot more. I am also not a big turkey eater but love other things a thanksgiving brings along with Turkey. But I do love the few vacation days.

    1. I’m definitely more in favor of the side dishes as well. I’m not that into meat in general, but, the turkey is so traditional for our families. That’s really nice that you have friends to spend the holiday with!

  16. Having moved away from family earlier this year, we debated back and forth what to do. In the end we have decided to make it an immediate-family Thanksgiving at home – just the four of us. We will cook a traditional spread, just reduced in size. But shhhh… we haven’t told my parents yet.

  17. Not sure what the price is on the actual turkey, but both Ibotta and Checkout51 are advertising $5 of a Turkey (I *think* it’s the Jenny-O brand?) I haven’t gone out in search of a turkey yet, but they’re starting to appear in our circulars.

  18. You crazy Americans celebrating Thanksgiving a month late. 😉 :p

    Sounds like you have a lovely Thanksgiving planned. It’s always great to enjoy Thanksgiving with your family. For our “Canadian” Thanksgiving this year we didn’t do turkey but went with roast beef instead.

  19. Oh man, the board games and dominoes and cards are THE BEST part of family holidays! As for us, we are having vegan thanksgiving with local friends instead of flying across the country on super-expensive holiday tickets. It’s both cheap and awesome on a variety of levels. Black bean soup and sweet potatoes mirepoix, here we come!

    1. Our families are both devotees of cards and board games, which makes for some pretty fun holidays. We (obviously) dispense with our vegetarianism for Thanksgiving :). But, I’m super impressed with a vegan menu!

  20. Sounds like you have a great holiday coming up! When my family gets together for Thanksgiving we always eat a ton of delicious food and then play games all afternoon. It’s pretty fun, until someone gets hurt. We are all super competitive and don’t like losing at the games, even though they’re not life and death.

    1. Hahaha! We’re all fairly competitive too and my parents always joke that someone is going to break a finger playing cards… I honestly could see it happening 🙂

  21. That’s awesome you get to be with your in laws and eat lots of delicious food. This year, I’m staying local. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving so for the past 8 years I’ve traveled — mostly to SF, but also Argentina and Vancouver, B.C. Because my partner and I are going to LA for Xmas for 2 weeks to be with our families, it made sense to stay close for Thanksgiving.

    1. I love traveling over Thanksgiving! We’ve gone to Europe a number of times over the holiday–it’s an awesome time to fly from the US abroad.

  22. This will be my first Thanksgiving holiday in the US with DH so I believe we’ll be heading over to the MIL for some good home cooked West Indian food! I am already salivating at the thought of it. I’m happy for you and Mr. FW that you’ll be spending the holiday with family members.

  23. LOL, Frugalhound looks like a thief caught in the act as she’s looking over those leftovers. 🙂 Thanksgiving is my fave holiday too, as the focus can be on people and not on stuff. We host my fam every year, and I’m so extra excited for it as I learned, for the first time last year, the benefits of brining the turkey before you cook it!!! I can’t believe I didn’t know about that earlier. Now our turkeys come out extra juicy and delicious. 🙂

    1. Oh I know, she looked so guilty even though she hadn’t done anything! She wanted that turkey so bad! Have fun hosting–I’d be curious to hear your full menu…. we’re still putting ours together.

        1. Thank you so much for the link! I hadn’t thought of publishing our menu in detail, but maybe I will. If I can get my chef to write the post, even better 😉

  24. Thankfully both our families live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, so they are close. We see them for most holidays and we’ll probably spend Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and then the day after at my wife’s grandma’s condo with her side of the family. I think we’re going to make a Thanksgiving -type feast just for us two as well.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. That’s wonderful you can see both families! We’re always trying to figure out how to allocate our time across the two to make sure we get to see everyone.

  25. I also love Thanksgiving! I used to joke that the reason I couldn’t be an NFL football player was because they played games on Thanksgiving and I’d rather hang out with the family and celebrate the holiday.

    It is also nice to have a holiday where instead of worrying about getting gifts for everyone, you are free to just gather together and enjoy each other’s company.

    Wishing you a happy Turkey Day!

    1. Hah–so true about football! Of course I couldn’t play in the NFL because I have zero sports-related skills :). Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  26. To say it nicely, our extended family get togethers are not nearly as enjoyable as yours, so for the last couple of Thanksgivings, we enjoy our little family of three plus Mo. We tend to buck the traditional Thanksgiving dinner for odd things. One year we had lasagna. Sometimes we have steaks. We actually had turkey last month in our clean out the freezer challenge, so I think we’ll do something non-traditional again this year. I guess we’re making our own weird traditions!

    1. I love that you’re creating your own traditions! I think that’s great. We’ve had some pretty non-traditional Thanksgivings as well since we’ve traveled abroad over the vacation a number of times.

  27. We spend thanksgiving in California with my wife’s family (we host it at our house now). For Xmas, we travel back to Kansas to see my family. It makes for an expensive trip with 3 flights to pay for now that our oldest is over 2 and has to have his own seat. Next year, it will cost us 4 tickets! Yikes.

    1. Flight prices are such a pain! We’ve actually started flying to CA to see my family in January because it’s so much cheaper than flights at Christmastime.

  28. I remember my brother who invited us to celebrate Thanksgiving at California last year. It was the first time that we did pot-luck meal. The idea was really bright because we had almost everything we wanted. My brother, the host, prepared the most expensive part–the turkey. This year, he’ll get that task again. 😀

  29. I <3 Frugal Hound! I feel you on wishing family was closer, especially for the holidays. My family is in NY/FL and my husband's in Idaho, we are in SoCal.
    A word of warning re: turkey and dogs – a couple of years ago my old dog Max (large mutt dog, now passed on) had a large turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. He ended up with pancreatitis, which the vet informed us came from eating too much turkey. Apparently eating too much fatty food can overstimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and the pancreas actually starts digesting itself, which can be life-threatening and lead to other complications (you can google the details). Max had to stay in the animal hospital overnight for two nights and was in a lot of pain. The vet bill was expensive, and this was probably 10 years ago now. Max had always had turkey before and never had a problem, but this particular year he had a bowl full of the stuff (courtesy of my stepfather, dog lover/spoiler to a fault). Anyway, I didn't mean to be a debbie-downer but wouldn't want anything to happen to the lovely Frugal Hound. 🙂

    1. Poor Max!

      While Frugal hound wishes she got a bowl of turkey, she actually just gets some turkey gravy dribbled on top of her kibble along with the occasional small nickel-sized bit of actual meat.

      I had no idea about the pancreatitis risk! Honestly, I was more worried about too much turkey causing gastrointestinal problems… if you get my drift 🙂

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