Holiday Meals without the Stress

It's that time again! The carols, the holly, the mistletoe (oh la la!) and unfortunately the stress. 

Between wrapping gifts, preparing meals and decorating who doesn't get stressed over the holidays? Here are some ideas and resources for filling hungry stomachs without emptying out your piggy bank. Plan your menu, shop for your groceries and extra things needed, and begin making preparations early. View our page here on Holiday Grocery Shopping: How to Bring Home the Bacon Without Breaking the Pig.

Planning meals may seem strange when most of us are hustling to get the job done. A planned menu saves time, money, and reduces stress. No more extra trips to the supermarket!  A menu plan also reduces impulse spending and improves good nutrition. Thus, there is more time to create healthy side dishes and salads complementing your meal.


  • Write the date of when you purchased the items. Take advantage of plentiful coupons and rebates in advance, by buying non-perishable items when they are on sale. If you buy certain items regularly, stock up for additional savings.
  • Know what you need. Then you won’t be tempted to spend on extra items
  • When you are planning that menu, remember you aren't feeding 10,000. Pick a few great things and make them great this holiday season.Or better yet, host a potluck and have each member of the family bring their favorite holiday items.
  • Many grocery stores double coupons, but some will even triple them from time to time. Increase your savings by combining a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for the same item.
  • Be an early bird, and beat those early birds! Wake up and get those savings! Some stores offer huge sales in accordance with the holiday, or during certain times of the day for a few hours. Go there early in order to bag the best deals on items. Success comes to those who prepare and put in the extra effort. So roll up your sleeves, read the papers, and find those coupons. 

Extra Resources:

  • Holiday Grocery List Food can be a real budget buster during the holidays.  With so many opportunities to gather around the table, stay on top of costs by keeping a list and checking it twice!  This is a list for your grocery shopping by food category.
  • 20 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store  The cost of food can really skyrocket during the holidays.  Here are some ways you can save organized by Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension. 
  • Holiday Turkey Dinner Calculator- from, this calculator finds the approximate amount of turkey along with the appropriate quantity of stuffing (dressing) and gravy needed to feed a family. There is tabled information below on thawing and cooking.
  • Couponing Guide: learn how to make the most of coupons to save you more as you purchase the things you need.   

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