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Celebrate Easter for Less!


Happy Easter, everybody!  Despite January-esque weather and frequent snow squalls – Easter is finally upon us, and I’m thrilled.  I love this holiday – it’s a fabulous day for so many reasons.  We’re *this* close to springtime, it’s a wonderful day to get together with family and friends and it’s the one day of the year where I can wear a big, obnoxious pastel hat to church without getting (too many) weird looks.  What’s not to love?


One of the best ways to celebrate the holiday is with a table full of family and friends.   For those who hold back on a full house for fear the costs will spin out of control, read on for fabulous tips on creating a magnificent Easter for easily half the cost of last year! Photo: miafrancescaraleigh.com


The Feast:  The most highly-effective tactic to slash costs on your Easter Meal is to delegate!  I would suggest the host or hostess be in charge of any ham or turkey, but when it comes to the side dishes, it’s time to let your beloved guests show off their best recipes!   In my family tree, I’ve got relatives coming in from all directions that are specialists in everything from dips to side dishes to desserts.  


Everyone coming to your house is going to want to bring something – let them put their special mark on the day with a recipe that they’re famous for!  Before you know it, your only culinary task for the day – your turkey and/or ham – will be sitting in your dining room surrounded by gourmet parmesan potatoes, a bottle or two of wine, herbed rolls and a side table filled with desserts, none of which you had anything to do with creating.  Score!


Decorations:  I’ll be honest, I’m not much for sophisticated decorations on Easter.  I pretty much pat myself on the back for setting the table with a pastel green tablecloth & bright pink napkins.  However, I know people who take the flowers & placecards to a level worthy of a visit from Queen Elizabeth.  Most people are somewhere in between.   My advice – if you have any kind of nearby flowering bushes (forsythia, etc.) that are blooming, cut a few dramatic branches for some tall arrangements in vases, or simply line them down the center of the table in and amongst the candles.  It looks fantastic, and fits in beautifully with the color scheme.  If you want to kick it up a notch and you’re expecting a guest who adores flowers, have them be in charge of the arrangements.  Boom, it’s off your list. 


The Candy:  If you’ve got young kids at your house (like me) you know that the candy costs can rapidly spiral out of control faster than you can say “nuclear sugar rush”.  That being said, we all want the kids to have a great time, we just don’t want to break the bank to do it.  No doubt you already have last year’s Easter baskets upstairs in the attic, so all you have to do is hit the nearest dollar store where fabulously fresh Easter candy can be had for a fraction of what you might pay retail.  Do yourself a favor and bring your basket with you to measure the amount of candy you’re getting.  You’ll be surprised just how little you really need.


Above all else, remember that the idea here is to appreciate this special holiday in ways that won’t wreck your budget  – surrounded by loving family and friends, hopefully some springtime weather, and if you’re really lucky, an obnoxious pastel hat. 


Happy Easter, everybody!


Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host & Columnist, Consumer Reporter and Author of “Brilliant Frugal Living”.  She lives in Chester County with her husband and two kids.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs on Philly’s News/Talk 1180 WFYL on Saturdays and Sundays.  You can find her online at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com

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Photo: miafrancescaraleigh.com