We’re seven for Thanksgiving this year—me, Nathan, my parents, our friends Margaret and David (who are Canadian and who treated us to a great Canadian Thanksgiving dinner last month), and my friend Suzie, who’s an excellent baker. Oh, and our neighbor’s beagle, who we watch when they’re away. We love that dog so much they’re lucky they get her back. And knowing the way my parents like to show dogs love with treats, they’re probably going to get back a little more beagle than they dropped off.

I was looking at the table linens the other day when I noticed that some of the cloth napkins have faded, while others are as colorful as the day I bought them—which was for a Thanksgiving about five years ago. Okay, seven. Maybe more.

I thought about what Mom would do, which is run out and buy new napkins, along with new placemats and a new coordinating tablecloth. But that was pre-recession Mom, the one who had retirement money socked away and who could absolutely justify spending about a hundred bucks on new table linens. For one dinner.

Now, with all of our 401(k)s having shrunk down to 201(k)s and money being tighter than my pants the day after Thanksgiving, I’m saying no to new linens. No to unnecessary expenditures of any kind. And yes to saving money where we can, and to putting it where it can do the most good—health insurance, college funds, savings accounts that earn decent interest, a charitable donation that provides a tax write-off and helps someone out.

My plan is to make the Thanksgiving dinner so good that nobody notices how the napkins are a little faded and that none of the placemats match in color. So this year, go ahead and put out your chipped china, your mismatched forks, your assortment of mugs and antique teacups, and feel good about focusing on what’s important: time spent with our families, eating wonderful food.

By the way, here’s our Thanksgiving menu: turkey with roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, and carrots; mashed potatoes; potato bread stuffing (the only kind I could find that didn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it!); cranberry chutney; pumpkin pie; apple pie. Please tell me what you’re having, and if there’s a traditional family specialty, please put the recipe in the Recipe Box!

Happy holiday, everyone!