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How to Live On $0 a Day: Saving a Cherished American Holiday

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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In 1621, the Pilgrims and Indians gathered for a harvest feast that became known as America's first Thanksgiving. Over the centuries, the legacy of gathering and giving thanks for a bountiful harvest has has evolved into a frenzy of gluttony and consumerism.

Sadly, this year, the only ones who will be able to properly observe this important and uniquely American tradition will be Wall Street executives, their families, friends, lobbyists and the politicians in their pockets (I hope they remember to order a kosher Turducken for Joe Lieberman).

If the rest of us don't make a few adjustments, Thanksgiving is in danger of becoming yet another American pastime that only the very rich can enjoy. But what can those of us without cash, valid credit cards or food do?

Hit the road
A short walk on the highway should provide everything you need for a delicious, all natural, Thanksgiving dinner much like the Pilgrims enjoyed, without having to spend a cent or harm a living creature. The roads are littered with freshly killed, free range venison, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, turkeys, pheasants and other game. They're free and yours for the taking. Save the pelts. They'll come in handy later this winter when the gas company cuts off your heat. Click here for roadkill recipes and preparation tips.

Side dishes are also plentiful along the roadside with offerings such as wild greens, aged carved pumpkins, berries and nuts. Do all you pureeing, mashing and tenderizing on the road and you'll have fewer dishes to wash afterward. Make sure to research edible plants before serving.

A sample menu idea:
*Brined, roasted deercoonsquirrel (deer stuffed with a raccoon stuffed with a squirrel)
*Sauteed nettle and wild mushrooms
*pumpkin and wild sorrel soup
*a festive melange of candy corn, orange pixie stiks and M&Ms leftover from Halloween.

Getting that big turkey dinner feeling without turkey or dinner
If you decide to forgo the Thanksgiving meal entirely, you can still recreate the sense of grogginess, fullness and mild nausea that comes from stuffing yourself with too much turkey and trimmings. With much less prep time.

First, shoplift a bottle of L-tryptophan (much easier to get out of the store than a 15 pound butterball). Take a few when you would normally be eating your Thanksgiving feast. Follow the pills with a cup of raw oatmeal (any raw grain that expands with fluid will also do). Wash down with several glasses of warm water. You'll have that sick beached whale feeling in no time. Pigeons have been known to explode using this method, so take it easy on the oatmeal.

For a post Thanksgiving sensation that't truly authentic, wear clothing that is several sizes too small around the waist.

Follow the Pilgrims' example
Ask your neighbors over for a potluck Thanksgiving feast, just like the Pilgrims invited the native Americans. Once you've enjoyed their delicious offerings, kill them and steal their possessions and property. This is especially satisfying if you have a Citibank in your neighborhood.

Family moments
You can still spend this special day in the presence of loved ones far away without the frustration and expense of travel. Skype lets you enjoy real face time with your family until someone inevitably storms out yelling: "" I try and I try to please you and you couldn't even be bothered to notice because you're too busy gurgling and cooing and buying presents for (insert sibling's name here). Well you can all go screw youselves!. I hate you and never want to see you again! Not that anyone gives a damn!". Now, that's Thanksgiving!

Charity
If you're anything like me, every Thanksgiving you swear that you'll help out at a soup kitchen next year. Let this be the year you actually do it. Pitch in and clean a plate. Two, if you're really hungry.