35 years ago when DH & I were poor struggling students, we still wanted our daughter to feel like she had a "Thanksgiving" meal. The first year we baked a Cornish Game hen. One little hen. I have a picture of her at 2 years old "carrying the bird" to the table - with such a serious look on her face for this awesome responsibility. I made a batch of orange Jell-O in the glass sherbets from my grandmother, & a batch of yellow Jell-O in the glass sherbets I found at a thrift store that matched my mom's. A can of spray whipped cream was optional, & as I recall, we also served mashed potatoes, stuffing & baked sweet potatoes (from a can), along with homemade pumpkin pie.I always saved a package of mellowcreme pumpkins from Halloween so we could place a pumpkin on top of a dollop of whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. The meal was not expensive, & one Cornish game hen serves 2 adults, so freeing up a "drumstick" for a 2 year old was not an issue. I remember I had the Jell-O in the pantry, along with the potatoes, sweet potatoes & canned milk, & we used the pumpkin from the door step, so all I really had to buy extra was the hen, the whipped cream & a box of stuffing mix. I stretched the stuffing mix by adding extra dried bread cubes. Total cost was less than $10.
In our house, it is still tradition to serve yellow Jell-O & orange Jell-O in the glass sherbets for Thanksgiving, red and green for Christmas, yellow and green for Easter. Separate colors in separate glass sherbets. Gelatin is an easy way to increase the "look" of plenty, & most kids like it. It dresses up very nicely in a glass sherbet. We have used tapioca pudding the same way.