Make your Thanksgiving easy and stress free! Check out this Thanksgiving Planner and don’t forget to grab your FREE printable checklist!
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Ultimate Thanksgiving Planner
Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year and not sure where to start? No problem! I’ve got you covered! With this Thanksgiving Planner your Thanksgiving celebration will be stress free 🙂
It does take some planning, so let me show you how to tackle Thanksgiving like pro, one week at a time.
4 Weeks Ahead of Thanksgiving
- Make your guest list and decide who to invite.
- Decide on what type of Thanksgiving you want to host – formal, casual, potluck, etc. Do what works for you!
- Create a Thanksgiving Menu and then create a detailed shopping list.
- Send out invites if necessary. Either via post or electronically. Make sure you specify if (and what) they should bring.
- Place your order for a fresh turkey if that’s what you’re serving. The best turkey in my opinion!
- Order a centerpiece that goes with the ambiance of your celebration or buy supplies to make one. Here’s a DIY Thanksgiving Table Decoration idea that takes very little time and effort.
3 Weeks Ahead of Thanksgiving
- Make sure you have enough tables & chairs to seat all your guests. If you’re going to have a kids table, make sure you factor that in.
- Decide on linens and the dishware you want to use.
- Buy any kitchen items you need. Has your potato masher gone missing or do you need a new roasting pan?
2 Weeks Ahead of Thanksgiving
- Shop for any non-perishable items to beat the rush. Grab any paper products, wine, or any other items that won’t go bad.
- Clean out fridge & freezer. You need to make room for all the food and leftovers you’ll have.
- Cook anything that will freeze well – pie crusts, soups, stock, etc.
- Make place cards & table decorations. Enlist the kids to help!
Here’s a Thanksgiving (or Christmas) place card idea using cranberries!
1 Week Ahead of Thanksgiving
- If you’re buying a frozen turkey, now’s the time. Check local supermarket ads to get the best deal.
- Review recipes and prepare cooking schedule. This is a key step to ensure success.
- Prepare items to keep the kids busy – games, crafts, puzzles, etc. Here are some great Thanksgiving Games for kids.
4 Days Ahead of Thanksgiving
- Prep & clean house for guests.
- Begin defrosting your frozen turkey if that’s what you purchased. Frozen turkeys can take longer than you think to thaw.
- Decorate the house and put out non-perishables decorations like candles, pinecones or wreaths.
2 Days Ahead of Thanksgiving
- Buy your perishables & don’t forget to get ice!
- Clean veggies and then refrigerate.
- Chill your beverages.
- Take out anything out of the freezer you made ahead to defrost.
The Day Before Thanksgiving
- Prep food that can be made ahead. See below for ideas.
- Chop and peel all your veggies.
- Brine your turkey. I highly recommend this step and can tell you it makes a big difference if you don’t want a dry bird. Here are 7 Tips for a Moist and Delicious Turkey you must read!
- Spot clean all the rooms that will be used while you’re entertaining.
- Set out serving dishes & silverware. I also recommend setting your table.
- Fill condiment dishes like cranberry sauce and refrigerate.
- Put turkey in the oven according to cook time.
- Set out appetizers and snack foods.
- Assign family members tasks like watching the kids or filling beverages for guests.
- Make all other dishes, rolls, and gravy.
- Prep coffee 20 mins before you plan on serving it.
- Enjoy your dinner and give thanks!
Grab Your Free Printable Thanksgiving Checklist!
What Thanksgiving Food Can you Make Ahead
Thanksgiving dinner can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned cooks. There are several recipes you can make ahead to save time and stress leading up to Thanksgiving day. This little step is a lifesaver!
Here’s a guide of what food you can make ahead:
2 Weeks Before you can make and freeze:
- Pie Crust(s)
- Cranberry Sauce
- Dinner Rolls
- Sweet Potato Casserole
2 Days Ahead
- Dessert (pies, cakes or cheesecake)
- Roasted Vegetables
1 Day Ahead
- Mashed potatoes
- Salads (without dressing)
- Other sides
Best Thanksgiving Treats
One of the best ways to celebrate the holiday is with cute Thanksgiving treats! The kids can help with these and they’ll bring a smile to the face of all your guests!
What Time is Best for Thanksgiving Dinner
So, we call it Thanksgiving dinner, but the feast is usually served earlier in the day. Most common times are 2-4pm, but it can also be served as early as 12pm if your turkey is done.
Eating earlier gives you time for leftovers later in the day 🙂
Essential Kitchen Supplies You Need for Thanksgiving
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Click to view these essential items for preparing a delicious Thanksgiving feast.
What Size Turkey to Get for Thanksgiving
First, I suggest ordering a fresh turkey to ensure you get the type and size you want. I can tell you from experience, the flavor difference from a frozen one is worth the extra expense!
Make sure you reserve a fresh turkey two to three weeks in advance. The supermarket or farm will have times for picking up your bird just prior to Turkey Day – just make sure you put it in your schedule!
As for size of turkey, for a large party (10 to 12 people), you’ll need a 15-to-20-pound turkey – figure 1½ pounds per person.
Turkeys of 12 pounds or less have a smaller meat-to-bone ratio, so if your guest list is smaller, plan for two pounds for each guest.
Remember that the larger the bird, the more likely you are to have leftovers, which is a good thing in my book!
How to Carve Your Turkey
Other Thanksgiving Tips
Here are the Best Tips and Tricks for Thanksgiving to help you be thankful you hosted Turkey Day this year!
Here’s what you need to know about choosing wine for Thanksgiving.
Use your coffee thermos to keep your gravy warm. Once your gravy is done, just pour into a thermos and it will be hot when ready to serve.
Here’s a quick and easy Thanksgiving Table Decoration Idea.
Guests love this Thanksgiving appetizer.
Follow these Tips from the Thanksgiving Planner and make your family’s celebration run smoothly this year! Don’t forget to Grab Your Free Thanksgiving Checklist!
Enjoy and create some memories!