3 Weeks Before
Make a Guest List and Invite them!
Small gathering? Big gathering? Come one, come all? Get the word out and make sure you let everyone know when you need your final count.
Order Your Organic Turkey
If you like specialty turkeys, be sure to order your turkey well in advance. Call nearby farmer markets, look on Nextdoor for references or find one online from a specialty store. You could also find a restaurant who may be selling pre-cooked turkeys!
Start Checking for Local Grocery Deals
Stores may start popping up with buy one get one’s on canned goods or frozen things that you can buy well in advance. Keep an eye out and buy what you can early to take advantage of savings!
Plan Your Menu
If you have the traditional Thanksgiving menu your family makes year after year, this may be redundant for you, but it never hurts to have everything down in writing. Assign dishes to family members or guests coming, or look for a new recipe to try this year to spice things up! Make sure you have your menu planned for the appropriate guest attending that year.
2 Weeks Before
Audit your Linens
Using cloth napkins and tablecloths? Make sure they are clean and ironed well in advance. Alternatively, stock up on paperplates and paper napkins if you’re going the casual route.
Plan your Decorations
Are you a simple decor person or an allp-out-decorations everywhere gal? Figure out how you’re going to set your table and make sure you have all the fixin’s!
Buy a Frozen Turkey
Don’t forget the big guy! He’s most important!
Check Kitchen Supplies and tools
Did your baking sheet take a turn for the worse this year? Audit your cookwear and bakewear to be sure you’re ready to go! Or donate what has seen better days!
Finalize What Dishes Your Guests Will Bring
Send a quick text, email, or wow- make a phone call to guests to be sure they are on board with what they are bringing! If it’s a really important dish, you may want to have a back-up just in case there’s an emergency and they can’t attend.
1 Week Before
If you are doing fresh flowers, place your order at least a week before. Consider having them delivered a day or two before Thanksgiving to allow them to fully open!
Make sure you’re stocked with everyone’s favorites. It never hurts to have more than you need – it won’t go bad!
Plan Activities for Children
Many little ones underfoot? Plan ahead with some easy activities for them to do! Here are some fun activities that have been proven to work in our house!
Check Your Seating
Count chairs – have enough? If not, make sure those foldable, stackable chairs are clean and ready to go!
Create the Master List
Itemize your grocery list for the final day. Never hurts to check this list twice!
Shop for the Non-Perishables
Get the big shopping out of the way by grabbing all the frozen goods or non-perishables. Give yourself some breather time to organize the pantry!
Prep Anything That Can Be Frozen
If it can freeze- cook it and freeze it. One more thing off the list! Turn on some Christmas music to get in the spirit!
Clean The House
If you have kids, this may be pointless – ha! But it never hurts to start getting the laundry done, toys in their bins and have general tidiness in the house!
My Mom always had the table sat a few days ahead of time. Took the guesswork out of the day by having seats set up, serving pieces out and all things accounted for!
Finish Prepping Linens
Iron, wash, fold and set out!
Make Your Pies
Unless you’re my brother-in-law who prefers to make his special Chocolate Pie the night before, then prep your pies a day or two early.
Begin Defrosting Your Turkey
The rule of thumb is 24 hours for every 4 pounds. Put it in the fridge to let the magic making begin!
Set Your Final Cooking Schedule
A quick list of menu items and how long it takes to cook each one will help keep you organized.
Set it and forget it. Have your dishes set out with post-it’s on them that name each dish. Be sure to also include servewear for each dish so you can be sure you have enough!
Perishable Shopping Trip
This is the trip to grab only what you need that’s fresh. Get in, get out, get home. It’ll be a madhouse and you’ll be glad you already got the bulk of the ingredients!
Chop, clean or dice anything that can be done. Throw in Ziploc bags to have ready to go!
This is your final chance to tidy up before the big day. Run the vacuum, spot check your tabletops and counters one last time and check the windows and mirrors for any big smudges. Make room in your front hall closet for guest coats.
Put Clean Towels In Your Guest Bathroom
Grab some freshly washed towels and be sure your guest bathroom is stocked with them, toilet paper and anything else you like to leave out for guests!
Set the Table
Why not? Throw on some music, set the table and channel all the things you love about your family (and ignore those thoughts of what you don’t like – ha!)
Chill White Wines
Make sure all the wine is cold – that includes juice boxes, too!
Cook! Drink! Relax!
Try your best to remember what you’re grateful for. And if the only thing you’re grateful for, is for the holiday to be done and this year to be over with, then so be it. Gratitude is everything.