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Hello Lovely Readers! In this post, I will share my tips and tricks for how to plan for Thanksgiving. This post helps with a list of things you should do as soon as possible. This will include supplies that may run out or take a while for delivery. Then, read How to Plan for Thanksgiving, (Part Two) to learn my tricks for food prep and the actual holiday itself.

Can you believe it’s already the second week of November? Thanksgiving dinner is such a big holiday meal/day to execute! My most helpful tip is to plan! Read through this timeline and see what works for you! Make your list and be sure to delegate. With kids at home from school, ask everyone what would make this a more FUN holiday for all! And then, ask everyone for help! Happy planning!

cute centerpiece turkey on table.  This is the first decoration I put out when I am starting to plan for thanksgiving

Right Now (2-3 weeks before Thanksgiving). This is How to Plan for Thanksgiving

  1. Figure out who’s coming and think about which items you might want them to make/buy/bring. Don’t be shy. This is a big event and people want to help. Let them help so you won’t be so wiped out.
cute turkey with a sign saying "eat crow"
Also part of the plan for thanksgiving rituals

2. TODAY: Order or find in your kitchen these items: your platters, bowls, meat thermometers, kitchen twine, gravy boat, serving pieces, cheesecloth, gravy separator, large sheet pans, etc.

3. TODAY: Order or collect any napkins, tablecloths, votives, candles, and paper goods you’ll need for the celebration. For a gorgeous Thanksgiving tablescape, check out this post.

4. This is the time to make any name cards if you’re planning to use them. Several years ago I saw these cute paper turkeys made out of cupcake liners on the Today show. I made them and save them from year to year in a special drawer. I just make new ones for any new additions to the guest list. My cupcake liners were from Sur la Table several years ago. Here are similar ones, for the rainbow-striped turkey bodies. Here are the white mini liners for the heads. And here is construction paper for the beak, waddle, and brown place card.

Really cute turkey place cards made with rainbow cupcake liners

5. Check to see if you have enough plates, silverware, and glasses for your guests. Here’s a similar pumpkin tureen to the one below.

terrific one-quart plastic containers for leftovers.

6. Make your menu. Try and be realistic about the number of items you prepare. Order TODAY anything including your fresh turkey (if using fresh), from the bakery, specialty food shops, or florist. Consider how much oven space you have, what items guests could bring, and how much time you have to prepare. If you’re short on oven space, you can use a slow cooker to keep dishes like mashed potatoes warm.

7. This next step is REALLY IMPORTANT! Take the time TODAY to really read through each recipe. Make sure it’s not crazy difficult as there are LOTS of things to be made. When in doubt, pick a tried and true recipe. If you want to experiment, do so on just one or two items. The others will be more on auto-pilot, so less stressful.

8. Order any supplies online if you think they may be tough to find. One year I called or went to five stores looking for pomegranate molasses! Now it’s Amazon for that!

plastic quart containers and lids for leftovers

8. Order any supplies for sending home leftovers. Several years ago Mr. GQ helped me out by ordering plastic one-quart containers with lids. They’re great for leftovers (for my kids when we have Sunday dinners) and I use them for homemade soups as well.

9. Buy liquor, soda, wine, and beer as this will all keep.

That’s enough for now.  Stay tuned as this week I’ll break the rest of the timeline down for you in the post How to Plan for Thanksgiving, (Part Two).  I’ll share my menu with you as well as all of the fun recipes that I’ve collected over the years.  This holiday is really a marathon and the more prepared you are, the less pressure you’ll feel. So you’re on your way to planning for the Biggest Feast of the Year 🍽🦃🍁!!!


Dr. Julie

PS Here are some more holiday posts for you to enjoy:

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