Thanksgiving – with the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy – is quickly approaching. The husband and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at our house this year. We are incredibly excited about baking the first turkey since we got married. We typically travel to Florida to visit family. However, we have decided to stay in Georgia and celebrate in our beautiful new home.
There is always so much to do at this time of the year. With a little planning and organization, you will have a successful holiday. I make no promises for how well your family will behave.
Free Thanksgiving Planning Checklist
This year I created a checklist to help the husband and I plan for the big day. Checklists always help me to stay organized and help me to manage my time. I am excited about my Thanksgiving planning checklist and I am happy to share it with you. You can download a copy of the checklist by clicking here.
What does the checklist include? I have broken out the many stages of planning for Thanksgiving: early month to the final week leading to the big day.
- Invite guests
- Buy frozen turkey or order fresh turkey
- Plan menu
- Plan decorating
- Order floral center pieces to guarantee delivery
- Make a to do list, listing all the little things that must be done before the big day
7 Days Before Thanksgiving
- With your menu in mind, ensure you have all the kitchen tools and platters you will need for Thanksgiving day.
- Check your linens; Clean or replace as necessary.
- Finalize what items your guests will bring.
- Check your fire extinguisher
- Clean refrigerator and freezer to ensure ample space will be available.
- Create a seating plan.
5 Days Before Thanksgiving
- Start defrosting the frozen turkey in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
- Plan ahead to allow a full day for every 4 pounds of turkey being thawed.
- Clean the house
- Compose final shopping list and shop for non-perishables
- Finish prepping linens
- Prep dishes that can be frozen
- Save money on ice. Start making your own ice cubes now. When frozen, dump them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer.
4 Days Before Thanksgiving
- If you are planning to bake pies for dessert, make the dough for the crust, roll it out, lay it into pie plates, and freeze.
- Finish decorating.
2 Days Before Thanksgiving
- Homemade stuffing often calls for stale bread; cut and cube the bread now.
- If making homemade cranberry sauce, make it now. This will give time for the flavors to develop.
- Begin chilling white wines
- Have center pieces delivered or buy fresh flowers
1 Day Before Thanksgiving
- Make a staging area for coffee, drinks, and desserts
- Spot clean the house
- Shop for perishable items Defrost pie dough; assemble and bake pies
- Make vegetables and side dishes, such as casseroles and reheat them tomorrow
- Peel potatoes and refrigerate them in a pot of cold water
- Brine the turkey
- 8:30 am – Remove turkey from the refrigerator and allow it to set for 1 hour at room temperature.
- 9:30 am – Preheat the oven and stuff turkey
- 9:45 am – Put turkey in the oven, basting every 1/2 hour
- Noon – Begin reheating sides and set the table
- 12:30 pm – Take turkey out of the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. Make mashed potatoes.
- 1:00 pm – Call everyone to the table. Start coffee just before sitting down. Give thanks and pour yourself some wine.