The Thanksgiving countdown is on! Grab your Thanksgiving planner checklist and plan ahead with tips and a timeline to crush your Thanksgiving planning.
You’ve officially hit adulthood when you start hosting Thanksgiving.
Some of you may be avoiding this at all costs, but I promise it isn’t as bad as you think.
I managed to avoid this adulting milestone until about 3 years ago. Around that time, we moved into a house that was perfect for family get-togethers and we became the official spot for both sides of our family to gather for the holidays.
I’m not complaining, really. Before we started hosting Thanksgiving at our home, the holidays were a bit of a hassle trying to organize what time we would be visiting which house. Now we get to hang out at home all day and have everyone come to us.
In return, I spend weeks preparing to feed and entertain them…
…so maybe it’s not an even exchange.
Not gonna lie–my first year hosting was a hot mess. I overextended myself with complicated recipes, didn’t start planning early enough, and we may or may not have cut into a bird that was still pink inside.
I’ve since gotten my ducks in a row and learned from my early mistakes.
Thanksgiving planning can be intimidating, but it really all comes down to timing and preparation. Start your Thanksgiving planning early with the below timeline and you’ll find yourself well prepared for a memorable and stress-free Thanksgiving. And don’t forget to snag a free copy of all this info in a handy Thanksgiving planner printable.
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1 month prior
Finalize your guest list. Things to think about are how many adults, how many kids, food allergies, and restrictions, etc.
Plan the menu – are you taking on all the cooking responsibilities or are guests bringing dishes? Will this be a buffet or plated dinner?
3 weeks prior
Create your shopping list – go recipe by recipe and write down every ingredient you will need. Mark off any ingredients you already have on hand.
Order your turkey, especially if you’re planning on a specialty bird like local or heritage. If you are going for frozen, you have a little more time. When ordering, the rule of thumb is 2 lbs per adult and 1 lb per child.
Are you serving drinks? Buy your liquor now.
2 weeks prior
Clean your fridge and freezer to make room for anything you’re cooking in advance.
Decide on décor – are you going to DIY or buy decorations? Think about whether you want centerpieces, candles, tablecloths, etc. You can even get décor that will entertain the kids like this coloring tablecloth.
Start cooking anything you can freeze until the day of – pies, rolls, casseroles, etc.
1 week prior
Go grocery shopping for non-perishable food items on your grocery list.
Start getting your house guest-ready by cleaning. Focus on the spaces you’ll entertain in. If you will have overnight guests, make sure to clean their sleeping space, and bathroom.
3 days prior
Don’t let a frozen turkey ruin your day! Defrost the turkey – you will want the turkey to defrost for 5 hours per pound.
Go grocery shopping for perishable food items on your grocery list.
1 day prior
Start cooking any dishes that will reheat well so you don’t have to worry about them on the big day.
Defrost any frozen dishes.
Do any final cleaning.
Set out extra chairs and folding tables and put out your decorations.
If you are brining the turkey, start that today.
Preheat your oven and start cooking your turkey. It will take about 20 minutes per pound to fully cook the turkey, but keep in mind this can vary if the turkey is stuffed or not completely thawed.
Prepare any dishes you haven’t yet made.
When the turkey is done and resting, start your gravy and start reheating anything that needs to be heated.
Day after Thanksgiving
Store leftovers for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Leftovers can be boring. Jazz them up by using them in new recipes.
The Thanksgiving countdown is on, so get planning! The above Thanksgiving planning timeline will help you get organized, prepared, and excited for the big day without any big mishaps along the way…like cutting into a raw turkey.
Drop a comment below and let us know how your Thanksgiving planning is going.
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