Can you believe Thanksgiving is a little over 2 weeks away? It seems like just yesterday we were in the dead heat of a West Texas summer! Having a Thanksgiving meal at your home can be a joyful time spent with loved ones…but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Avoid the stress this year with our Thanksgiving checklist…starting 2 weeks out!
2 Weeks Ahead
- Make a guest list.
- Communicate with guests about who is bringing what and what time everyone should arrive.
- Be sure you have enough serving dishes, flatware, glassware, tablecloths, napkins, tables and chairs to accommodate your guests.
- If any of these items need to be cleaned, do it now.
- Polish silver, if necessary. Wrap in tarnish-resistant silvercloth and set aside.
- Plan and make decorations, place cards, and wreaths.
1 Week Ahead
- Clean your refrigerator to make room for your Thanksgiving items.
- Review your recipes and prepare a cooking schedule by day for the days ahead, and by the hour for the day of Thanksgiving (be sure to check the thawing time on your turkey!)
- If necessary, prepare your guest room for any guests who will be staying with you.
- Do any needed outdoor work like raking leaves, sweeping your porch, or cleaning the glass on your front door.
- If children will be attending, get out games or movies to keep them occupied. Coloring books are fun, too!
4 Days Ahead
- Review recipes, determine what ingredients you’ll need, and make a list for the grocery store (it’s helpful to organize it by aisle/section of the store).
- Match up recipes with serving dishes and serving pieces. Put sticky notes onto each bowl and platter according to which dish goes in each.
- Do any major housecleaning and organizing.
- Confirm with guests who is bringing what, and if they’ll need oven space.
- Put up wreaths and nonperishable decorations.
- Plan ahead for leftovers. Organize containers, bags, and wraps so guests can take home what they want.
2 Days Ahead
- Chill beverages.
- Buy flowers for the table, or put together your centerpiece.
- Go grocery shopping.
- Clean fruits and vegetables.
- Fill salt and pepper shakers.
- Complete light housecleaning.
- If you plan to have a fire, lay a fire in the fireplace, ready to light later.
1 Day Ahead
- Make all dishes (including sides) that can be prepared ahead. (Don’t forget the desserts and any chopping, peeling, or toasting that can be done ahead!)
- Do spot cleaning of the rooms that will be used.
- Set the table.
- Get out all serving pieces and condiment dishes. Set out on the serving table or buffet.
- Fill condiment dishes with anything you may be serving (pickles, olives, cranberry sauce, etc.) Cover each dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Assign specific family members or relatives to be in charge of various tasks (tending the fire, answering the door, pouring drinks, hanging up coats, etc.)
- Preheat oven.
- Put turkey in oven and cook according to your recipe.
- Prepare coffee, if necessary.
- Set out refrigerated dishes including condiments, cranberries, and salads.
- Heat bread or rolls as needed.
- Light fire.
- Pour drinks.
- Carve turkey.
Hoping this Thanksgiving checklist helps keep you stress-free this year! Enjoy your time spent with friends and family and have a happy Thanksgiving!