Thanksgiving Dinner with Family

Your Thanksgiving Checklist

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.

Thanksgiving Day

  • 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!