Thanksgiving Planning Tips

When it comes to hosting Thanksgiving, there are a lot of things you can do in advance to make things easier on yourself when the big day comes around! Having a plan is key. Creating a timeline of what you intended to happen can make hosting Thanksgiving a breeze!

Photo by Sanaz Photography

The first step is to send out invites 6 weeks before the day and set the RSVP date to the following week. After all the RSVP’s are in, you can order your turkey and make your menu. Once you have your menu set make your full list of groceries and cooking supplies that you may need. When I’m planning a dinner party, I make two grocery lists. The first list has all of the items I can buy 3 weeks beforehand, which are my pantry items, staples, and anything else that won’t perish. The second list is the fresh food I buy the Monday before.

As far as food preparation, I suggest getting started several days before Thanksgiving! The Sunday before the holiday, I take time to clean out my fridge and freezer, making sure that I have enough room for what I just purchased. The Tuesday before I make my side dishes that can be reheated the day of. I also take out anything out of the freezer that will need to thaw out. (Side anecdote – One year I forgot to thaw the turkey… that was a fun holiday!!) The day before is when I suggest baking your pies. You can leave them at room temperature when they are done. I also will prep my salad, washing any veggies, so that on Thanksgiving Day I can just assemble it. I set my table and get the house ready the day before while my pies are baking. Prepping everything so far in advance allows you to fully focus on the main dish – Turkey! – the day of! While you stuff and roast the turkey, you can start reheating your side dishes, making sure everything is in order.

Photo by Sanaz Photography


After dinner is over, make cleaning up fun – turn on some tunes and use it as an opportunity to unwind. Or you can treat yourself and be really be fancy and hire someone to do it for you. Guests will most likely offer to clean up and it’s your call. If you feel like it will make your life easier to have a guest help then say yes, but you feel like it’s something you prefer to do yourself as you have a specific way you like things done then politely decline. Sometimes it’s faster and more efficient to take care of the dishes after everyone has left.

At the end of the day, I know holiday prep and clean up can be overwhelming, but I find it best to focus on being surrounded by family and friends. It’s more valuable than worrying about how much work goes into it. Stay present and take one step at a time. I find being in the moment helps me remember how grateful I am for my life. It’s the whole point of Thanksgiving, anyway!

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