Even though we know they are coming, the holidays seem to sneak up on us every year. I know there have been years where I waited to the last minute to plan Thanksgiving and Christmas and have been completely stressed out.
Well, no more! I want to enjoy the holidays too! So I have started to plan for them as early as possible. Of course Thanksgiving doesn’t need as much planning as Christmas but it still needs to be organized and planned.
Between 2 Weeks to 10 Days Before Thanksgiving:
- Contact everyone who you want to come to Thanksgiving dinner and see if they still plan to attend.
- Tell your guests the time and if they want to bring a dish, add that to your menu list with a note who is bringing it.
- Decide on your menu. If you plan on getting a frozen turkey, you can take advantage of any sales you see and buy one now. Just be sure you have room in your freezer.
- For turkeys, plan on 1-2 pounds per person. That sounds like a lot but some of that poundage will be bones and some may be for leftovers if you want them. If you don’t want leftovers. just plan for a pound per person. But personally, I’d rather have too much than not enough so I always go for anout 2 pounds per person.
- Look at your guest list and make sure there are things on there for everyone to enjoy. If there will be children there, be sure there are a few kid friendly options. Fortunately, most kids love the typical Thanksgiving dinner. If there will be vegetarians there, make sure there are some options for them.
A Week Before Thanksgiving:
- By now you should have a finalized guest list and have your menu completed.
- It’s time to start the grocery shopping and cooking. Buy anything that can be stored without it going bad such as canned and packaged foods.
- You can also buy anything that can be frozen now. If there are any dishes that do well freezing and reheating, you can buy the ingredients and make them now, such as some pies,casseroles, etc.
Several Days Before Thanksgiving
- Clean out your fridge to make room for everything.
- Make sure the tablecloth and table linens you plan to use are clean and pressed. You can go ahead and put those on your dining room table now if it won’t be used until Thanksgiving day.
- Clean and polish your china and silver.
- Finish buying anything on your grocery list that still needs to be bought.
- If you bought a frozen turkey, take it out and let it thaw out in the refrigerator. It will need approximately 3 days to thaw.
The Day Before Thanksgiving:
- Do all the food prep work that you can now such as cutting up veggies, and make anything that can be made ahead of time today.
- Prepare all your desserts today.
- Anything that was made awhile back and frozen, take out now and thaw out in the fridge if needed.
- Set the table with china, silverware and drinking goblets.
- Prepare your turkey and stuff it and put in the oven. These should be quick and easy is you already prepared your stuffing the night before. Put it in early so you will have time for any other dishes that need oven time afterwards.
- Cook any side dishes on the stove or have ready for the oven as soon as it’s available.
Adjust this schedule for how you celebrate Thanksgiving.The important thing is to plan ahead and do as much as you can ahead of time to make Thanksgiving day easier for you. Recruit any willing helpers (spouse and kids) to help too.
By following this schedule, I have much more time on Thanksgiving day to enjoy my family instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
Article by Cathy Ratcliffe