Will you be hosting the Thanksgiving feast this year? Of course, the very idea can be stressful to even think about. Farmers’ Almanac to the rescue! Our Thanksgiving prep tips will help you get ahead of the game so you can host a holiday meal that will be as smooth as your prized mashed potatoes!
Thanksgiving To Do List
2-3 Weeks Before Thanksgiving …
- Plan your menu and guest list.
- Pull out the recipes and make a list of the ingredients you need to purchase.
- Shop for the ingredients that can be stored in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer in advance: spices, nuts, butter, flour, sugar, eggs, fresh cranberries, sausage, turkey, canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, etc.
- Call family members and assign casseroles or foods for them to bring.
- Bake desserts that freeze well: cookies and pies, cobblers, and bread puddings, and store in the freezer.
2 Weeks Ahead …
- Make your favorite dinner or yeast rolls and store in the freezer.
- Select tablecloth, napkins, and decorations for your Thanksgiving table.
- Wash and press table linens and set aside.
1 Week Ahead …
- Buy fresh ingredients needed.
- Call guests to remind them of dinnertime and foods to bring.
- Determine if extra seating or additional tables are needed for serving and placement.
- Vacuum and dust the house (you’ll need to do this again, day of!).
- Set candles and decorations in place.
- Make turkey dressing/stuffing and freeze. Otherwise, do the day of.
- Bake pies.
- Thaw turkey in fridge – a week or more, depending on size.
3 Days Ahead
- Purchase any last-minute shopping items.
Day Before Thanksgiving
- Make a checklist of things to do each day prior to Thanksgiving.
- Print menu and put it on the fridge so you won’t forget to remove the cider or desserts from the freezer.
- If you’re having your Thanksgiving dinner early in the day, consider baking the bird a day ahead, carving the meat and storing it in the refrigerator in chicken broth to keep moist. Reheat in the oven before serving on a platter.
- Remove desserts, dressing, and bread from the freezer.
- Make the fresh cranberry sauce.
- Assemble casseroles, and bake on Thanksgiving.
- Set the table if possible.
- Do another round of dusting and vacuuming (enlist the kids!)
Planning ahead reduces the stress of holiday entertaining and gives the hostess the opportunity to count her blessings while enjoying a relaxing day with loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!