Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Save yourself time and energy by planning ahead and following our Thanksgiving checklist to get your home and kitchen in tip-top shape for the big meal. Pin these checklists to your Pinterest board for safe-keeping and to share with your friends!
1 Month Before | Early November
- Get your thanksgiving decorations out! Look for great post-Halloween deals on artificial pumpkins, pumpkin art, and decorations that are deep orange and red.
- Write out your meal plan.
- Call, write, or email your friends and family to confirm the guest list.
- Order or purchase your turkey and put it in the freezer.
- Pro Tip: Double check that the bird and roasting pan will fit in your oven!
- Make sure you have enough seating and table space. Place an order to rent extra or go ahead and purchase additional chairs and tables.
4-7 Days Before | Around November 17
- Move your turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator so it can begin defrosting.
- Pro-Tip: Allow one day for thawing for every 5 pounds of meat. For example, a 15-pound turkey would take three days to completely thaw.
- Looking at your meal plan, make a grocery list. Shop for non-perishable items.
- Double check that you will have enough bakeware, pans, dinner plates, silverware, servingware, and stemware.
- Pro-Tip: Make a sticky note for each dish. Lay out your baking dishes and pans and put the corresponding sticky note in the right dish. This will help you visualize whether or not you need additional kitchenware.
- Looking at your meal plan, map out the cooking timeline for Thanksgiving day. Which dishes can be made the day before?
- Clean out and rearrange the refrigerator to make room for any dishes you will be making ahead of time.
- Come up with activities for your younger guests to do on Thanksgiving day. Invite guests to bring kid-friendly board games and movies too!
3 Days Before | November 21
- Shop for perishable items.
- Set the table with your Thanksgiving table decorations and place settings.
- Refrigerate beverages if needed.
- Pro-Tip: If you live in a colder climate, you can save on fridge space by setting beverages in a cooler in the garage or on the back porch. Don’t let them freeze though!
- Clean the guest bathroom.
The Day Before | November 23
- Prepare dishes that can be prepped or made ahead of time.
- Pro-Tip: Potatoes can be peeled and left in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight. Cranberry sauce, pies, and biscuit dough can also be made ahead of time.
- Do a last minute sweep of the house with the vacuum or broom.
- Text or email guests your address and directions.
Thanksgiving Day | November 24
You’re almost there. No sweat! You’ve been following your Thanksgiving checklist. Now follow the timeline you created to guide your cooking.
- Use your meal timeline to guide your cooking.
- Don’t forget to put the turkey in the oven!
- Light candles or turn on battery-operated candles.
- Have a family member sweep the front walkway while you’re getting ready.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.