This Thanksgiving is going to be so much more meaningful than so many before. I have spoken to so many people who are seeing their family for the first time in years. It's very exciting! But I can see how it could be very stressful for the host. As the host, you are probably wanting everyone to have a wonderful time and for everything to be perfect. While I can't guarantee perfect, I have developed a Thanksgiving Game Plan to help you stay on track. (I even created a handy printable for you!)
A week (or the weekend) before:
You need to buy the wine. Unless your family doesn’t drink and then you need to buy the soft drinks.
The turkey! You better have this by the weekend before Thanksgiving because you need time to let it thaw. Unless you are getting a fresh one, and in that case, it better be ordered.
Make sure you have enough plates, glasses, silverware and dishes. Plus the table cloth or placemats and cloth napkins.
Buy all the non-perishable and/or frozen items on your list.
3 Days before:
Place the frozen turkey in the fridge to thaw or brine it if it is already thawed.
Shop for all the other items on your list.
2 Days before:
Make the fresh cranberry sauce! (I just can't do the canned stuff!)
Prep any vegetables that you will need.
Set up the bar. You'll need wine and glasses, a few liquors and some soft drinks.
Get out all of your service dishes, make sure you have enough for all of your side dishes.
1 Day before:
Boil potatoes for mashed potatoes. Then store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to mash them.
Set the table. It is so much easier to set the table ahead of time.
Assemble appetizer trays. By appetizer trays, what I really mean is keep it simple! Just assemble a charcuterie board and a crudite plate. You are about to eat a big meal. You don't need any more.
The Day Of:
Pour yourself a cup of coffee because you will need it to power you through!
Start prepping your side dishes in mid-morning. Mash the potatoes, cook the green beans till just still crisp, assemble the stuffing. Get everything ready to go in the oven because it will be a mad dash once the turkey is done.
Start cooking the turkey between 1 and 2 pm, depending on its size, for 5 pm service.
Set up the appetizers.
Make sure your bar is stocked and ready to go.
Shower and change because the guests are coming.
At about 3-4 pm (depending on when your turkey is done) start cooking the sides.
Make the gravy.
Carve the turkey.
Call everyone to the table.
Serve extra dessert to the family member that toasts you for doing all the hard work! 🙂
Make sure you sign up to get your printable game plan!