Lists! What do you want to serve for dinner? Make a list. What do you need to buy at the grocery store? Make a list. Do you want guests to bring something to share? You guessed it. We can’t remember everything. There are just too many details.
The start of the winter holiday season is just one week away. By listing things to do, you can see at a glance what needs to be done and when. For example, When do you need to order a fresh turkey or start thawing a frozen one? Note it in your list.
Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday when we enjoy lots of the same foods, which makes menu planning easier. But there’s still a lot to do. Be realistic and consider how much time you really have to get everything done–without leaving things to the last minute and totally stressing out. Here are some tips.
Cleaning (4-6 days ahead)
1. Declutter (at least the rooms your guests will see) and maintain it
2. Give surfaces a quick wipe–Swiffer dusters make it quick and easy
3. Vacuum if necessary
4. Thoroughly clean the kitchen and bathrooms, then quick wipes are all you need
5. Laundry including table linens
Menu and Miscellaneous Tasks (3-6 days ahead)
1. Select recipes
2. Check your food supply and list what to get
3. Check serving pieces, dinnerware, cookware and bakeware–list items to get
4. Inventory decorations and list any to get
5. Beverages (soft drinks, wine, etc.)
Buy groceries, beverages and make or buy ice (2-3 days ahead)
Remember to bring your lists!
Food Preparation (1-6 days ahead)
1. Make dishes that can be frozen 3-6 days in advance
2. Prepare everything else that is not last-minute cooking (1-2 days ahead)
Eve of The Big Day
1. Set the Table including serving dishes and utensils
2. Decide what to wear and lay out your clothes
3. To remove the pressure of winging it when guests are there, list tasks according to when they should be done. Work backward from the time you’ll serve dinner, say 6:00 (adjust for your situation).
12:45 (5-1/4 hours before serving), light the oven
1:00 (5 hours before serving), put turkey in the oven
1:15 (4-3/4 hours before serving), peel potatoes and put in a pot of water
2:15 (3-3/4 hours before serving), prepare the coffeepot
2:30 (3-1/2 hours before serving), prepare last-minute dishes
5:00-5:30 Bake/cook side dishes
6:00 Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest
6:00 Serve the first course followed by the rest of the meal
While clearing the table, start the coffeepot and warm the pies in the oven
On The Big Day
Follow your lists and you’ll have an organized Thanksgiving! You—and your—guests will appreciate it.
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