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Thanksgiving Planner

Early November
  • Plan your menu. Choose from these delicious menu ideas: Thanksgiving Menus
  • Invite your guests. Keep track of who is bringing what on your menu.
  • Make shopping list of perishables and nonperishables. Don't forget to include film, batteries and beverages.
  • If you are ordering a fresh turkey, do it now.
  • Make a Thanksgiving to-do list, listing all the little things you feel must get done prior to Thanksgiving. Be sure to schedule time for each chore and indicate who will take care of that chore.
  • Order your floral centerpieces now.

Two Weeks Ahead
  • Check all serving dishes, flatware and glassware.
  • Shop for any paper goods you need for the event.
  • Make sure you have enough tables and chairs for your guests.
  • Take an inventory of your tablecloths and napkins.
  • If any of your items need to be cleaned, do it now.
  • Clean your refrigerator to make room for your Thanksgiving items.
  • Shop for nonperishable groceries on your shopping list.
  • Plan and make decorations.

One Week Ahead
  • Plan seating arrangements.
  • Review your recipes.
  • Prepare cooking schedule.
  • Check thawing time for frozen turkey.

Four Days Ahead
  • Start defrosting the frozen turkey in your refrigerator.
  • Save money on ice—start making your own ice cubes now. When frozen, dump them in a freezer bag.

Two Days Ahead
  • Chill beverages.
  • Shop for perishable items.
  • Set out bread for homemade stuffing.
  • Make cranberry sauce.
  • Fill salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes.
  • Be sure your home is clean.

One Day Ahead
  • Peel potatoes and place in a pot of cold water. Keep in refrigerator.
  • Clean vegetables and refrigerate.
  • Make all dishes that can be prepared ahead. Don't forget the pies.
  • Check your bathrooms. Be sure to have extra toilet paper and hand towels available.
  • Put up decorations.
  • Prepare stuffing.
  • Do spot cleaning of the rooms that will be used.
  • Buy flowers for the table.
  • Let your family set the table in the evening.
  • Make the side dishes that can be baked ahead of time.

Thanksgiving Day
  • Remove turkey from the refrigerator for one to two hours. Add stuffing.
  • Preheat oven.
  • Put turkey in oven and baste every half hour.
  • Prepare coffee and brew 20 minutes before serving.
  • Keep the turkey covered and let it rest for about 20 minutes before slicing.
  • Microwave food to quickly reheat if all the burners of the stove are occupied.
  • Make gravy and last-minute vegetables.
  • Set out refrigerated dishes.
  • Heat bread or rolls as needed.
  • Remove stuffing from turkey.
  • Carve turkey.