Thursday, November 2, 2023

Thanksgiving Planner

It's hard to believe that the holidays are upon us already and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Are you thinking about Thanksgiving yet? Do you know where you'll be spending the holiday and what you'll be making?

I've shared this Thanksgiving planner based on my own past experiences before and, although it isn't all encompassing, it is a good guide to help you think things out as you make your way through the days and weeks ahead leading up to the big day! 

This photo was taken at our youngest daughter's Thanksgiving
2020. If you look closely, you can see my husband lurking in
the background. I sure miss him...especially with the holidays approaching.


- Begin holiday organization.
- Invite your guests for Thanksgiving dinner. A cheery phone invitation or a written invitation is always welcome.
- If you’re ordering a fresh turkey, do it now; if you’re buying a frozen turkey you have time, but don’t wait until the last minute. Start watching those sale ads now.


- Make up Thanksgiving dinner menu; at the same time compile your grocery list. You can pick up the dry goods and staples for your meal now. It’s easier on the budget and makes shopping faster later. Check off items on the marketing list as you purchase them.
- Plan your Thanksgiving table setting and centerpiece early. Check your silverware, plates, and serving dishes to be sure you have enough for the number of guests you are inviting.
- Name cards can also be completed ahead of time. As a family sit down and find verses with a thanksgiving theme. Take a blank 3” x 5” index card, fold it in half, and stand it on the table. On the front write the name of the person who will sit at that place and inside write a Thanksgiving scripture. When everyone is seated, each person then reads his or her verse.


- Make any last-minute arrangements for Thanksgiving. If you’ll be going out of town, ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers. If you are cooking, finalize your menu and entertainment plans.


- Special holiday events will be happening Thanksgiving week. Decide which event you want to attend as a family, then schedule one special event for each child individually.


- Start defrosting a large (15 to 20 lbs.) frozen turkey in the coldest part of your refrigerator.


- Prepare the serving pieces, plates, flatware, glasses, etc.
- If using cloth napkins or tablecloths, iron them now.
- Make the cranberry sauce; a couple of days in the refrigerator will give the flavors time to develop.
- Cut and cube bread for the stuffing now, and set the cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry.


- Pick up the fresh turkey and purchase perishables.
- Prepare the stuffing. Refrigerate overnight.
- Make the giblet stock for gravy.
- Assemble and bake pies.
- Peel the potatoes; refrigerate in a pot of cold water.
- Make side dishes that require baking and reheat them tomorrow; or assemble them today and cook them right before dinner tomorrow.
- Set the table tonight or first thing in the morning.


- Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and cook as desired. (Some me...even prefer to slow cook the turkey overnight.)

- Make mashed potatoes and bake or reheat side dishes.
- Prepare coffee, but do not brew until about twenty minutes before it is to be served.
- Prepare iced tea and other beverages early and refrigerate.

Until next time...

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  1. What a great plan. I love how organized this is. I'm an organization fanatic :) but I honestly think it's the best way to do everything you want to do while avoiding stress! Visiting from Grammy's Grid Unlimited link party. (I'd love to have you share this post at my weekly linkup as well, if you're interested:

    1. Hello, Jennifer! Thank you so much for stopping by, leaving a comment, and the invitation to share this post on your current link-up. That's awesome!!! I don't cook as much now as I did when my husband was alive and our children were at home, but, yes...avoiding stress! That's why I like to get things done as early as possible whenever I can. Thanks again for stopping in! Enjoy your weekend! Blessings! <3

    2. You're very welcome. I am so glad you shared this at the Will Blog for Comments #13 linkup, and I hope to see you there again next week. :) I am just starting empty nester life, and my husband and I have way too much food almost all the time. ha And we often travel for larger family gatherings for Thanksgiving, so even that is on a much smaller scale. However, I know I'll use a weeks-long plan once I'm the grandma and start the hosting. :)

    3. I hear you, Jennifer! It's been really hard for me to adjust amounts of food needed. We were a family of eight, then, one by one, as the kids married and moved out, it dwindled down to just John and I. Now that he's gone and it's just me...well...I don't know that I'll ever get it figured out or not, but I'm determined to keep trying! Have a beautiful and blessed week ahead! <3

  2. Looks like you've got it all planned out. As for our holiday meals, we have the same thing every year and it's quite a feast!! I did posts about our meals, titled: What's on Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Menu? Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 136. Pinned.

    1. Thanks, Dee! I'm heading over to check those articles out now! Thanks for stopping in and have a great week ahead! :)

  3. Replies
    1. It does, indeed, Sandi! I'm not sure where time disappears to anymore! Thanks for stopping in and have a great week a head!

  4. I have already baked sweet potatoes, made cranberry sauce, and baked a turkey breast. All are frozen. We have gathered items we need from pantry to see what I need to purchase. I bought Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, no salt added. I will make a green bean casserole, make gravy with boiled eggs chopped in it, and dressing. This will be stressless Thanksgiving and easiest ever. I may cook a few more things, but nothing that week. Making giblet gravy will occur on Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

    1. Wow, Linda! You're already way ahead of the game! Thanks GREAT!!! Have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving season! I love your idea of making it stressless! <3

  5. Thank you, Billie Jo! Have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving season! <3

  6. Thank you so much for this. I needed it today. I never know when to defrost the turkey!

    1. You're welcome, Christi! I'm glad you found it useful! Have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving season! <3

  7. You sure are organized!!! Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Ha! I don't know about that, but I do try! LOL! Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

  8. Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up at #AThemedLinkup 172 for All Things Thanksgiving. Pinned.

  9. CONGRATS Rebecca! Your post is FEATURED at #AThemedLinkup 173 for Grandbabies and Grandparents from the previous linkup for All Things Thanksgiving.

    1. That's awesome, Dee! THANK YOU!!! I hope you and yours had an absolutely fantastic Thanksgiving! Have a beautiful and blessed Christmas season! Blessings!


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