I adore Thanksgiving! It has always been one of my favorite holidays. But with a busy holiday comes lots of prep work. Even the most organized person can get a bit overwhelmed with planning Thanksgiving dinner.
We all know it’s never just the dinner! There’s grocery shopping to do (most of us don’t eat Thanksgiving related dishes year-round), planning out activities for the kids (so they aren’t driving you crazy all day while you’re cooking), preparing for guests, ect.
These tips should help you keep your cool and plan your Thanksgiving dinner well!
Tips To A Well Planned Thanksgiving:
1. Brainstorm a plan
Brainstorm your plan for the day. Make note about what you’d like to include in your meal such as side dishes and desserts. Think about activities for the kids, any movies your family enjoys watching this day, approximate time you’d like dinner to be ready, guests, etc.
2. Decide on the meal
We all know turkey is the first thing on that list! But will you need condiments for seasoning that you don’t typically have in the pantry? Make note of what you’ll need. When doing your brainstorming, you probably made note of how many side dishes and desserts you’d like this year. Now’s the time to finalize that decision. If you want to make a new dish, do a couple of google searches for a pie or traditional Thanksgiving dessert.
3. Grocery shopping
Once you decide what you’ll be cooking, write out the final decision on a Thanksgiving meal planning sheet. Jot down ingredients (and cookware) that you have, as well as items you’ll need. Using this Thanksgiving Meal Planner Sheet should be helpful for this step. Take this sheet with you to the grocery store so you have your whole plan in front of you. This way, if you do choose to add something or switch something around last minute – you’ll have an immediate visual of the overall plan.
4. Are you having guests over?
If you’re going to have guests over, maybe you can delegate some side dishes or beverages to them. This will ease your work load and make things go much smoother for the hostess! People love bringing things over for gatherings, so don’t be shy about asking!
5. Get your cookware and dishes ready
The Monday before Thanksgiving, my husband always pulls down our special occasion dishes from the top shelf and hand washes them. We also make sure we have all the cookware we need. This way, if we need any extra baking dishes we can grab them ahead of time.
6. Plan ahead
The day before thanksgiving I try and do most of our dessert baking. These are usually pies or cake type items. I find it so much easier to do on this day so the oven is free for the turkey on Thanksgiving. If there is anything you can prepare the day before (like baking or chopping veggies) try and do this. It will make Thanksgiving Day much easier on you.
7. Activities for the kids (and family)
Because Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday for us, I like to make it super special. The kids and us like to do some sort of activity, game playing, and movie watching. Take some time to iron out activities or movies your family would enjoy. I suggest printing out a good handful or two of coloring sheets for your kiddos. In fact, I have fun coloring with them while we’re waiting for the turkey to cook! I have a list of Thanksgiving related activities and coloring sheets for you to check out.
8. Decide on a timeline
This is huge and super important! Plan the whole day. What are you going to do for breakfast? What will lunch look like? Any snacks? We like to eat super light on Thanksgiving and save our appetites for the big dinner! For breakfast, we will usually have a bowl of mixed fruits and some juice or hot chocolate for the kids. I’m usually good with my coffee in the morning and then I’ll snack on some fruit during the day. Are you going to do a craft that requires some time? Make sure you plan that out so you are able to do them. What time will dinner be served? Backtrack on the clock to see exactly when you’ll need to start cooking.
I always cook more food then we need. I’m not quite sure if I do this on purpose, or if it’s just coincidence. But either way – we love Thanksgiving leftovers! Plan on having containers to store these leftovers in. Make sure your leftover turkey is stored well so that you can use it over the next several days. I love making scrambled eggs with turkey the next morning. My whole family looks forward to it!
What are some ways you keep yourself organized and prepared for Thanksgiving?
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