Be sure to visit our Thanksgiving Page HERE for many more articles, recipes and ideas!
We are just a short time away from one of our family’s favorite holidays. There is nothing like a beautiful Thanksgiving with family, friends, food and thankfulness!
We share many traditions, memories and joys from this one special day.
It can also be a stressful time as you prepare a big meal possibly for many people.
We wanted to share a printable Thanksgiving Timeline with you to help you be better prepared and more organized. When you are prepared and organized, you save money too!
2-3 weeks before:
- Plan your menu
- Invite your guests and give food assignments
- Make sure you have enough serving dishes, place settings, silverware, glassware, etc. The earlier you know, the longer you watch for sales or visit thrift stores or talk to others to borrow dishes.
- Consider finding a turkey roaster to buy or borrow. The thrift stores often have them…but not this time of year. But you might luck out 🙂 Just watch for them all of the other times of the year in the future! Even check the classifieds.
- Determine the size of turkey you will need for your guest list and then jot down your “price point” so that you can watch for sales prices.
- For the kids: determine what crafts or activities they can do to help you prepare for Thanksgiving from helping with decor, table settings and more. Pinterest and Google are great resources. Homeschool blogs also have a lot of free downloads for learning about Thanksgiving. Make a list of items you will need for them to complete the crafts or activities.
1-2 weeks before:
- Write out your complete list of ingredients needed for the recipes you are making.
- Don’t forget these often forgotten items that cause last minute store runs: cooking spray, foil, spices, whipping cream, snacks and items for relish trays.
- Gather items on your list that you may already have at home to avoid duplicates and save money.
- Write out your shopping list from the remaining ingredients.
- Look for coupons for the items you plan to buy and place in an envelope with your shopping list. You may find better deals on other brands that don’t have coupons, but at least you have your options open.
- Begin to purchase the non-perishable items as they go on sale.
- Clean off a shelf/section in your pantry to put all gathered and purchased foods for Thanksgiving.
- For the kids: Begin purchasing the kids craft/activity items or gather items from around your home.
Week of Thanksgiving:
- Clean out a spot in the fridge for foods that you are preparing and for the turkey to start thawing.
- Thaw the turkey in the fridge.
- Call and confirm with your guests and double check food assignments.
- For the kids: let the kids start diving into their learning and craft activities.
Two days before:
- Make your “serve chilled” foods and store in the fridge (like cranberry sauce).
- Double check your needed items shopping list so that you don’t overlook something.
- Complete the final shopping for the rest of the foods, including your fresh items.
The day before:
- Make a run through your home to tidy and clean by spending 20 minutes in each room. It is like a 20 minute quick clean, but for each room. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in 20 minutes. Take a break between each room so it isn’t so daunting!
- Prepare many of your foods like pies, other baked goods (we also have pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and mom makes them the day before :)), brine for the turkey, prepare the salad, prepare the homemade salad dressings, cut up all veggies (except potatoes as they go brown quickly) but carrots, celery, onions, etc.
- Calculate the exact time you will need to start your turkey – we often have to wake up at 5 or 6am to get this started.
- For the kids: let them help decorate or display their learning and craft activities.
- Cook the turkey! Tip: if you can cook in a turkey roaster or other pan outside of the oven, you can have your oven and stove top free for all of the other cooking!
- While the turkey is cooking, cut and peel potatoes and then place in water in the fridge.
- Decorate and set the table!
- Prepare the final foods and casseroles.
- Chill the beverages.
- Finish the mashed potatoes
- After the turkey has been pulled out, while it is setting, prepare the gravy and the whipping cream.
- Carve the turkey – and if you are like our family…. the women spend these few weeks preparing everything and then right before eating, the men in the family carve the turkey and everyone cheers for him! LOL!
- For the kids: let them help decorate, demonstrate the things they learned and or crafts they made.
While eating, enjoy the fruits of your labor, thank God for his blessings, reflect and pray for the upcoming year!
We have put the above list in a printable checklist to make it easier for you! It is a one-page, low ink list!
|<== Download your printable Thanksgiving Timeline HERE.|
In addition, here’s some additional resources and downloads that may help you be better planned and organized this Thanksgiving! These are from our free 17-page Christmas Planning Downloads, but works perfectly for Thanksgiving too!
This download that I use allows me to plan the whole meal (usually having a couple of dishes per category) and then also allows me to name food assignments (as I don’t make everything) and see it all on one page. You can download as many as you need based on how many meals/parties you are hosting!
You can download the food menu planning page, the summary page, by clicking on the link below! You can then print it to put in your binder or stapled with the other downloads coming to make a full plan!
|<== Download your printable menu planner HERE.|
The second download covers any food assignments that you have. As an example, we are attending Thanksgiving at my parent’s house. With that, I may not be hosting, but I have food assignments. That would go on this list.
|<== Download your printable food assignments planner HERE.|
For more Thanksgiving ideas and resources currently found on site including recipes and craft ideas, visit our Thanksgiving page HERE.