The countdown is on to Thanksgiving and that means it’s time to create the checklist and move through the list of tasks each week! Use this free printable Thanksgiving Timeline Planner and Checklist to help you ease the stress this season and pull off a great, frugal, fun and thankful Thanksgiving this year.
This is what we are going to be sharing if you want to jump right to that topic:
- What is the Thanksgiving Timeline Checklist?
- What to do 2-3 weeks before Thanksgiving
- What to do 1-2 weeks before Thanksgiving
- What to do the week of Thanksgiving
- What to do two days before Thanksgiving
- What to do the day before Thanksgiving
- What to do on Thanksgiving Day
- Print your own Thanksgiving Timeline Checklist
- Bonus tip for Christmas Planning
What is the Thanksgiving Timeline Checklist?
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. That’s why a Thanksgiving Timeline planner is a lifesaver!
Thanksgiving is one of our family’s favorite holidays. We have so many things to be thankful and grateful for each and every day. Each day is a new gift and just one thing to be thankful for each day.
We wanted to mention that because we want to help you prepare for Thanksgiving to make it the most pleasant and stress-free day as possible, have a great meal, spend time with family and friends and be ever thankful instead of acting stressful.
So, we have developed a Thanksgiving timeline planner for you to print and utilize (keep it in your home binder here or add it to your Christmas and Holiday Planner downloads here) and to be prepared and planned for this fantastic holiday!
Here’s the Thanksgiving Timeline Checklist Planner – note that you will be able to also print this for your reference.
What to do 2-3 weeks before Thanksgiving:
- 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.
What to do 1-2 weeks before Thanksgiving:
- 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.
What to do the 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.
What to do two days before Thanksgiving:
- 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.
What to do the day before Thanksgiving:
- 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.
What to do on Thanksgiving Day:
- 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!
Print your own Thanksgiving Timeline Checklist
We have put the above list in a one-page printable Thanksgiving Timeline Planner in a checklist format to make it easier for you!
|<== Download your printable Thanksgiving Timeline planner 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!
BONUS TIP for Christmas Planning:
In addition, in our very comprehensive Christmas and Holiday Planner HERE, we have holiday meal planning pages.
This is normally $12.99 and has over 20 pages to print and covers 17 areas and topics for Christmas planning and includes a Christmas Timeline Checklist as well.
But if you use coupon code: JOY you can get it for only $7.99 HERE.
Click HERE if you would like to learn more about this comprehensive Christmas Planner printables.
There are at least two pages which are very beneficial for the Thanksgiving meal.
The first download 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.
The second holiday meal planning download covers any food assignments that I 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. You can download as many as you need based on how many meals/parties you are hosting when you get this Holiday Planner.
For more Thanksgiving ideas and resources currently found on site including recipes and craft ideas, visit our Thanksgiving page HERE.
You will also want to visit our Recipe Gallery HERE to help you find recipes of all kinds, including holidays, on a budget.
Since my Thanksgiving is so consumed by preparing for Black Friday shopping this is a great guide! We have started deep frying our turkey and it has helped cut down on the cooking time for everything. My BIL is very careful with it and boy does it taste good when it’s done!
We have heard some pretty yummy things about fried turkey! We need to give it a try sometime. Thanks Laura!