Day-by-day Thanksgiving planner

by Lylah M. Alphonse  |  20563 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

Spreading your Thanksgiving preparations out over 10 days can significantly reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Here's a Day-by-Day planner for the 10 days before Thanksgiving.

  1. 10 days before (that would be the Monday of the week before Thanksgiving): Finalize your guest list. Plan your menus -- dinner, snacks from the leftovers, breakfast or brunch the next morning. Make up your grocery lists. If you have to pre-order a turkey, do it today, if you haven't already.
  2. 9 days before: Shop your pantry so you don't end up buying more of what you already have. Locate any Thanksgiving-themed dishes, linens, or decor. Make sure your roasting pan is big enough for your turkey (really -- it'll be very stressful to shop for one the day before Thanksgiving. Much better to do it now if you have to).
  3. 8 days before: Do the big grocery shopping spree (stick to your list!). If you're going to cook your own turkey, buy it today -- even so-called "fresh" turkeys are often frozen. Plan on about a pound of turkey per person.
  4. 7 days before: Buy the wine on your way home from work. Plan on half a bottle per adult (it sounds like a lot, but that's only 2 1/2 glasses of wine per person). Finalize sleeping arrangements for your guests (make the bed in the guest room, set aside linens if they'll be sleeping elsewhere in your home).
  5. 6 days before: Bake your pies (except pumpkin -- it can get watery if frozen), cakes, and breads. Let them cool and then stash them in the freezer.
  6. 5 days before: Plan out your decorations and buy any non-perishable items for the table. Wash up any special Thanksgiving dishes or table linens, and make sure you have enough plates, glasses, silverware, and serving dishes (again, much easier to get more now than on Thanksgiving Day).
  7. 4 days before: Prep and or make and freeze side dishes. Is your turkey frozen? Start thawing... it takes about 24 hours for every five pounds. Brish up on your turkey-carving skills with this video from
  8. 3 days before: Make one last trip to the store for perishables, including flowers if you'll be using them for the table. Did you buy sparkling cider for the kids? No? Get some -- they'll feel (and act) more grown-up with a special glass of their own. Move frozen items to the refrigerator to thaw.
  9. 2 days before: Enlist the kids and tidy up the house. Forgot to thaw the turkey? You can speed up the process by immersing the bird in a sink (or tub) of cold water -- plan on 30 minutes for each pound, and don't forget to change the water every so often.
  10. The day before: Cook the turkey. (Or pick it up if you're outsourcing it.) Set and decorate the table. Tidy the house (again -- you have kids, remember?). Make a schedule for what goes in the oven when tomorrow. Have your heart set on pumpkin or sweet-potato pie? Make it tonight if you haven't bought it already.
  11. Thanksgiving Day: Cook already-prepped side dishes in the morning. About an hour before serving, start reheating previously prepared items (don't forget the turkey!). Then pour yourself a glass of wine or sparkling cider and enjoy your friends and family!

1 comment so far...

  • I'd love to hear from someone who has cooked their turkey the day before! How do you heat it up on Thanksgiving day? How long does it take and how do you prevent it from getting dried out?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Fabs on 13th November 2012