It’s easy to start panicking when the holidays get closer and closer, especially if you’re having a Thanksgiving dinner at your house. But while a little excited stress is good, too much stress will only ruin the vacation and is bad for your health. To avoid a stressful Thanksgiving, we’ve created a calendar that you can use as a general guide to help you with your home and dinner preparations.
The week before Thanksgiving
We start our schedule with the week before the foodie holidays. The more early you can get settled in, the less rush and stress you will have as Thanksgiving approaches. No one likes to realize that they haven’t done all of their shopping the night before they’ve got 12 people for dinner.
- First of all, WRITE DOWN YOUR MENU, recipes and everything. You don’t want to search for the recipe when cooking. If it’s a recipe found online, print it out. If it’s a recipe in a book, add it to your favorites and write down the title and page number. We recommend no more than eight courses including dessert. CREATE YOUR SHOPPING LIST at the same time as you create your menu.
- ORDER YOUR TURKEY, unless you are happy to get whatever is available. When hosting a large gathering, it is advisable to reserve the type and size of turkey you want from your local grocery store, if they allow it.
- HOW WILL YOU SET YOUR TABLE? Do you have your seasonal tablecloth? All your dishes, silverware and glassware? If not, now is the time to fix everything. You don’t want to know that you don’t have enough forks on the day.
- DRESS THE HOME – No Thanksgiving is complete without a little fall decoration for the home, or at least the dining room. Take care of all the cleaning and decorating your house the week before to take the load off your mind when Mad Week begins.
- Monday – Clean out the fridge and shop for Thanksgiving dinner. Keep in mind that at least some of your turkey will likely still be frozen, so you will need time for it to thaw completely. It will take some time if it is a particularly large turkey.
- Tuesday – If you are brining your turkey, it should be done today. Also today, bake your pies (they will taste even better when made ahead of time as the spices take longer to develop), wash the dishes, and cut and dry the bread cubes for the stuffing.
- Wednesday – If you are preparing a homemade sauce, now is the time to make your turkey broth with the neck, giblets and vegetables. This is also when you want to do all of the vegetable prep work, like washing and chopping, so all you need to do is put it together. Finally, set the table, prepare the stuffing and rolls or any other bread.
- Thanksgiving morning / afternoon – Don’t sleep on Thanksgiving morning. Get up early, have a good breakfast, have a cup of coffee and start. Take the turkey out of the fridge to reach room temperature and put the drinks in the fridge to chill. Bake everything that needs to be baked in the oven first so that there is no interruption when the turkey comes in, then roast that turkey in the oven.
- Right before Thanksgiving dinner – While the turkey is resting, place all prepared meals in the oven to heat them up while you prepare the sauce. Finally, take your pre-made pies out of the refrigerator to bring them to room temperature.