Top 10 Tips for Your Thanksgiving Checklist

hand turkey thanksgiving invitation

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? You’ve probably started to stress, especially if it’s your first time. While hosting a Thanksgiving feast can certainly cause anxiety, the good news is that if you get organized early, you can have a wonderful day of friendship and food just like your party guests. The trick is knowing where to start! Here are the top ten tips for assembling your Thanksgiving checklist. Start now and avoid the stress of last minute holiday preparations.

Thanksgiving Checklist Tips

thanksgiving checklist

1. Shop PurpleTrail’s collection of Thanksgiving invitations so you can invite your guests to dinner in style. In addition to traditional invitations, they have a nice collection of online invite options as well as print-at-home designs. Make sure to send out the invitations three weeks early so you’ll have an accurate head count before you shop for food.

2. Decide on sit down meal, a buffet or a combination. In my family, we always have 20+ guests, but love to have everyone gathered at one table. So we serve food buffet style and have everyone sit at a long Thanksgiving Table we create from lining up smaller tables it runs from the Dining Room to the Living Room!

3. Regardless of how you plan to serve your Thanksgiving feast,you are going to need to seat all your guests somewhere, so make sure you have enough seats and space. Figure out seating ahead of time so you’ll know if you have to buy or borrow tables or chairs.

4. Launder and press tablecloths and napkins.

5. Decide on your signature cocktail. This is great for welcoming guests from a road trip. Prosecco is one of our favorites as it’s universally liked and pairs well with a turkey dinner. Select the wine (4-5 glasses per bottle) and beer of choice, and make sure you have enough glasses. Buy sparkling cider, soda or juice for the kids and the adults who don’t drink alcohol. 

6. Purchasing your beverages ahead of time will ensure you stress less as you near Thanksgiving.

7. Plan the food menu! You know turkey will be on it, so make some decisions:

  • Fresh or frozen? ( if you want a fresh turkey, make sure to order it).
  • What size turkey will you need? Decide this based on the number of guests. A good rule of thumb is to allow 1lb. per person. However, general guidelines are: Bone in breast = 1/2 lb. per person Boneless breast = 1/3 lb. per person.
  • How long to thaw? It is best to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator:

6 to 8lbs. = 1 day
8 to 12lbs. = 1 to 2 days
12 to 16lbs. = 2 to 3 days
16 to 20lbs. = 3 to 4 days

  • When deciding which side dishes to serve with the turkey, keep in mind that your relatives and friends will likely want to help. Don’t hesitate to ask guests what they’d prefer to bring or to delegate something to each person.

8. Make three shopping lists:

  • Buy Now: All your non-perishables: beverages, paper items, canned goods, candles, etc..
  • Buy Monday before Thanksgiving: fruit, veggies, etc.
  •  Buy Wednesday before Thanksgiving: fresh bread, flowers, and anything else you forgot.

9. Make what you can ahead of time. If you need some inspiration, check out Good Housekeeping’s collection of make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes.

10. Make a list of household chores and tasks that will need to be done. Work it in to your Thanksgiving checklist and divide it up amongst family members.

I hope these tips have helped you with creating your Thanksgiving checklist. Best of luck and bon apetit!

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