Take the stress out of Thanksgiving this year with these Planning Tools + Tips!
Have you ever been to Thanksgiving where the hostess seems to flutter around the kitchen stress free, enjoying good conversation with a glass of wine in hand and then somehow still gets all the food on the table at the same time? Use my free downloadable Thanksgiving Planner and be the hostess with the mostess this Thanksgiving momma!
Don’t get stuck running around the kitchen like a turkey with its head cut off this Thanksgiving! Take 10-minutes to read and download my 8 step planner below! Also, link here for Grocery Store Mom Hacks to cut the chaos out of your Turkey Day grocery trip!
8 Steps to Planning a Stress Free Thanksgiving:
- #1 Use Checklists -There are 3 checklists I use when planning for Thanksgiving. First, a Menu Checklist (free printable linked at the bottom of this post). Second, a detailed shopping list. Crosscheck your ingredient quantities too for things like unsalted butter because it’s in about every Thanksgiving recipe. Mmmm don’t you just love the smell of melting butter? Now, do you like leftover turkey sandwiches? Then be sure to double check your RSVP list so you buy a turkey big enough to serve your guests + leftovers. I recommend an additional “2-4 people” for leftovers. Use my Turkey Conversion Chart printable linked at the bottom of post as a guide.
- #2 Prep Your Turkey – Be sure your bird is defrosted! I learned this the hard way the first Thanksgiving I hosted and it pushed our dinner back 3-hours. Therefore plan ahead and take your bird out of the freezer the morning prior to check that it is thawed. If it’s not thawed you can fill your sink with cold water and let the turkey thaw that way. Planning to use a brine? You’ll want to do this on Wednesday night.
- #3 Inventory Your Dishes – Don’t find yourself a casserole dish short on Thanksgiving day! Pull out your dishes, serving bowls, platters, etc. ahead of time to ensure you have a dish for each menu item. I even use sticky notes to make it easy when I dish everything up on Thursday (see Tip #1 below).
- #4 Table Decor – Rather than wait until the last minute to set the table, do it ahead of time. I lay out all of my table decor to include table cloth/runner, placemats, chargers, plates, napkins, silverware, candlesticks, and centerpiece the night prior. This is also a good time to make place cards if you are hosting a large party with a seating chart. And don’t forgot the salt & pepper shakers!
- #5 Prep Veggies – Do all the “dirty” work the day prior. Cut, chop, peel, dice, and bag/label everything. First, I portion out my onions and celery for the stuffing in one bag. Next, I chop the veggies that get stuffed into the turkey. Finally, I trim the green beans and peel/cut the potatoes.. Did you know if you put cut potatoes in water they can sit overnight in the fridge without turning brown? I also like to brown the sausage for the stuffing the day prior. One less thing on the stove on Thanksgiving day. This just might buy you enough time to pour another glass of wine on Turkey Day!
- #6 Make the Cranberry Sauce – No canned cranberries here! I love homemade Cranberry Sauce and it’s super easy to make. Here is a simple recipe that can be made the day prior in just minutes. Trust me, your guests will rave about it! Cranberry Orange Sauce
- #7 – Make the Pies – Free up oven space on Thanksgiving by making your pies ahead of time. Also, have you ever made homemade whipped cream? It’s easy and takes just 5-minutes with a hand blender. However, save this task for right before you serve your pies to result in fluffy whipped cream.
- #8 – Plan Breakfast – Raise your hand if you’ve ever forgotten to plan breakfast on Thanksgiving! You’re not alone momma, we’ve all been there. I did this once and now I have breakfast items on my Thanksgiving shopping list. I like to do pre-assembled breakfast items, such as a casserole or breakfast sandwiches to be reheated on Thanksgiving morning. We usually have a pumpkin Kringle with our coffee too!
Download my Free Thanksgiving Planner below!
*Subscribers can download the Thanksgiving Planner in The MomSpot Content Library!
Must Read 5 Tips for an Efficient Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Tip #1:
Inventory your serving dishes ahead of time! If you’re like me you’ll want all your serve ware to coordinate. I even use sticky notes to label each dish to ensure I have one for every menu item.
Thanksgiving Tip #2:
Make your list and check it twice! Avoid sending your spouse to the grocery store for missed ingredients. Be sure you check your spice rack too! Stock up on things like unsalted butter and chicken/vegetable broth. These two ingredients pop up in almost all Thanksgiving dishes!
Thanksgiving Tip #3:
If you are hosting a big party ask your guests to bring an appetizer. Making your own appetizers? Set out charcuterie, a veggie tray or anything that can be prepared the day prior and doesn’t require baking. Don’t take up oven time on apps!
Thanksgiving Tip #4:
Use a timeline! I’ve provided my timeline in the Thanksgiving Planner as a guide. The past several years I’ve printed my timeline and checked things off as I go through the day. This has really helped me get all the food out at one time. I personally don’t like to do too much cooking the day prior as I like being in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day so I mostly do recipe prep on Wednesday.
Thanksgiving Tip #5:
Gravy is my Thanksgiving pain point! I just never can seem to get it right. Confession… I always have a reserve of store-bought gravy on hand. Luckily at my table only my father-in-law likes to use gravy so I don’t feel too bad if I have use the store bought at the last minute.
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