Countdown to Thanksgiving: Tips for Hosting

Traditional Turkey and Side Dishes

Only 6 days until Thanksgiving and if you’re hosting, this is the time to kick your preparations into action. Here’s some tips to ensure you have a successful day.

Menu and To Do Lists
  • TODAY: If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to plan your menu. If you are hosting, make a list of all of the dishes you’ll be preparing. Add to the list any items your guests will be bringing. Don’t forget pre-dining appetizers, side dishes, beverages and desserts. Review to ensure you are happy with the menu.
  • Make a grocery list, separating it into areas of the store for easier and faster shopping.
  • Determine what dishes, glassware and cutlery you’ll be using. If its paper products, check your inventory, or purchase more.
  • Plan the tablescape, including centerpiece, linens, and themed decorations. Pull out any decorative items you have in storage.
  • Visit the grocery store and shop for non-perishables.
  • Pick up your turkey, or place the order with a pickup date. Mark this date on your calendar so you won’t forget.
  • Plan your cooking schedule. Map out what can be prepared in advance, and what needs to occur on Thanksgiving day.
  • Create a dining and seating plan. Have you heard back from all of your guests? Be certain that they know what time to arrive, and where to park once they arrive at your home.
  • Make a game plan for leftovers. Search for new ideas on recipe sites on the Internet.
  • Ensure you have enough plasticware and take home containers for guests to share in leftovers.
  • MONDAY: Defrost your turkey in the refrigerator.
  • Plan games or activities for any younger guests. If you live in Arizona or another sunny place, activities outside can be planned. Download art, pictures, or games from an online source, or pick up inexpensive crayons, markers, and other fun games from a retail store.
  • Make another trip to the grocery store to pick up perishables.
  • Don’t forget flowers, specialty wines, beers, cocktail, mocktail or other beverage ingredients.
  • TUESDAY: If you are baking, prepare any crusts and place in refrigerator.
  • Make cranberry sauce.
  • Iron tablecloth and napkins.
  • Set the table(s).
  • Set up the bar area. Chill any wines.
  • WEDNESDAY: Make the pie fillings and bake pies, cakes or cookies.
Desserts: Cookies, Pies or Cakes
  • Prep any garnishes for your menu.
  • Prepare any re-heatable side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, wild rice, etc.
  • THURSDAY: Roast the turkey or other main dish.
  • Reheat side dishes.
  • Prepare salad(s) and appetizers.
  • Send a family member to pick up extra ice if you are running low.
  • Set aside 45 minutes – 1 hour for you to relax and get ready.
  • Welcome your guests and enjoy the day!
Thanksgiving Tablescape

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