Thanksgiving Timeline

Thanksgiving Timeline

It’s almost turkey day which means it’s time to start getting prepped and ready. Here is my Thanksgiving timeline. I know it seems intense but it will help you stay organized and calm on the big day.

1 week before:

Finalize menu

Clean out refrigerator

Shop for all non perishable items, wine and other beverages

Make pie dough, wrap well and freeze

6 days before:

Make place cards

5 days before:

If your turkey is frozen, remove it and place it in the refrigerator

Finish grocery shopping

Clean the house

Pull out platters and serving utensils and label with a sticky note so you know which dish goes where

4 days before:

Pull out china

Get candles and vases ready for your centerpiece

3 days before:

Start bagging up ice so you have reserves

Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate

2 days before:

Pull pie dough from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator

Buy flowers and make centerpiece

Set the dining room table if you don’t plan on using it until the day of. Place glasses upside-down to keep any dust out.

Stock your guest bathroom

The day before:

Prep stuffing and other casseroles and place them in the pan you’ll bake it in, cover and refrigerate so it’s ready to bake the day of.

Make gravy so it’s ready to re-heat with the pan drippings the day of

Make pies and all other desserts

Make dough for rolls, roll them out, place in baking pan, cover and refrigerate. They will proof and be ready to bake the next day.

Peel and cut potatoes for mashed potatoes. Place them in a pot of cold water and refrigerate.

Peel and cut sweet potatoes and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Blanch green beans and store in the refrigerator so they are ready to warm and season the next day.

Create your timeline for the big day.

Prep any appetizers that can be made ahead

Chill champagne, white wine, sparkling water and other beverages if needed

The day of:

When you wake up, drink water, have your coffee and do a quick workout…you heard right, workout! Trust me, you’re about to be on your feet all day and it can be hard on the body so a nice walk or light workout, complete with stretching is the best way to start the day.

Eat a good breakfast! Make a protein smoothie or send someone out for breakfast sandwiches or make these egg bites a couple days before and reheat them.

Turn on some music or the Macy’s Day Parade in the background to set a festive tone.

Drink water

Do a quick tidy up around the house and be sure the coat closet has plenty of room for coats.

Pull turkey from refrigerator so it gets the chill from the refrigerator off, and get it prepped for roasting.

For a 15 pound turkey, start roasting 4 hours before you want to eat, start earlier for a larger bird.

Once the turkey is roasting, shower and get ready. I like to cook in comfy clothes, I change into my “party clothes” once I’m done with the bulk of the cooking.

Get coffee prepped so it’s ready to brew with dessert.

Fill cream pitcher and keep in the refrigerator.

Drink water

3 hours before dinner:

Make whipped cream for your pies and keep in refrigerator.

Eat a little lunch

Make mashed potatoes and keep them warm in a slow cooker or reheat them over a double boiler before dinner.

2 hours before dinner:

Pull the stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, butter and rolls out of the refrigerator along with anything else that you want to take the chill off of.

Put the butter and cranberry sauce on the table.

Run and empty the dishwasher so it’s ready to load after dinner.

Clean up the kitchen, be sure your sink is empty, it will help so much during clean up.

Drink water, breathe and stretch…especially your wrists, back and neck.

Put on your Thanksgiving playlist.

Put on your “party clothes”

Open any red wines so they can breathe

Pop a bottle of champagne, sit down, sip and relax before your guests arrive.

1 hour before dinner:

Set out appetizers

Light candle in guest bathroom

Bake off stuffing

Bake sweet potatoes

Bake off any other casseroles

Bake rolls

Fill water glasses and place an extra pitcher on the table

1/2 hour before dinner:

Sauté green beans

Make or re-heat gravy

Assign someone to pour glasses of wine for your guests

Light candles on the table

And now it’s time to carve the turkey and enjoy your amazing Thanksgiving feast!

Eat slow while talking about what you’re thankful for. Soak it in, be present.

After dinner, brew coffee and warm any desserts in the oven if needed.

Load your dinner dishes in the dishwasher that you ran and emptied earlier that day…lifesaver, right?

Enjoy your coffee and pie at the table or do what I do, take it to the family room, get comfortable and watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”

Congratulations! You did it!!

Once our guests have left, our tradition is to watch “White Christmas” to get ready for the most wonderful time of the year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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