If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, this is for you! Preparing a big Thanksgiving meal can be incredibly hectic. I mean, Thanksgiving already comes with so much emotional stress. You’re stressed about what inappropriate thing your mom will say, if Uncle Eddie will get plastered again this year before the appetizers are out, or which in-law will have a dramatic meltdown because there’s no way your pecan pie is better than hers. Now you have to navigate preparing an Instagram-worthy, gourmet meal on top of all this? Going into Thanksgiving without a plan is a recipe for disaster.
If you’re not organized, it can spiral out of control leaving you frustrated, turning your dishes into disasters, and eating much later than planned. To help prevent a spiral into crazy town, I created a Thanksgiving schedule that keeps me on track and even allows me time to sit and relax with my family, and play with the kids.
I list out everything that has to be done the entire week of Thanksgiving, the day of, a list of every dish, the number of people, and so on. Having this schedule on hand the day of comes in handy when Aunt Bethany comes into the kitchen and wants to help. With a quick glance at your list, you can easily delegate one of the items to her, and then get back to what you were doing.
Thanksgiving Tips for Success
- Plan the whole week in advance. What can you cook or prep ahead of time to make the day of more enjoyable?
- Set the table in advance.
- Plan your serving area in advance and label your serving dishes so you know what dishes are going to hold each recipe. This way you’re not scrambling to find granny’s antique gravy boat at the last minute.
- Print a simple schedule for Thanksgiving day where everyone can see it. Something like: Parade 9 a.m., appetizers 11 a.m., football game 1 p.m., Thanksgiving dinner 3 p.m. This SHOULD PREVENT Grandpa from wandering into the kitchen and asking what time we’re eating 47 times while you’re simultaneously trying to baste the turkey, make deviled eggs, and not burn the rolls.
- Schedule time to enjoy the day. For me, I love seeing parts of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, so I schedule about two 30-minute breaks from my culinary tornado in the kitchen so I can sit, sip on a mimosa with my sister-in-law, and wait for the high kicks from the Rockettes.
- Give thanks. Thanksgiving can be stressful, and it’s easy to get a little grumpy, so remember to keep a grateful heart, and focus on that gratitude.
Download this sample schedule (complete with week-of tasks, menu, and day-of tasks) to customize and make adjustments as you need to keep your Thanksgiving on track and your sanity in place.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!