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Thanksgiving Planner

Countdown for the Two Weeks Leading Up to Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving, the big feast day on the American calendar, is almost upon us. If your home will be the central gathering place this year, it's time to make your lists and check themover twice. This is oneparty where you can't leave everything until the last minute. In fact, with careful planning,you'll be ready to enjoy the holiday yourself when the first guests arrive on your doorstep, instead of stressing out in the kitchen. Here is a simple countdown to take you through the final two weeks leading up to the big day.

Two Weeks Before

Confirm your guest list.

Order your turkey, if fresh. Purchase your turkey, if frozen.

Plan the remainder of your menu. Give out specific assignments if guests will be contributing dishes to the meal.

Prepare your shopping list.

Take an inventory of table and kitchen supplies. Make arrangements to borrow or rent any items that youlack including:

  • tables
  • chairs
  • dinnerware
  • glassware
  • flatware
  • linens
  • serving platters and bowls
  • serving spoons and ladles

One Week Before

Order your centerpiece.

Iron linens.

Polish your silver.

Purchase wine, beer, soft drinks.

Shop for non-perishables.

Select music.

If using a frozen turkey, plan the day you will begin to defrost it in the refrigerator. The rule of thumb is to allow one day for every five pounds of turkey.

Make a plan for cleaning your house, particularly the rooms that will likely be seen by guests. Declutter the messiest rooms first.

Three Days Before

Purchase all perishable ingredients.

Bake and freeze any pies or other desserts that can be frozen.

Two Days Before

Begin cleaning and chopping any vegetables for the stuffing/dressing and side dishes. Refrigerate.

Take out your roasting pan,meat thermometerand anyspecialty kitchen equipment that you keep tucked away the rest of the year.

Prepare recipes that can be refrigerated for two days such as dips, soups and cranberry sauce.

Prepare and chill pie dough.

Make a written plan for cooking your meal.

One Day Before

Clean the powder room.

Dustand vacuum all rooms guestswill be using, especially the dining room and kitchen.

Set the table.

Take out all of the serving pieces.

Make and refrigerate your stuffing or dressing.

Clean and truss your turkey, then refrigerate it.

Finish preparing and bake your pies.

Prepare and refrigerate your stuffing/dressing.

Prepare and refrigerate salads.

Pick up your centerpiece if it's not being delivered.

Thanksgiving Day

Roast turkey and stuffing/dressing.

Ask someone to pick up any bread or rolls you'll need for your dinner.

Finish preparing appetizers, first courses, and/or side dishes.

Make the gravy.

Turn on your music.

Light the candles.

Take fifteen minutes before guests arrive to freshen yourself and relax.

Welcome guests, set out the food, and count your blessings!

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