1. Get a Headcount. Knowing about how many adults and children you will have as guests will help you determine how many place settings you will need, how many sides and desserts you will need, and how big of a turkey you will need (it is generally about 1lb per person, but if you want leftovers plan for about 1.5-2 lbs per person).
2. Plan Your Menu. As you determine what appetizers, sides, desserts, and drinks you and your guests will enjoy, start to plan who will bring what and delegate dishes!
3. Write Out Your Schedule and Your Grocery List. You can start planning up to a week in advance for the big feast, but I suggest giving yourself at least 5 days of planning ahead to be sure you can access all the ingredients for your recipes (grocery stores have been known to run out days before), as well as ordering your turkey and planning for time to properly thaw it. I like to shop for my non-perishable items about one week before Thanksgiving day, which will ensure that I am not fighting my way through long lines, busy crowds, and prevent me from driving all over town looking for cranberries! That only leaves a few perishable items that need to be purchased a few days before.
Planning Schedual One Week Before:
- 1 Week Before: Do steps 1-3 if you haven't already done so, clean out pantry and fridge. Order turkey if you haven't already done so, and plan when it needs to start to be safely thawed according to the weight.
- 4-6 Days Before: Grocery shop for non-perishables.
- 3-4 Days Before: Clean house, set table, wash, dry, and chop vegetables.
- 2-3 Days Before: Buy perishables. Begin to cook and prepare appetizers, desserts, and side dishes.
- Thanksgiving Day: Plan out when you need to start cooking your turkey, and decided when you will start to cook sides, and how you are going to keep things warm, (the crockpot on warm setting is always a great way to save oven space!)