19 Nov

Thanksgiving Planning Checklist

Thanksgiving is usually one of the biggest holidays a person will prepare for all year. With friends and family gathering for a large feast, it’s a lot to take on. Whether you are an old pro or a first-timer, we have created this post to help you have a more stress-free Thanksgiving. Keep your kitchen organized and efficient as you cook on Thanksgiving with our Thanksgiving Planning Checklist!



Our list is broken into categories by date, with the goal to space out the tasks throughout the month of November. Like you, our days are busy at work, but doing a little here and there for Thanksgiving throughout the month really makes things run smooth. It might be hard to drag yourself into the kitchen after a long day in the office for a little prep, but it’s better than slaving away over a stove during the week of the feast.
Invite Your Guests
Friends and family will gather all throughout the United States, but it’s always good to know how many people you’ll be expecting. Start making plans and inviting your guests, knowing your final count about 5-10 days before Thanksgiving.

Order Your Turkey
Some people prefer to buy their bird from their local grocer and others choose to order it from their favorite farm. However if you want the farm fresh option, now is the time to order your turkey. Many farms sell out long before Thanksgiving.

Set Your Budget
Yes, just like any other event, you need a budget. Make it reasonable so it will comfortably accommodate your expected guests. Even if you want your family and friends to bring a side dish or a dessert, you still need a bit of a safety net in case someone forgets or is unable.

Plan Your Menu
Just like with event planning, once you set your budget you can plan your menu. Stick to the traditional if you’d like or get a little adventurous. Remember, you don’t want your menu to accommodate only your guests, but also your kitchen. Tip: Check your oven! Don’t buy a bird that cannot fit!
Check Your Linens
Something about the holidays always brings out formality in the table setting for a family gathering. It’s the perfect time of year for your favorite fall themed fabrics to make an appearance. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving morning to pull them out only to find holes or spots that need cleaning. Give yourself time to clean and replace anything that is necessary. From table cloths to napkins, have fun with how you dress your table.

Buy a Frozen Turkey
If you are planning to purchase your turkey from the local grocer, pick it up as early as possible. You want to leave plenty of time for the turkey to defrost. You’ll need to plan for at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

Check Your Kitchen Tools (Supplies Too!)
Old favorites and new recipes are perfect for the Thanksgiving table, but be sure to check all your equipment in advance. New recipes might call for a specific tool that you do not have. Don’t let yourself go crazy Thanksgiving morning trying to find the right tool at the store. It’s crazy there!

Finalize Who Is Bringing What
If you intend for your guests to contribute, know what they are bringing. You’ll want to have your own back up options on standby in case someone doesn’t come through on the big day, but be sure that each guest is bringing something different so you don’t end up with 4 sweet potato casseroles.

Don’t Let Your Fried Turkey Catch Fire
Check your fire extinguisher. Thanksgiving is much less fun when the fire department visits.
Buy Wine
By now, the menu is planned, a list of dishes guests are bringing have been made. It’s time to buy the wine. Make sure to have plenty of red and white. And don’t forget about your dessert wine if that is something you enjoy! Tip: Stop by Vine & Table  for a wide variety of wines and other spirits, along with your favorite beers, for the holiday season! Did you know Vine & Table is part of the Kahn’s Catering family of companies?

Check Your Seating
It should go without saying that you should have enough seating for all of your guests, but it doesn’t hurt to check anyway. If you need additional seats, you can ask friends or family to bring additional chairs or borrow from your neighbor.

Finalize the Shopping Lists
You’ll want to shop over the weekend for Thanksgiving, but will need a detailed list to do so. Make sure you know which items to buy in which stores. This is your attempt to avoid last-minute shopping trips on Thanksgiving morning for items you may have forgot.
Shop for Non-Perishables
The shopping trip for your Thanksgiving feast is likely one of the biggest tasks of actually preparing for Thanksgiving Day. The crowds will be unavoidable at this point, but buck up! You are in the home stretch, almost.

Prep Anything That Can Be Frozen
You may not be the type that wants to spend a full 24 hours ahead of Thanksgiving cooking, and we don’t blame you. Begin prepping any menu items that can be made and frozen. You’ll appreciate this later on.

Clean the House
Guests will be arriving at any moment and it’s the perfect time to deep clean your home before their arrival. This is a great time to move furniture to help accommodate for your guests and for your seating. Also, prep those linens! Be sure they are clean and ironed by the end of the weekend. Fold your napkins and put your tablecloths out.
Make Your Pies
Pies are the last dish to actually go in the oven… but they can be the first to be prepped. Prep your pies on Monday and bake them on Wednesday. Warm them on Thursday.

Begin Defrosting Your Turkey
Remember, 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

Set Your Final Cooking Schedule
Go over your final cooking plan for Thursday. Know what needs to be put in the oven or put on the stove when. This will help your Thanksgiving morning be calmer when you have a plan in place.
Perishable Shopping Trip
Make your trip to buy perishable items. You should have a better selection after the weekend, slightly lesser crowds, and the opportunity to get fresh produce.

Chop Vegetables
Tuesday evening makes for a great time to chop your vegetables. Throw them in bags and save yourself some time on Thursday

Make Cranberry Sauce
Your cranberry sauce will actually taste much better if you make it ahead of time and let it sit in your fridge for a couple of days.
Tidy Up
This is your final chance to tidy up before the big day. Dust, spot clean your tabletops and counters, freshen up your living space.

Set the Table
Wednesday evening is the perfect time to set your table. Have fun, be creative and take your time. An elegant table will impress your guests and help infuse everyone with some spirit.

Chill White Wines
Throw any white wines into the fridge to ensure they are properly chilled. We’d recommend a temperature check at least once on Wednesday evening!
It’s time for you to shine and for all your effort to get put to work. Stick to your cooking schedule, sip on some wine, enjoy your guest’s company and laugh! Enjoy Thanksgiving Day!


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