With Thanksgiving tomorrow, and the preparation in full effect, I get loads of questions about what can be made ahead of time, and what must wait until the day of. Here is the timeline that will help you to spread out the workload and manage your stress.
1-3 weeks ahead
- Send out an invitation and confirm guests.
- If your guests are contributing to the meal, send out a list of specifics that you need. I used Sign Up Genius this year and it was wonderful and very easy!
3-5 days ahead
- Go grocery shopping for all of the items on your list.
- Wash and iron table cloths and napkins
- Clean the house.
- Get wine
- Defrost the turkey (depending on weight, some can take 3-5 days to thaw)
1 day ahead
- Brine the turkey
- Boil the giblets with any extra veggies you may have floating around in the fridge. Strain and reserve the broth for roasting the turkey.
- Purchase and assemble any flowers for centerpieces.
- Set the table
- Make the stuffing, but do not bake it until tomorrow.
- Chill white wine
- Put the turkey in the oven.
- Make mashed potatoes in the morning and then keep them in your crockpot on “warm” until you are ready to serve.
- When the turkey is done and resting, make gravy
- Cook any side dishes, including the stuffing.
- Try to do as much of your prep-work early in the morning so that you can wash those pans and dishes before anyone arrives.
- Run the dishwasher and empty it and the sink prior to the meal so that when you start clearing the dinner dishes, you have somewhere to put them all.
- Hint– ask guests to bring their own storage containers, or purchase some extra at the dollar store, and share the leftovers with all of your guests. This prevents food waste and helps to keep your own calorie indulgence to a minimum! No one needs to eat pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes for 4 days straight!
- Take a moment and enjoy the meal! You worked hard to make it, so be sure to savor it!