Thanksgiving Prep: 15 Things You Can Do Ahead of Time

Every year, I make a list of what I can get done in the days before Thanksgiving. If you wrote out notes to yourself like we suggested last year, pull that out and add to it. If not, try making notes as you go this year. You’ll thank yourself later!

Also check out Our Complete Thanksgiving Dinner Menu: from Cocktails to Dessert

 • • • • •  Here are 15 things you can get done by Tuesday the 24th . • • • • •

1. You still have to eat Wednesday.
This kills me every year. I am so preoccupied with Thursday’s meal, I forget that we have to eat on Wednesday too! Most years, we have guests coming in which means airport pickups. Save yourself some stress by making an easy meal that you can make ahead, freeze, and reheat. A hearty soup is perfect. Here are 20 of our favorites.

2. Make your grocery list.
Go through your recipes and make two thorough grocery lists: one for the week before Thanksgiving and another with perishable items to purchase on Monday. Don’t forget to include what you’ll need for meals for the rest of the week too.

3. Organize your serving dishes.
Select plates for hors d’oeuvres and cheese plate. Make sure you have your serving plates and bowls clean and that you have a serving utensil to go in each one. I put a post-it note in my dishes labeling what goes in which dish so that later, guests can help me at serving time.

4. Select your linens.
Select linens for your table, wash and iron them.

5. Clean and polish your silver.

6. Set your table.
Give yourself some time to make your table extra special. Just having it set will put you in the holiday spirit. Wipe crystal and glass wear with a damp cloth if it’s been sitting on a shelf.

7. Make your cranberries.
Some dishes can be ahead like your cranberries. You can make cranberries 3 days before the event; one less thing to do the day of.

8. Make your salad dressing.
We love simple Emily’s Country Dressing.

 9. If you’re buying a fresh turkeypick it up Tuesday.
If you bought it frozen, give it several days to thaw. Here’s a guide. If you’re planning to brine the turkey you can do it anywhere between one and three days ahead of time.
Try: Easy Lemon Garlic Roasted Turkey

10. Make crust for your pumpkin pies.
Besides making the crust, you can even make the filling and freeze it.
Try: Spiced Pumpkin Pie with a Gingersnap Crust.

11. Prep your stuffing
You can get your bread cubed and sauté your veggies and sausage ahead of time. Toss the sausage and bread cubes together and store in freezer safe containers. The day of break apart the frozen stuffing into smaller chunks and then combine with your stock-butter mixture. Transfer it to baking dish and bake.
Try Our Simple Sausage & Cranberry Stuffing

12. Make your sweet potato puree
You can make the puree for your sweet potatoes and freeze it in a ziploc freezer bag.
Try: Spicy Chipotle-Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

13. Set up your beverage area.
Purchase wine, beer, liquor and any mixers. Make sure you have a good variety of festive non-alcoholic beverages as well. For kids, milk, juice or lemonade boxes can save you the headache of spilled cups. Have plenty of wine glass labels ready. We like using washable metallic labeling markers.
Try: Our Festive Figtini Cocktail. shown above

14. Make your place cards.
Besides writing each persons name on their place card, you could also write why you are thankful to have them in your life. Or order place cards on Amazon.

15. Make ice.
It’s an easy way to save a little money. Store it in a freezer bag.

Our Complete Thanksgiving Dinner Menu: from Cocktails to Dessert

3 Wines Perfect for Thanksgiving

 Tammy’s Creamy, Crunchy Nanaimo Bars


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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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