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This Holiday, Skip the Stress & Create a Feast to Be Thankful For

Smooth party preparations with a simple schedule   
This Holiday, Skip the Stress & Create a Feast to Be Thankful For: Main Image
Three weeks ahead: Place your fresh turkey order. Allow for one pound per person

Three Weeks Ahead

  • Finalize guest list and confirm attendees (and whether they have any special dietary needs)
  • Place your fresh turkey order; allow for one pound per person
  • If necessary, place a rental order for plates, flatware, glasses, tables, and chairs

Two Weeks Ahead

  • Finalize your menu (see some suggestions below)
  • Delegate cooking projects to willing and able guests
  • Pick up nonperishable goods

One Week Ahead

  • Pick up heavy cream and harder vegetables, such as squashes and potatoes
  • Prep table linens and polish silver
  • Unearth serving platters and holiday decorations from hiding spots

Three Days Ahead

  • Clean the house
  • If unsure whether all your guests will fit, set up tables and chairs to troubleshoot beforehand
  • Pick up all other perishable ingredients

Two Days Ahead

  • Make pies and cornbread (for stuffing)
  • Cook items that stay good in the fridge for two days, such as cranberry sauce
  • Put together casseroles and store them uncooked in fridge; they can be baked on the day

One Day Ahead

  • Set table or buffet
  • Bake remaining desserts
  • Ensure there is enough room for guests' coats on coat rack or in closet
  • Buy salad greens
  • Map out your Thanksgiving day cooking plan (when and where you will cook the remaining dishes) and hang in the kitchen

The Day Of


  • Prepare stuffing/dressing
  • Prepare veggies for cooking: wash, peel, and chop. Store ready-to-serve vegetables in fridge. Boil and mash potatoes.
  • Get turkey in the oven according to schedule


  • Take a breather while turkey cooks
  • Right before the turkey is done: cook fresh veggies, prep dough for rolls, and get whatever else that needs oven time ready to go

While the turkey “rests”

  • Cover turkey with a foil tent and allow to rest for about an hour
  • Make gravy, bake remaining dishes, and reheat mashed potatoes, rolls, casseroles, and so on
  • Enlist your guests to set up food on the table or buffet
  • Relax and enjoy your feast!

Want a break from tradition? Experiment with some new sides

Green vegetables

  • Braised Autumn Vegetables with Garbanzo Beans
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Goat Cheese
  • Recipes with Green Beans

Orange vegetables

  • Roasted Cinnamon Squash
  • Mashed Roots with Buttermilk and Chives
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Drizzle
  • Smashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes


  • Apricot and Toasted Almond Stuffing
  • Brown Basmati Rice with Apples and Walnuts
  • Wild Rice with Dried Apricots and Pistachios


  • Quinoa and Bean Salad
  • Beet Salad

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