If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you're probably aware that there's a lot of work to be done BEFORE the big day arrives.
So I thought I share with you 10 things you should do NOW (a month ahead of time), that will help make this Thanksgiving a lot easier, a lot less stressful, and a whole lot more organized!
Number 1 - Plan your guest list out now.
Having a detailed account of "who" will be coming to Thanksgiving dinner is essential for you to get your plans in order. Your guest list will help you determine things like...
The amount of food you will need to purchase.
The space you will need to fit everyone comfortably at the table. (Will you need additional tables? Will there be enough chairs for everyone? Will you need additional chairs?)
Do any of your guests require special dietary needs or special food?
Will children be coming? If so, will they need special seating arrangements?
Will you ask your guests to bring some of the food?
If your guests traveling to attend, will they be staying in a hotel or with you overnight?
Comment below some things that stress you out leading up to Thanksgiving!
Number 2 - Take inventory of what you already have.
Before you start your Thanksgiving shopping, go around your home and take inventory of what you already have that you can use for your party. If needed, write a list of everything you have on a piece of paper. You don't want to waste your time (and money) buying something you don't need! Things you might want to take inventory on are...
Tables and chairs Glasses and Cups
Household decorations Storage Containers
Plates & Silverware Napkins
Place Setting Accessories Serving Platters and Bowls
Number 3 - Figure out your budget.
Did you know that in 2021, the average family spent approximately $400 to host a Thanksgiving dinner?! With inflation, the cost of most items have increased by 13% this year. That means you can count on spending a lot more this year. It's more important than ever to set a firm budget in place. So, before you start shopping, here are some things to consider...
How many guests you will be inviting?
Do you plan to have enough food for leftovers?
Aside from turkey, what other food will you offer?
Will you ask you guests to contribute to some of the side dishes?
Will you need to rent tables and chairs?
Will you need extra cookware?
Will you need to purchase more storage containers for leftovers?
Will you need to purchase invitations?
Will you need postage for invitations?
Will you need any decorations?
Will you be offering cocktails?
Will you need to buy games or items for activities to keep the children entertained
Number 4 - Start Planning Your Menu.
If some of your guests are bringing items for your meal, keep track of who is bringing what. Don't forget to include on your list any snack foods you might be offering as well as any candy/treats you might be handing out to the kids.
I've created a detailed menu planner you can use in my Thanksgiving Planner that can help you! To get your Thanksgiving Day planner, simply click HERE or on the picture below!
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving meals? Mine is a tie between green bean casserole and sweet potatoes... YUM!
Number 5 - Prepare for Any Games or Activities You Want to Do on Thanksgiving.
If you're planning to have games and activities for your guests (or for the children attending), now is the time to purchase the supplies that you will need. The closer it is to Thanksgiving, the better the chances are that the stores may be out of the supplies you need. Also, if any of the activities require assembly, it's best do it now or as soon as possible because you're only going to be busier the closer it gets to Thanksgiving.
Number 6 - Make rental arrangements at least a month ahead of time.
The longer you wait, the higher the chance the rental companies won't have items you need rent. You don't want to have to buy anything last minute just because the rental company is out of something you need! People who just moved into a new home might not have a lot of storage space to house large amounts of place settings. They often find it helpful to rent a lot of the items they need. Other times, people rent items when they plan on hosting a dinner with a particularly large number guests attending. Here is a list of some of the items people often rent when hosting a Thanksgiving dinner...
Tables and Chairs Serving Platters and Dishes
China and Glassware Centerpieces and Other Decorations
Flatware, Cutlery, Serving Utensils Cloth Napkins, Tablecloths & Linens
Heating Trays or Coolers Tents (in areas with milder weather)
Number 7 - Deep clean the areas of your home.
The week before Thanksgiving is NOT the time to be rushing around trying to get everything clean before your guests arrive. Deep clean your home a month ahead of time so all you'll have to do is "touch-up cleaning" leading up to Thanksgiving. If you're really pressed for time (even a month ahead of Thanksgiving), then focus on deep cleaning only the areas you know your guests will definitely be using. Areas like your kitchen, guest bathroom, living room, and dining room, for example. If your guests won't be visiting your bedroom, leave your bedroom off of the cleaning list. Also, be sure to include the ENTIRE family in the cleaning. Many hands make light work, and children can definitely contribute to the cleaning!
I have included a detailed cleaning checklist in my Thanksgiving Day Planner. I've also included lists of age-appropriate tasks that children can do to help you prepare for your Thanksgiving Day celebration. To get your Thanksgiving Day planner, simply click HERE or on the picture below!
Which area of your home do you hate cleaning the most? Let me know in the comments!
Number 8 - Make extra dinner meals for the week before Thanksgiving.
Think about it... the week before Thanksgiving your cupboards and refrigerator will be stuffed with all of the food you're making for the big feast. You'll also be very busy getting the oven and refrigerator clean and ready for all of the food you have to prepare. Having to prepare all of your daily dinners during that same week will only serve to mess up your kitchen and take up extra space you don't have! An easy way to prepare meals for the week before Thanksgiving is to simply make double batches of your dinners now and freeze the second batch for the week before Thanksgiving. Then, all you'll only need to do is warm the meals up in the microwave the week before Thanksgiving. No mess, no work, just reheat and enjoy!
Number 9 - Make a plan for how you store any extra perishable food.
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, your refrigerator may be filled to capacity. Don't forget to make plans to store any extra perishable foods safely. It's interesting to note that the CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 6 people will get food poisoning over Thanksgiving! I don't like those odds, haha!!
With that said, you might want to think about whether to use extra coolers to store your perishables or any leftovers that you might send home with your guests.
Number 10 - Shop EARLY!
Go over ALL of your recipes and ALL of your decoration/activity plans, and shop for any non-perishable items EARLY. If you find yourself short on space to store all of the items you're purchasing early, you could store some of your decoration and activity items in large plastic Sterilite bins. If you have a lot of non-perishable foods that you can't fit in your cupboards or panty, try storing them on a small, inexpensive storage rack. Or, if you have a spare bookcase you're not using, you could store some of the non perishable food items in the bookcase!
Now if for some reason you still find yourself rushing around and stressed out during the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some last minute tips that may help ease the stress:
Or, you can simply click HERE to get my Thanksgiving Day Planner that is FILLED with all of my best organizing tips, checklists to keep you on track, and special countdown tables to help you make sure everything is fully cooked and ready on time Thanksgiving Day!!
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!