Thanksgiving Countdown- Now
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The final couple of days before Thanksgiving are the busiest.  Depend on  the previously made lists to help out.  Cross out finished jobs as  you go.  Remember that guests are always willing to help.

Three days before

  • Review table settings
  • Review grocery list of last minute needed items, including those items needed for decorating
  • Clean and press table linens, if haven't already
  • Place turkey in 'frig to thaw if 15# or smaller and not planning on brining
  • Purchase fresh produce and any last minute forgotten grocery items
  • While you are out, pick up fresh floral arrangements and any dry cleaning you may have
  • Make this the cut off day for housecleaning with the exception of the bathrooms and kitchen floor


Two Days Before

  • Make pie crusts and refrigerate (if you haven't already made and frozen them three weeks ago)
  • Set the table and/or decorate the buffet.
  • Lay out serving pieces and utensils- Include serving dishes for gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, butter, and green beans, etc.
  • Start brining your turkey, if you are going that route- just remember to keep refrigerated at all times
  • Bake pecan-type pies/bars- store in tightly covered container
  • Make cranberry sauce.


One Day Before

  • Wash and prep produce.
  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity and make turkey stock for gravy. (Don't use the liver in the stock. If you want it for the gravy or stuffing, cook it separately, mince it, and add to gravy or stuffing at the last minute.)
  • Cook bacon, if using, store in 'frig until needed
  • Assemble stuffing but do not put it in the turkey until just before roasting or put it in a separate pan, moisten with your homemade turkey stock, refrigerate, and bake it on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Bake all other pies
  • Make mashed potato casserole and refrigerate if not making fresh mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving
  • Make punch
  • Arrange frozen dinner rolls on a sheet pan and thaw overnight in the fridge. (Otherwise, thaw at room temperature on Thanksgiving morning.)
  • Clean kitchen floor
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Purchase and arrange fresh flowers.
  • Make sure your camera is charged and ready.
  • Go to bed early


Thanksgiving Day

This is when all your advance work pays off and you look like a genius. Yes, there might be dishes to be prepared on the day, but you won't be in a panic. Do remember to map out oven and stove time for items brought by guests.

Part of being confident in the kitchen is keeping your kitchen secrets to yourself (all mistakes or flops).  Guests don't need to know that you were going to serve something that didn't turn out. 

With the size of the feast on our tables, it really isn't necessary to load your guests up on dips, snacks or appetizers. A platter of cut fresh vegetables works well.

  • Stuff and roast turkey (or bake dressing).
  • Mash potatoes.
  • Make gravy
  • Toss salad
  • Warm or bake bread and rolls.
  • Reheat frozen dishes.
  • Whip cream for desserts.
  • Heat cider, make coffee.
  • ask for help- even little tots like to help!
  • relax, smile, sit down and eat- enjoy your guests

Keep the bird basted as it cooks and let it stand for at least 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven to keep it moist.

For carving tips go to and click on the link Kendra's Cookin' and the instructions on how to carve a turkey will be there as well as a few Thanksgiving leftover ideas.



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