It’s officially Fall and this is when I usually start my Thanksgiving Dinner planning. I know it may seem a little early but when you plan on hosting a large crowd for dinner it does take a little strategy beforehand. If for nothing else, but to save your sanity! There were years I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people plus a few additional people I came across who had nowhere else to go. I don’t think anyone should be by themselves on this special day so I always tell them, “come on … we have plenty!”
On that note, we have 8 weeks before the Thanksgiving celebration begins which means I need to get this planning checklist out to you now. This is one I have used for years and I will break it down in two posts with a complete printable Thanksgiving Day Checklist to download. That way you can easily get started without feeling totally overwhelmed and have the complete checklist to follow for years to come.
Okie doke … here we go:
6 Weeks Ahead:
Think about how you would like your dinner to feel:
- Grown-up, or
Invite your guests and kindly request an RSVP no later than next week (Week 5)
Start planning your menu:
- Do you plan on serving a few holiday classics,
- Do you want to include something new to make it your own,
- Decide on what type of turkey you want to serve; heritage, organic or farm fresh all of these need to be ordered way in advance because of their demand.
- Do you plan on making everything yourself or would you rather enlist a friend or family member to help,
- Do you want a sit down dinner, buffet or potluck
Start selecting the recipes you would like to use.
Once you have your menu plan you can ask guests to bring some fill ins, if you wish, to alleviate some of the stress of making the whole meal yourself;
This post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. I have used a few of these products and others are recommended based on purchases I would personally make in the future.
Plan your holiday décor,
- A centerpiece for the table, like this Sunflowers Acorns & Berries Autumn Harvest Cornucopia Arrangement
- Fall wreath for the front door, like this Flora Decor Green Apple Fall Wreath
- Candles to add some soft lighting for ambience (I suggest using LED candles which are unscented because after all you want your guests to be greeted with the scents of Roasted Turkey, Cinnamon and Nutmeg)
- Fall garland and/or centerpiece for the fireplace mantel
5 Weeks ahead, It’s time to make a concrete plan
- You should have a final head count to finalize your menu planning
Start a few shopping lists,
- Do you need any extra kitchen essentials such as extra gravy boats, serving platters, and serving bowls
- Make a list of any additional things you might need, extra chairs, linens, serving trays, barware, card tables
- Make a list of any items you may need to finalize your holiday décor plan, centerpiece materials, wreath for the door, candles
- If guests will be staying with you make a list of items such as guest towels, special toiletries for the guest bath and any other items you may need for your home.
Finalize your serving plan,
- Do you want to serve appetizers and cocktails before dinner,
- Are you planning a sit down dinner, buffet or potluck
4 weeks ahead
- Order your turkey especially if you want to serve a heritage, organic or farm fresh bird. These turkeys usually run out by the first week in November.
- Check your shopping list for anything that you can’t buy locally, such as any exotic ingredients and extra cooking essentials and order them online
- Order any items such as extra chairs from a party rental company or talk with friends or family to see what you may be able to borrow
- Start purchasing any local non-perishable pantry items and cooking essentials
- Develop a cooking timeline based on the recipes you plan on using
Once you have accomplished Week 3 click here to finish up the most epic Thanksgiving Dinner you have ever hosted!
3 weeks ahead
- Clean out the pantry to make room for the items you will be buying
- Start purchasing any non-perishable items and cooking essentials you didn’t purchase on Week 4
- Start any home décor projects you plan on doing
Wheeewww!!!! Okay, we have completed all the to-do’s for the last 3 weeks now it’s time to start working on Week 2. But first, do something special for yourself. Take a bubble bath, sit on the porch with your favorite beverage and just breathe … you can do this!
Do you have any questions I can help you with? Just let me know and I’ll be here for you!
See you in the comments,