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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Get Organized" - Article

Thanksgiving Countdown

Now is the time to make those preparations for your Thanksgiving dinner! Here you will find a countdown that will help you to have everything ready by the big day!

  • Plan your menu. Think about which items that can be made AHEAD of time and  frozen, and plan these items in on your "to-do" list (see #4 below). Decide which  items you don't mind if a guest brings -- DELEGATE these items when inviting   your guests.

  • Invite your guests and get a firm COMMITMENT from them as soon as possible. Keep track of   who is bringing what on your menu.

  • Make your SHOPPING LIST, but only after you know exactly what your guests   might be bringing. Don't forget to include important items such as film, batteries,   and beverages. And order your turkey, if you generally do that ahead of time.

  • Make a Thanksgiving TO-DO LIST, listing every little thing that you feel must be  done prior to Thanksgiving. For example, detail cleaning, washing of serving pieces, shopping, raking of leaves in yard, cooking, decorating, etc. But remember, "must"  is not the same thing as "would like to" -- cut yourself some slack! Next to each item, indicate WHO you want to take care of that chore - be it a family member, yourself, or a hired professional.

  • Take your Thanksgiving to-do list, and SCHEDULE time for each item. You may  wish to complete one or two items a day until Turkey Day. Be sure to get the help  of your spouse and children -- delegate!

  • Take an INVENTORY of your chairs, tables, dishes, flatware, glassware, and   linens. If items need to be CLEANED, do so now. If you need more chairs or  table settings, arrange that at this time.

  • Make sure you will have enough room in your freezer or refrigerator for the turkey.   If you don't have enough room, plan now to MAKE ROOM by eating meals made  from some of the items taking up the space.

  • Clean your refrigerator inside and out.

  • Shop for NONPERISHABLE groceries on your shopping list, or items you know  will keep until Thanksgiving.

  • Will CHILDREN be at your home for Thanksgiving? Search the web and craft   books for easy activities and games that will keep the children BUSY.

  • Also, if you are having young children in your home, do a SAFETY CHECK of  your home. Are medicines and cleaners out of reach? Do your outlets have covers?  Do you have breakable items that might be better off on a higher shelf? Do a thorough check of each room the children will occupy.

  • Have the children help you with some SIMPLE DECORATIONS. Create turkeys   from pinecones, placecards, draw pilgrims for the refrigerator door, and more.

  • RE-EVALUATE your "Thanksgiving To-Do" list. Is there many items you listed,  that may be impossible to get done now? Be REALISTIC and cross off items  that can be skipped.

  • Plan seating arrangements.

  • To save money on bagged ice, start making your own ICE CUBES now, by freezing in trays, and when frozen, dump them in a freezer bag.

  • Shop for PERISHABLE Thanksgiving items between now and two days prior to Thanksgiving.

  • Are there any other dishes or desserts that can still be prepared ahead of time? If so, do them today.

  • Fill your salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes.

  • DEFROST in the refrigerator any frozen side dishes.

  • Be sure your home is clean.  If any other DETAILS need to be taken care of, do them now.  Is your bathroom clean?  Do you need to clean your front walk?

  • Prepare any dishes you couldn't freeze.

  • Chill beverages in refrigerator.

  • Buy bouquet of flowers for table or countertop, if you wish.

  • Do SPOT CLEAN of rooms that will be used during the festivities.

  • If you have a formal dining area, set the Thanksgiving TABLE now.

  • Finish last minute details: turkey, mashed potatoes

  • Most of all, enjoy yourself!


Brandie Valenzuela is married mother of three children, who enjoys working at home as a freelance writer and editor. Sign up for her free The Creative Scrappers Newsletter at

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