A Thanksgiving timeline
November 05, 2019
Thanksgiving falls on November 28 this year (2019), which means it will be here in three weeks and a day. So, now—right now, in fact—is the time to formulate your plan of action, particularly if you’re the hostess.
Here’s a suggested Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) timeline starting 21 days in advance to help you keep track of all the details and make everything run a little smoother. (And, yes, you’re welcome.)
Three weeks before Thanksgiving
- Decide on the menu, making sure to include dishes that you can make ahead. Include entrees that are family traditions, of course, and if you want to experiment a bit, consider a new side dish or two to complement your traditional mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Try mixing a little sweet or savory with vegetables and adding the crunch of nuts to top it off.
- Another way to expand your options is with desserts. While pies are traditional, you could ask your guests to bring a fall dessert along with the recipe.
- If you are serving a fresh turkey, now’s the time to place that order.
Two weeks before Thanksgiving
- Think about how you’ll present the meal, considering the place settings, linens, and a centerpiece. We have lots of options for all of these, including how to give our versatile Sweetbriar chargers a fresh look for Thanksgiving and how to make an everlasting wreath.
- As for centerpieces, keep them in proportion to your table so that they don’t inhibit your guests interacting. If you want a centerpiece that’s ready to go, consider our Harvest Arrangement, and if you want to create one yourself, plan to include some of our beautiful autumn stems and picks.
- Don’t forget the kids’ table. Make it fun and include an activity to keep the little ones occupied. You could cover the table with craft paper so they can draw and color. Supply crayons in our Courtly Check Enamel Pot.
One week before Thanksgiving
- Clean, clean, and clean some more. Round up the dishes, flatware, and serving pieces and clean them too, especially if they’ve been in storage since last Thanksgiving. Also, give the house a good cleaning and get the guest rooms and guest bath ready.
- If you’re serving a frozen turkey, now’s the time to check its weight and estimate how long it will take to thaw. For every 5 pounds of turkey, you’ll need to allow 24 hours, so your 10-pound bird will take at least two days to thaw. A 20-pound turkey will take four days and so on.
Three days before Thanksgiving
- Shop for groceries, making sure you clear out the refrigerator first. Remember to shop at the grocery store with a list, so you don’t forget key ingredients like cranberry sauce or green beans.
Two days before Thanksgiving
Turkey day is a big pie holiday, and there are so many ways to dress up even the most familiar family recipes. Here are few decorative pie suggestions:
- Create a decorative pie crust by using cookie cutters to cut out leaves, circles, and other small shapes from pie crust dough. Moisten the edge of the crust with a little water and layer the cutouts around the edge.
- Use kitchen utensils to crimp the edge of the crust. Try a small measuring spoon upside down, the side of a corkscrew or pinching the crust with tongs.
- Give your pie a fitting presentation. Place it on top of a pie wreath created by placing leaves or herbs in a circle or place the pie on one of our elevated Cake Stands and Pedestal Platters.
- Cover and refrigerate the pies until Thanksgiving Day. Pull them out in the morning if you’d like to serve them at room temperature.
One day before Thanksgiving
- Prepare any other dishes that you can refrigerate and just reheat.
- Set out serving dishes in the order they will be used.
- Prepare the bar area and chill beverages and purchase or make extra ice. z
- Then, set the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Prepare and cook the turkey and other dishes you cannot make ahead. Clean the kitchen, as much as you can, as you cook. Assign family members to help with the guests and the following tasks:
- Recruit the master of the home bar to take charge of drink orders and restocking the ice bucket.
- Have extra aprons and oven mitts on hand for kitchen helpers. Have someone prepare a relish tray with vegetables you pre-cut.
- Add a game to the mix: Try Turkey Trivia (fun facts about turkeys), Thanksgiving Bingo (you can download cards online) or simply have family members share their childhood Thanksgiving memories.
Most importantly, be thankful for the family and friends gathered around you and the memories you’re about to create. Now, relax and enjoy!