Thanksgiving Dinner Holiday Checklist

Time to mull over the Thanksgiving dinner holiday checklist.  Festive gets a lot of mileage at our house, and why not! It’s a wonderful time of year that should be embraced for what it is- a time to eat, drink, decorate, table set, and celebrate with family and friends.  From kitchen to turkey to table, the more Thanksgiving dinner holiday checklist (works for Christmas, too!) help I can offer, the merrier and hopefully the less holiday rushed things will be.

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Creating a handsome holiday table and scrumptious dishes worthy of the c’est si bon distinction while all in an inviting and relaxing setting is quite the labor of love.  A holiday helping hand is the hostess gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s holiday hoping this holiday checklist comes in holiday handy.

2 weeks to go:

Plan, tweak, adjust, and finalize menu.


Delegate and Dish

Don’t be a holiday hosting hero.  Say yes to the offers of what can I do-what can I bring.  Make a list of who’s bringing what, and thoughtfully delegate and dish from there.


Take an inventory of the pantry staples, spices, seasonings, and required recipe ingredients you will need.

Make out grocery list.

1 week to go:

Add the finishing touches to your selected tablescape theme.  Stake out the vases, rose bowls, trays, dough bowl, or clear glass jars you’ll be using for centerpieces and spot arrangements.  Take a count of the number of candles you will need.  If you will be using new or on hand LED candles, make sure you’ve got the enough batteries.

intimate-affair-tableModern Thanksgiving Tablescape

Take inventory of table linens, cocktail napkins, china, glassware, flatware, and serving pieces.  Iron the napkins, polish the silver, and dust the lighting fixture(s).  I’ve been known to replace the chandelier and light bulbs as a proactive holiday hostess “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” Murphy’s law defense.

Ready.  Set.  Go to the grocery store for the turkey and non-perishable food items.  When deciding on how big of a turkey to purchase, allow 1 to 2 pounds of meat per person.


Make sure your roasting pan is large enough to fit turkey.  Consider using a meat thermometer to help take the guesswork out of when the bird is done. Now is the time to purchase these items.

Let the dessert planning begin!

scalloped pie plate

Now is the time to plan out the dessert table and serving pieces.  Perhaps it’s time for a new cake plate or tiered tray to add to this year’s holiday finery.

Metallic Lace Cake Stand

Metallic Lace Cake Stand

Plan the beverage menu and stock the bar.


5 days to go:

Prep dishes, flatware and stemware.


Take a chair inventory.


Aunt Belle’s disco decor days have gone the way of avocado green appliances, wall-to-wall shag carpet, and the Merry Mushroom dinnerware straight out of the housewares department at the local Sears.  Her get down tonight may not be able to get up today if she is forced to sit in the bean bag chair from the kids playroom.

Know your audience, and buy, borrow, or rent the extra items to meet your holiday hosting needs.


Antique Silver Sentiment Salt and Pepper Shakers

Fill salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowl and artificial sweetener dish.


3 days to go:

Remove turkey from freezer and place in refrigerator to begin the thawing process.



Company is coming!

Curb appeal doesn’t take a holiday.   Cut, edge, clip, blow and manicure.


Southern Living

Clean house accordingly.

Round Kaboo Basket LargeRound Kaboo Basket Large

Helpful hint: Decorative baskets and storage cubes come in mighty handy as a stylish storage solution.

2 days to go:

Take inventory of holiday hospitality guest room essentials.  Clean and stock guest bedrooms and bathrooms with fresh linens and paper goods.


You know that lightly damp dishtowel left over from last night’s KP duty? On your way to the laundry room with it, hit the holiday table and chairs dusting high notes.

Two tasks taken care of with one swipe.


Set out candles, arrange centerpiece, set table with linens, place mats, chargers and place cards.


1 day to go:

Make cornbread for dressing.


Chop vegetables, place in Ziploc bags, and store in refrigerator.

Let the dessert baking begin!

Cakes really do taste better the next day.  All the flavors and spices get in there and do their thing, bringing forth the next day flavor c’est si bon.

homemade- carrot- cake

Fill soap dispensers and paper towel holders in kitchen.


Set out dinnerware, glasses, serving pieces, dishes, bowls and platters. Turn over or cover with dishtowels until next day.

The Big Event!

Preheat oven.

Take turkey out of refrigerator, season to taste, and place in roaster. Approximate roasting time for a thoroughly defrosted 12-14 lb. unstuffed turkey is  3-3 ½ hours roasted at  325°F until done.


About a half hour before the turkey’s finished, take it out of the oven. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.

You’re looking for a temperature of 170 degrees F.  If you don’t have a thermometer simply pierce the turkey with a fork.  The juices should run clear.


Allow the turkey to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to saturate the meat evenly.


Chill beverages.


Prepare other side dishes, salads and desserts while turkey is roasting.

Sweet-Potato-roast-recipeCrispy Sweet Potato Roast

Prep coffee maker for after dinner coffee.

Take a deep breath.

Remember to enjoy the beauty, food, fellowship and fruits of your holiday labor of love!

Love your style!

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