Thanksgiving Big Plans!

Happy Thanksgiving–  Are you ready for the feasting and family, for making pies and giving thanks??  We’re having our meal at our house for the first time in years!  Can’t wait to have grandparents, kids and cousins walk in the door!!

So since I’ve been plotting and making big plans (!) for weeks, I thought you might like a few Thanksgiving ideas I’ve come across. Here’s a few of my favorites:

PLANNING AHEAD
#1.  Find out who’s coming!!  It’s always a good idea to invite a friend or two to round out the family, make it more festive!!  (Have a guest list number to plan tables, amounts of food)
#2.   Imagine your big dream menu–  Then go back and simplify!  You don’t need 12 dishes on the table (3 vegetables?? no!) — narrow down to the very best, what makes it taste like Thanksgiving for your family…
#3.  Grocery shop early in the week– to avoid last minute crowds– And– a frozen turkey needs to defrost in your fridge (1 day for every 4 pounds– so a 20 pound turkey needs 5 days to defrost!)
#4.  Determine when you want Thanksgiving dinner on the table– then count backwards and make a list of start times for each dish!
#5.  Make as many dishes as you can the day before– cranberry relish, cakes, stuffing, make & refrigerate pie crusts, prep veggies…
#6.  Empty out the fridge to make room!  Old leftovers, extra bottles of mustard, less than fresh veggies– Out!!
#7.  Set out serving dishes with a post it note on each one for what will go on the dish.
#8.  Pick up some take home containers to send leftovers home with guests (available at Smart & Final if you have one nearby).
#9. Run the dishwasher Wednesday night and have it empty to use on Thanksgiving.
#10. Set the table Wednesday afternoon and admire it for 24 hours before the big meal.

GETTING THE FEAST ON THE TABLE
#1.  If you have houseguests, send them off for a lovely breakfast out, so you can get to work in the kitchen!
#2.  Tape your recipes up on the kitchen cupboards, easy to see, out of the way.
#3.  Set a cooler in the corner of the kitchen to keep hot things hot before the meal, and to hide dirty dishes after you eat!
#4.  Clean as you go while you cook, to keep counters clear and save yourself from a monumental mess at the end of the day!
#5.  Have a small group?  Just do a turkey breast, about a pound per person.
#6.  Eating early?  Cook two small turkeys in place of one large bird, to cut cooking time.
#7.  If guests want to help ask them to light the candles, open the wine, write out some place cards, read Thanksgiving stories to restless kids.
#8.  Never try out new recipes out on a big cooking day like Thanksgiving.
#9.  Keep appetizers light, a bubbly drink, some salted nuts, or raw veggies– dinner is coming!!
#10. Serve dinner buffet style– easier to manage and just set the cranberry relish, butter, gravy on the dining table to leave room for a pretty centerpiece.
#11. Relocate to the sofa after dinner for a relaxing round of desserts.
#12. Invite the non-cooks to help with the clean up– supply kitchen music and lots of towels.

MAKING IT SPECIAL
#1. A few days ahead, write out a notes detailing why you’re thankful for each guest and on Thanksgiving, tuck them under their plates.
#2.  Organize a family walk in the park after dinner to make room for dessert a little later.
#3.  Before the meal read Psalm 100 and have someone thank God for the year of blessings.
#4.  Post a large sheet of paper titled “Thankful Heart Chart” on the wall.  Set out a mug of markers and have everyone draw small pictures of what they are thankful for– trees, donuts, Grandma Lo, music, turkey, faith, friends…
#5.  Play “Thankful A to Z”– go round the circle and think of something you are thankful for– starting with each letter of the alphabet.
#6.  Have the family all chip in to buy a World Vision gift (chickens, a bicycle, schooling, vaccines) for a family in a 3rd world country.  (catalogues available at worldvision.org)
#7.  Play Thanksgiving charades (act out turkey, pilgrim, Mayflower, pumpkin pie, football…)
#8.  Have your Thanksgiving meal the weekend before the actual Thanksgiving– cheaper airfares, lets everyone also have a Thanksgiving with the other in-laws, less traffic, more people able to come.
#9.  Be liberal with your Thanksgiving hugs and telling people how thankful you are for them.
#10. Kids are only about 2/3 the size of adults.  So they should only have to sit at the table 2/3 as long!

That’s it.  Hoping you are part of a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving feast with people you hold dear.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

P.S. thanks to Holly Hobby for the illustration.

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31 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Big Plans!

  1. Wow! You are so organised but every one of your ideas makes so much sense and takes out the stress so everyone can enjoy the day. We don’t really do Thanksgiving here in the UK but I am going to apply some of these ideas for Christmas. Thank you Rhonda

  2. I love Thanksgiving! We can’t wait to get to our youngest sons and be with him and his wife and those girls of ours!
    We’re going to sleepover and bringing both dogs as well.
    Pure chaos and love!

  3. Hi Rhonda, Thank you for helpful hints to help with cooking and clean up! I found that a few people helping with dishes is great, one to load the dishwasher, one or two to clear the table and so on. I’m going to try the taped recipes and the cooler to keep food hot. Great ideas, friend! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! God Bless you.💗💗💗🏡

  4. We used your list this Thanksgiving. I simply printed out the list, cut them into 6 pieces of 5 questions each. I had one at each place sitting at the table. Had good conversation with thankfulness as the theme! Thank you, Rhonda!

    • Oh gosh Sue, thanks for letting me know! Nice to hear someone found it useful. Hope you had a wonderful time together. We had lots of kids staying with us and parents coming in and half of us got the flu!! So it was a Thanksgiving we won’t forget! But it did have some sweet moments. Fun to hear from you Sue!! xo

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