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:
#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.
31 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Big Plans!”
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
Thanks Rose! I get the idea that you cook a lot for family and friends too– I’d love to see you list of ideas. Fun to hear from you… xox
Wow…You almost covered everything.It is a long list and much needed one..It will be helpful for coming thanksgiving. Good Luck for the preparation
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!
Love that Cate– “pure chaos and love!” I’m guessing there will be lots of laughter and good food at your table. Happy Thanksgiving dear friend! xox
You are well prepared Rhonda. Have a super time with your loved ones x
Thanks Brigid!! Our San Francisco kids with baby Lois are coming in late tonight. And the fridge is full of meals for the next few days. So excited! hug hugs friend.
Such wonderful ideas!!
Hi Lucinda!! So fun to hear from you! Loved seeing the photo of you with the twins!! They look so grown up! Hope you enjoyed every minute!! Happy Thanksgiving!! xox
Same to you!
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.💗💗💗🏡
Thanks Mary– the kids are driving down from SF right now and the fridge is brimming with food, so I’m happily anticipating! Hope your big days the best!! xox
Fun, fun, fun! I’m picking up our son in college today and my mom is riding with me. Please keep me in your prayers for a safe trip fighting traffic.I pray your kids have a safe journey! Hugs❤️👍
This is going to be fun Mary!! Thanksgiving blessings… xo
Thank you. I truly hope your Thanksgiving was special!❤🌈
Hi Rhonda – these are great, I esp. like the very last one 😉 Happy Thanksgiving to you -Kat
Thanks thanks Kat! I’m thinking your have your own great Thanksgiving tips… Hope it is the best! xox
I think this was one of the best Thanksgiving tips post I have read. So helpful and I agree with all the points you made 🙂
Thanks Shamira– I’ll bet you have plenty of great tips too. Enjoy your posts!! Happy Thanksgiving! xo
Great tips. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Rhonda!
Thanks Marcia! I’m wondering about your Thanksgiving– Are you traveling to your son’s house?? Or cooking at home?? It seems like you live in a place that would have beautiful traditional Thanksgiving feasts! Hope it’s the best! xoxo
He’s coming to us–yay! 🙂
That is a big Yay!! Enjoy the time together Marcia! xo
Fun, practical, meaningful and tasty suggestions–I’m taking them all!!
Hey Jenni– thanks! I’m looking forward to your Christmas tips at MOPS!! Happy Thanksgiving ahead– so thankful for the years of your friendship. hugs hugs!
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
Awesome list! You hit EVERYTHING.
I think you could make your own list for us– Thanksgiving with Kids!! I’d love to see that Lacey! xox
Ohhhhh that’s such a good idea!