Home » Featured resources » Thanksgiving countdown
A Table set for thanksgiving

Thanksgiving countdown

One month before:

  • Quest list: send invites. Facebook events makes it easy to keep track of responses and what everyone is bringing
  • Plan menu
  • Organize recipes in one spot

Three weeks before

  • Make master grocery list
  • Order fresh turkey
  • Shop for drinks
  • Make a list of perishables, buy a few each week
  • Clean glasses and polish silverware. Do a count of plates, glasses and silverware to make sure you have enough.
  • Do you have enough chairs? Borrow or rent some.
  • Baking: Mix dry ingredients and place in plastic bag. Tape recipe to it. Make your baking schedule (what you are going to bake when). Mark on calendar

Two weeks before

  • Clean and press Thanksgiving clothes
  • Clean freezer
  • Make and freeze pie shells. Or make the pie and freeze.
  • Make and freeze roll dough
  • Freeze homemade stock
  • Plan serving bowls for each dish–label bowls
  • Check your pots and pans. Do you have enough?
  • Wash and press table linen
  • Plan decorations

One week before

  • List your menu items making note of how long it takes to cook each dish. Make up a cooking schedule.
  • Shop for non-perishables
  • Make and freeze soup
  • Pick up turkey
  • Clean out refrigerator


  • Make ice. Save money by making ice and storing it in a food safe bag.
  • Bake cornbread for stuffing. Not everyone uses cornbread for stuffing. Check your stuffing recipe for directions.


  • Defrost turkey. Allow one day for each 4 to 5 pounds
  • Buy perishables


  • Make cranberry sauce, Jell-O and other cold dishes
  • Pies: make or defrost. Don’t bake
  • Defrost stock
  • Set out bread for stuffing to dry
  • Fill salt and pepper shakers
  • Assemble reheatable side dishes such as sweet potato casserole, scallop corn, green bean casserole, stuffed squash, etc.


  • Bake pies late in the day
  • Chop nuts, vegetables and cheese that you will be using for your dishes
  • Bake reheatable dishes
  • Make appetizers
  • Wash and dry salad greens. Store in a plastic bag in crisper
  • Set table. Place salt and pepper shakers
  • Set up dessert and/or appetizer side bars: plates, forks, spoons, pie server, napkins, and other non-food items.
  • Chill beverages
  • Place dry ingredients for your dishes in a plastic bag and tape recipe to the bag. Place in serving bowl with serving spoon. Note: Stuffing–for safety reasons– should not have wet ingredients mixed with the dry until right before cooking.
  • Thaw rolls/scones. Bake if not already made.


Schedule for Thanksgiving day will vary depending on time of meal, size of your turkey, if you are stuffing it and what side dishes you are serving.

4 to 7 hours before

  • Remove turkey from refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature for one hour (see All Recipes for cooking times).
  • Preheat oven
  • Bake side dishes and/or rolls

3 to 6 hours before

  • Place turkey in the oven

3 hours before

  • Finish table centerpieces
  • Prep baskets for bread
  • Prep appetizers and/or relish trays
  • Put milk and sugar in their serving containers. Keep milk chilled

1 hours before

  • Remove mash potatoes and side dishes from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
  • Place cranberry sauce and butter on the table

30 minutes before

  • Check temperature of the turkey and remove from oven when thigh temp reaches 165 degrees. Tent turkey and let it rest for half an hour.
  • If you stuff your turkey, remove stuffing and place in baking dish. Heat until temp reaches 165 degrees.
  • Reheat side dishes
  • Warm rolls
  • Place salad in serving bowl with tongs. Set it and salad dressing on the table.
  • Fill water and wine glasses
  • Start coffee
  • Make gravy
  • Place appetizers on the table or side bar.

Just before…

  • Crave turkey
  • Place side dishes and gravy on the table
  • Place rolls in bread basket and place on the table
  • Place sugar bowl and milk on the table or dessert side bar
Shopping Guide

Thanksgiving serving bowls:  Amazon  ebay

Thanksgiving tablecloths: Amazon ebay

Thanksgiving napkins: Amazon ebay

Thanksgiving platters and trays:  Amazon ebay

Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers:  Amazon ebay

Casserole dishes: Amazon ebay

Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed this blog post, please give it a share!

More information:

Easy Thanksgiving DIY Decorations: Budget Friendly
Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner
Thanksgiving Gratitude: Ideas and Activities
Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner
Turkey Quiz Challenge
Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner

Please rate this article

Current rating

Rate for usefulness and quality. Five thumbs is the top rating.Do you want more information on this topic or have a new article suggestion? Please click on the contact button and tell us.

User Rating: Be the first one !

Check Also

Picture of a turkey

Turkey Quiz Challenge

Try your knowledge of Thanksgiving with the Turkey Quiz Challenge, Find out if you are …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 + fourteen =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.