Thanksgiving Countdown

Thanksgiving Countdown

Waiting until the last minute to pull together a holiday feast is for those who like to live dangerously. A checklist, advance planning, and the right tools will let you greet the holiday season feeling prepared and confident. This countdown to Thanksgiving gives you a simple idea each day to help you get ready for the big feast. You can apply this countdown to large gatherings you host any time of year.

Day 1

Invite your guests. Send an email out this week for a general head count so you can start a menu plan.

Day 2

Start gathering your recipe ideas. Why not start a new side dish tradition with Savory Mashed Root Vegetables? You’ll need a trusty swivel-action blade vegetable peeler for all your veggie side dish plans.

Day 3

Have a tear-free holiday season. A food chopper can tackle onions in seconds. Get one now, so you’re ready for all your veggie prep.

Food Chopper

Day 4

Florists get busy right before the holidays, so place flower orders now.

Day 5

Make a playlist. Cue up your favorite tunes that evoke sweater weather, home, and gratitude. Consider some rootsy, acoustic background music or golden age big band jazz.

Day 6

Plan your beverages. Have plenty of choices for the kids and consider a signature cocktail for the grown-ups. Stock up on a few large family-sized pitchers to serve them in style.

Here are some basic rules to keep in mind for about 25 guests:

  • 2 gallons of lemonade, punch, or tea if alcohol is being served.
  • 4 gallons of lemonade, punch, or tea if alcohol is not being served.
  • 2 alcoholic drinks per person for the first hour and 1 drink for every hour after.
  • 1½ lb. of ice per guest.

Day 7

A well-stocked kitchen and quality tools will make holiday meal prep much easier. Here’s a list of essential kitchen tools and pantry staples you’ll need to get holiday meals on the table without the fuss.

Day 8

This week, decide what menu items you can make ahead of time and freeze. Soups and casseroles are good candidates. Leakproof containers will be your holiday BFFs before and after the big meal.

kitchen storage and organization

Day 9

Decide on side dishes. Will you go traditional or get inventive with dishes that will surprise and excite your guests?


Fresh Take:

Day 10

Consider vegetarian options for your menu.

spicy sesame cauliflower

Day 11

Use a quality masher to get a smooth consistency from your favorite mashed potatoes recipe. You can even make them now and freeze them.

Day 12

Plan your desserts. Plan on a 3-inch wedge (⅙ of a 9-inch pie) for each guest. Stock up on dessert-making must-haves like batter bowls for mixing, stackable cooling racks to save counter space, and a pastry blender for the perfect homemade pie crust. Here are 10 tips to avoid most common pie-baking problems.

Day 16

Turkey Thawing Tips: Refrigerator thawing will take 24 hours for every 4 lb. of turkey. Put your whole turkey breast up on a Large Baking Sheet. An 18 lb. turkey will take about five days to thaw in the fridge. Once thawed, that bird can stay in your fridge for four days before cooking.

Day 17

Basting Tip: Give the bird a one-time greasing with a baster, then roast without peeking. The more you open the oven door, the longer the turkey takes to cook!

Day 18

How do you know when the turkey is done? After about three hours in the oven, insert an oven-safe thermometer deep into the thigh without touching the bone. Start checking the turkey for doneness about 30 minutes before the recommended cook time. Your turkey is done when the temperature reads 180°F in the thigh and 165°F in the breast or stuffing.

Day 19

Use the weekend before Thanksgiving to clean the house and clean out your fridge. Reusable cleaning cloths can outlast 15 rolls of paper towels which makes them a great choice for your wallet and the planet.

reusable cleaning cloths

Day 20

Write your holiday grocery list and get to the store. If you forget something, you’ll have a few days to run back out and get it.

Day 21

Assemble and bake your pie in a beautiful stoneware pie plate. The stoneware draws moisture away from the food so baked goods turn out light and crispy.

pie plate

Day 23

Chop, chop, chop. Prep as many fresh ingredients as you can. You’ll be giving your knives a workout, but luckily a high-density polypropylene cutting board will protect your countertops and help prevent knives from dulling.

cutting board

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13 Responses to Thanksgiving Countdown

  1. Ruth Stehling November 3, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Don’t need anything at the moment. Thank you.

  2. Katrina Metzler November 4, 2016 at 4:35 am #

    Helpful tips for counting down to Thanksgiving. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210158860151043&set=gm.1444333305594362&type=3&theater

  3. Tammy jacksob November 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm #


    • Sue Reynolds November 10, 2016 at 6:51 am #

      Tammy J. Please let me know if there is anything I an order for you to make your Holiday so much easier! Do you need recipes, new easy food to prepare? Can check them out on my website or contact me!

  4. Tammy jacksob November 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    Love this

    • Sue Reynolds November 10, 2016 at 6:52 am #

      Which one do you Love? What can I get for you?

    • Margit Miller November 15, 2016 at 6:50 am #

      I’m so glad that you love this link. I do too. Feel free to share it with your friends.

  5. Stacie November 15, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    This is INSANE…No one “preps”, and “adheres” to insane, and strict regimens that “Pampered Chef” pretends to adhere to. We all are capable women/men who can, and have, put Thanksgiving dinners on the table for many, many years. It is pathetic, and narrow-minded to think that Thanksgiving dinner is something as pathetic as a junior high school grade in a faux pas familial representation of a holiday. We embrace cultural differences, we embrace our beliefs of what Thanksgiving is to us, our fellow man. PLEASE do not adhere to the strict, and fringent ridicules of Pampered Chef, as we can all embrace our unity as fellow Americans!

    • paula November 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

      Stacie, I think you took this blog post way to seriously. This is adaptable to any and all people…if you don’t want to do it like this, that’s fine. Some people do better with a checklist, some do not. It’s all subjective, and a matter of what works for each person. These are merely suggestions, not a strict guide.

  6. Linda Clark January 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

    I am doing this next year! Thank you for doing it!!!

  7. Jeanne Evans November 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

    Whoo-hooo!!! Thanks for all the information. This will help me tremendously! Thanks again, Allison Merrill

  8. Roger T. Valinoti November 25, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    I for one really liked all the suggestions as they are just that and not rules, especially liked “How to carve a Turkey”.

  9. Roger T. Valinoti November 25, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    I will be carving that Turkey this afternoon.

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