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How to Schedule Thanksgiving Week

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Hosting Thanksgiving can be a delightful experience, and with a bit of thoughtful planning, it can be stress-free too! The key? Below we have detailed how to schedule Thanksgiving week in a way that allows for relaxed and manageable prep.

How to Schedule Thanksgiving Week: A Simple Guide to Festive Ease

Days Needed: 5 days

By breaking down Thanksgiving tasks into smaller, daily goals, you can enjoy the festive spirit without the overwhelming chaos. Plan ahead, delegate wisely, and create a simple yet festive feast for everyone to enjoy.

  1. Plan Ahead:

    Start by outlining your menu for the big day. Think about and create a list of which dishes that can be made in advance and those best cooked on the day itself. Once you know your menu, make sure you have the space to have dishes in the refrigerator in advance.

  2. Delegate Wisely:

    Embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving by inviting others to contribute. Identify dishes that are simpler to prepare at the host’s house versus those suitable for guests to bring along. Clearly communicate kitchen space and appliance limitations up-front with those that will participate in contributing dishes.

  3. Work Backwards:

    Take your menu and work backwards. Start with what time you want to sit down to eat. Next, detail what needs to be finished last and figure out when that dish needs to begin in order be finished at said time. Keep doing this with all of your dishes until you have a schedule created. Don’t forget that the turkey will need to rest! And don’t forget about the dishes that others are providing.

  4. Daily Goals:

    Assign tasks to each day leading up to Thanksgiving, ensuring that the workload is manageable and stress-free. And don’t forget that you will want to eat dinner the night before and breakfast the morning of, so may as well plan that into your schedule as well!

Additional Tips & Tricks on How To Enhance Your Thanksgiving Schedule

  1. Delegate tasks: Don’t feel obligated to do everything yourself. Encourage guests to bring dishes or help with smaller tasks. This lessens the load and makes the gathering more communal.
  2. Make-ahead recipes: Choose recipes that allow for preparation in advance, like desserts, sauces, and side dishes. This reduces the workload on the big day.
  3. Organization is key: Keep lists of ingredients, recipes, and tasks handy. Consider using a planner or a spreadsheet with 30 minute time-frames to stay organized and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
  4. Prep ingredients: Chop vegetables, measure dry ingredients, and even assemble casseroles or components of dishes a day or two before. This streamlines the cooking process on Thanksgiving Day.
  5. Set the table early: Arrange the table settings a day ahead to avoid last-minute stress. This also adds to the festive ambiance in the home.
  6. Keep it simple: While it’s tempting to prepare an elaborate spread, focusing on a few well-executed dishes often leads to a more enjoyable experience.
  7. Plan for downtime: Schedule some time for relaxation amidst the preparations. Take breaks, go for a walk, or simply sit and enjoy a moment of peace. It’s a holiday, after all!

Sample Thanksgiving Week Schedule

Week Before:


  • Make Minestrone soup to reheat for dinner the night before Thanksgiving.
  • Make the Quick Pickling solution and pickle vegetables for later use.
  • Defrost pie crust.


  • Begin prepping the Cornbread Dressing by baking the cornbread.
  • Make a thanksgiving pie.
  • Defrost Green Bean Bundles and any other frozen dishes.
  • Create a written/printed plan or spreadsheet to use on Thursday with times (eg: 8am: remove Turkey from refrigerator, 8:30am: get roasting pan ready, 9am: pre-heat oven, etc.). You can mark things off of this list as you go on Thanksgiving without having to try to remember every detail while guests arrive etc.


  • Continue with the Cornbread Dressing by sauteing and mixing the ingredients and storing it covered in the refrigerator until baking.
  • Assemble Green Bean Bundles with sauce and pre-bake. Cool and store in refrigerator until ready to re-heat.
  • Prepare the Turkey Brine and Brine the Turkey according to the recipe instructions.
  • Pre-cut the vegetables for the roast turkey’s base.
  • Make a French Carrot Salad.
  • Cut cheesecloth for the turkey.

Thursday (Thanksgiving Day):

  • Roast the turkey using the Brine and Butter Cheesecloth method per the recipe guidelines.
  • Prepare the Easy Holiday Turnip Gratin, slice the turnips, and assemble the dish.
  • Pull Cornbread Dressing from the refrigerator, allowing it to reach room temperature.
  • Set the table.
  • Rest the turkey after roasting and make the gravy.
  • Cook the Turnip Gratin and Cornbread Dressing.
  • Reheat the Make-Ahead Green Bean Bundles while the turkey and other dishes rest and cool.
  • Retrieve any additional side dishes or desserts and arrange your feast.

Relax and Enjoy the Feast!

Once you’ve made it through your tasks, it’s time to savor the fruits of your labor. Remember, the goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment for everyone, including yourself. Prioritize what matters most and enjoy the Thanksgiving festivities. Happy Thanksgiving!

Suggested Recipes for Thanksgiving

Brined & Roasted Turkey with Chardonnay Butter
Create a succulent, golden roast turkey using a combination of brine and butter soaked cheesecloth methods. An amazing golden delectable skin is created from Chardonnay butter. And the brine keeps the turkey meat flavorful and moist as it roasts. A bed of root vegetables acts as the turkey's roasting rack, infusing the meat with aromatic flavor, while the drippings turn the veggies into a delicious side dish.
Check out this recipe
photo of crispy golden brown roast turkey that used the brine and butter cheesecloth methods on top of a large serving platter
Cornbread Dressing with Rye and Fresh Herbs
A combination of day-old cornbread, toasted rye bread, and an aromatic blend of fresh herbs. This classic recipe offers the perfect blend of tradition and intrigue, delivering an inspired addition to your holiday table.
Check out this recipe
photo of cornbread dressing with rye and herbs in 13x9 baking dish
Easy Holiday Turnip Gratin
Thinly sliced turnips layered with creamy Gruyère cheese, fragrant garlic, and thyme, baked to golden perfection. A simple yet elegant side dish, perfect for weeknight dinners or holiday feasts.
Check out this recipe
Golden brown and flecked with thyme, a photo of turnip gratin in baking dish straight out of the oven.
Green Bean Bundles with Bacon
These Green Bean Bundles wrapped in bacon and braised in a sweet garlic liquid are easy to prepare in advance. They're perfect for holidays and weeknight dinners alike, and the make-ahead options reduce last-minute cooking stress.
Check out this recipe
closeup photo of cooked green bean bundles
Butter Wheat Pie Crust
Discover the perfect balance of wholesome goodness and buttery indulgence with our Butter Wheat Pie Crust recipe. This crust combines nutty flavors and health benefits of whole wheat flour with the rich, buttery taste that makes pie crusts irresistible. Whether you plan to bake a classic apple pie, a velvety pumpkin pie, or a savory quiche, this crust can be the foundation for a truly memorable culinary creation.
Check out this recipe
Spiced Whipped Cream
This easy-to-make whipped cream is infused with warm cinnamon and nutmeg spices, adding a cozy and aromatic twist to your favorite treats. Whether you're topping off a slice of pie, waffles, a cup of cocoa, or a festive fall cocktail, this spiced whipped cream is a perfect companion. Get ready to whip up a dollop of deliciousness with this simple and flavorful recipe. This makes a small amount, so double it if you are using it for pie or like to be indulgent.
Check out this recipe
glass jar of freshly whipped spiced cream with spoon in it ready to serve
Muddled Apple Cider Cocktail
This cocktail combines the rich, warm notes of bourbon with the sweet and tangy taste of apple cider. Adding spiced whipped cream on top creates a delightful and essential aromatic twist to your drink. Perfect for sipping on a cozy autumn evening! Be warned: this cocktail sneaks up on you quickly because it is so delicious. This recipe can be made non-alcoholic and kid-friendly by leaving out the bourbon.
Check out this recipe
photo of muddled apple cider cocktail topped with spiced whipped cream and a cinnamon stick next to a chunk of apple, a cocktail shaker, a half squeezed lemon, a muddler, cocktail shaker and apple cider and bourbon in the background
Bartlett Pear and Cardamom Rum Cocktail
Indulge in the essence of fall with our Bartlett Pear and Cardamom Rum Cocktail. This delightful mix of muddled Bartlett pear, cardamom bitters, and rum brings warmth and sweetness to your glass. A hint of vanilla and pink peppercorn adds a unique twist to this flavorful concoction. Cheers to a perfect fall-inspired cocktail!
Check out this recipe
photo of iced pear cocktail with rum and cardamom topped with pink peppercorn and vanilla powder
Minestrone Soup with Tortellini
This Minestrone Soup with Tortellini is comforting and adaptable. Optional Parmesan rind brings depth of flavor to the broth. Use seasonal veggies and your favorite tortellini filling. A nourishing one-pot wonder you can customize to your heart's content.
Check out this recipe
photo of bowl of minestrone soup with tortellini topped with parmesan and olive oil

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