Last Minute Thanksgiving Checklist

We don’t know about you, but somehow, we always seem to need to stop by the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day. In the spirit of trying to avoid that this year, here’s our last-minute Thanksgiving checklist.

1. Make Sure You’re on Schedule for Turkey Defrosting

The last thing you want is a still frozen bird. If you are buying a frozen turkey, make sure you have a minimum of three days for defrosting. Make sure to take into consideration any brining time too (usually 1 to 2 days).

2. Double Check Your Menu

Look over your menu and make sure that you have all the bases covered. Locate all the recipes you need and confirm with anyone who is bringing a dish. This will help get everyone on the same page and avoid any “Wait, I thought you were bringing the Pumpkin Pie?” panics.

3. Start Your Ingredient Prep

A day or two before you plan to start cooking, get out all the ingredients you will need. Taking just a few minutes to get your Mise en Place (French for “everything in its place”) will save you tons of time when you start cooking. It will also help you spot any missing ingredients giving you plenty of time to run to the store to grab it.

4. Set the Table

Set the table the night before Thanksgiving. Get out all the decorations you plan to use and iron any linens that need a little sprucing up before the big day. Recruit the kids to help you with this. They’ll love being involved in the process. Consider having them design the place cards for people too. It’s a good way to keep them busy and they usually have fun organizing where people sit. Don’t forget to grab the table leaves from the basement or attic if you need them!

5. Double Check Your Utensils

Does your thermometer need new batteries? Are all your mixing bowls clean? Is that one pot you need for the mashed potatoes rescued from that impossible to reach cabinet? Much like getting the ingredients in order, getting your tools in order will save you lots of time. The less digging around in cabinets and drawers you have to do, the better.

If you are using the grill, make sure to triple check that you have enough fuel and any wood chips and chunks you need. When in doubt, grab and extra bag. Better to have too much than to run out.

6. Chill Wine

If you are serving any white wines with Thanksgiving, take a second to stick them in the fridge one to two days before Thanksgiving. You’ll thank yourself on Thanksgiving day when your aunt asks for her Chardonnay and you can pull out the already chilled bottle.

7. Empty Your Dishwasher and Take Out the Trash

Keys to smooth hosting: empty dishwasher and trashcans. These are two things you just don’t want to have to worry about on Thanksgiving Day and it’s a great task for the kids. Make sure to empty the trash and put away any clean dishes the night before for smoother cooking and hosting.

8. Get More Ice

As with any party, you always need more ice. Send someone out to get it and throw it in a cooler or make some spare space in the freezer.

9. Check Containers for Leftovers

Take 10 minutes and double check your Tupperware situation. Find the lids to the containers you know you are going to use and maybe run out and buy a few meal prep containers so you can send people home with their own leftover meals.

What are your favorite last-minute tips for a successful Thanksgiving? Leave them in the comments!