Stress Free Thanksgiving Planner and FREE Printable

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It is a time in which we give thanks for all of our blessings.  When you think back to the original Thanksgiving dinner it was actually a potluck meal.  Both the pilgrims and Indians offered part of the meal.  Keep this in mind if your guests offer to bring something, this is a kind gesture and will help alleviate some of the stress on you from doing it all.  Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, and remembering our blessings, we don’t want to be stressed out all day so here is a little planner to help you get prepared so when turkey day arrives you will be ready to spend the time with your family and friends.

Planning Ahead

I am a planner, especially when it comes to hosting people.  I don’t want to be running around the day of buying things or figuring out if I need tables and chairs and where to get them.  It is so much easier to get the bigger things out of the way first so I am able to enjoy the day with those I love most.  Here is a little planning inspiration to help you get organized so your Thanksgiving day can run smooth.

Here is a FREE printable to help you get started. Click on image to download.


3-4 Weeks Before

  • Invite your guests.  If you want to be prepared, you need to know who is coming and others like to make their plans ahead of time as well.
  • Once you know how many people you are expecting you can plan your tablescape. Are you having a buffet or sit down dinner?  You’ll need to plan on linens, napkins, plates, glasses, and centerpieces.
  • Plan your menu.  Make sure it is well rounded and delicious.  Plan on serving a couple of meats, three or four sides, rolls, gravy, condiments, desserts, etc.  Will you be having guests bring things?  If so, decide what is needed and let them know.

2 Weeks Before

  • Decide what kind of turkey you are going to serve and start comparing prices.  Are you getting a ham or ordering a turkey?  If you are, get those pre-ordered now.
  • Confirm with your guests who haven’t yet RSVP’d.
  • Wash any dishes, coolers, etc. that you will be using.  Nobody wants to wash dishes the day of.
  • If you need extra tables and chairs, now is the time to get them rented/borrowed.
  • Look for recipes you want to use so you know what ingredients you need.
  • Finalize your menu and make grocery list.

1 Week Before

  • Prepare your kitchen.  Get it cleaned and organized and make space in the fridge and pantry for your grocery items.
  • Clean your house and if you want to decorate, go ahead. Now is a good time to work on your centerpieces and get those finished.
  • Get organized by making lots of lists.  If you have multiple store you are going to, make a list for each store.

The Monday Before

  • Buy your non-perishables and drinks.
  • If frozen, defrost your turkey. Place it in fridge to do so.
  • Clean your house and set up any guest rooms for out of town guests.
  • Figure out how you will be serving the meal.  Place post it notes inside of the serving dishes so you know where things go.  This is especially helpful if you have guests helping you prepare/set up the day of.

The Tuesday Before

  • Clean the rest of the house and do anything you can think of that you don’t want to have to do on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Make your cranberry sauce.
  • Purchase anything you forgot to get earlier.

The Wednesday Before

  • Wash and chop all vegetables you are using for salads, stuffing, place in bowls or ziplock bags and refrigerate.
  • If you are brining your turkey, make your brine and place your turkey inside.
  • Shop for any remaining groceries (salad greens, seafood, etc.)
  • Make your pies.
  • Prepare any side dishes that can be made ahead of time.
  • Set up your tables and chairs.
  • Grab ice and keep in freezer.

Thanksgiving Day

  • Make your stuffing and stuff your turkey.
  • Have someone buy or bring ice if you need it.
  • Set the table(s) with table clothes, silverware, napkins, centerpieces, and light candles.
  • Place turkey in oven according to package directions.  Make sure you start cooking it so it’s ready just in time for dinner.  Depending on how much your turkey weighs and what time you are serving it will determine when you will start cooking.
  • Place drinks in cooler and start chilling them.
  • Make the potatoes..
  • Make the turkey gravy from pan drippings if you are making your own gravy.
  • Enjoy your hard work and have a great Thanksgiving.

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  1. This is gorgeous and super-useful! Thanks for sharing it.


      Thank you! Have a great Thanksgiving.

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