The Ultimate Game Plan for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Gobble Gobble! Thanksgiving is just around the corner! If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, it’s easy to find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed with the task. Afterall, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays of the year. It makes sense that you want it to go flawlessly. Putting together a feast like Thanksgiving is all about preparation. Luckily, we have you covered! Follow our ultimate game plan for hosting a smooth and worry-free Thanksgiving. 

Three Weeks Before

One of the biggest components to a stress-free Thanksgiving is planning early. Start planning at a minimum of three weeks out.

  • Invite your guests.  Try to get as close of an approximate headcount as possible.  Don't forget to ask about any food allergies.
  • Begin planning your menu. Grab a notebook and jot down all of the classics you’ll want to have on the menu. Don’t be afraid to add a couple of unique or sentimental dishes to the line up.
  • After planning your dishes consider if you are going to need help. If so ask for volunteers and assign tasks and recipes.
  • After you’ve assigned dishes to volunteers consider what you will be making and based off the amount of guests what ingredients you will need to buy. Begin making your grocery list.
  • Plan out your dinner style. Are you going for a formal sit-down dinner or a more casual buffet style?
  • Think about the items you’ll need for decor. If you don’t already have decor on hand you may want to purchase or make some holiday decor for a festive touch.
  • Purchase your non-perishable essentials before the Thanksgiving rush.
  • If you’re hosting any overnight guests ensure you have all of the necessities for your guest room. Think fresh linens, towels, and other overnight essentials.

Two Weeks Before


  • Deep clean your home. Do the bigger tasks now to avoid last minute cleaning. Especially, your kitchen. Be sure to clean your cabinets, counters, and fridge to ensure you have space for all of your dishes.

  • Purchase any equipment and supplies such as cooking equipment, plates, utensils and storage containers for leftovers
  • Locate your table linens wash and iron them.
  • Order your turkey or ham.
  • Put together a holiday playlist for a festive ambiance

One Week Before


  • Stock up on wines and soft drinks
  • Make seating arrangements and place cards if you will be having a formal sit down dinner.
  • Begin shopping for fresh ingredients.
  • Plan out any games or activities for the children attending.

Two-Three Days Before


  • Begin thawing the turkey if frozen
  • Do a final cleaning of your home and guest room
  • Ensure you have enough seating for guests
  • Wash dishes, serving platters, and pots and pans.

The Day Before


  • Set the table and place cards.
  • Put out decor and centerpieces
  • Lay out your Thanksgiving Day outfit
  • Start cooking your Thanksgiving Day dishes

Turkey Day


  • Prep and cook the turkey or ham
  • Finish cooking side dishes and appetizers
  • Give thanks and enjoy making memories with friends and family


There you have it! With some planning and organization hosting Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Gathering Pie