Organizing Thanksgiving Dinner

Organizing Thanksgiving Dinner

Do you prepare Thanksgiving dinner for your friends and family?

Or does the thought of creating a meal of so many things for so many people make you want to hide and down a pumpkin pie? If you’ve always wanted to host a large holiday gathering don’t feel intimidated by all the moving parts. I’ve got just the post for you!

I want to show you how I prep and plan to make Thanksgiving dinner for my friends and family. In 2017, I hosted friends and family for Thanksgiving for the 10th time in my adult life. Guest counts ranged from 4 to 27 guests (while 5 weeks pregnant!) and I have definitely refined my process along the way. Watch or read below to check out what I’ve learned.


I break my Thanksgiving meal planning down into the following 3 parts:

  1. Must-Have Menu Items…These are the things that you and/or your spouse MUST-HAVE for Thanksgiving dinner (or any holiday you may be preparing a large, traditional dinner for). Think Grandma’s Sweet Potatoes or Aunt Melody’s Green Jello Salad. Make a list of not only what you are making, but where it will cook. This will help later on when you need to get it on the table in a timely manner.
  2. Fill In Your Menu and Evaluate Your Tools…Your turkey takes up a majority of the cooking time and oven space for the day. Worried you can’t cook everything in the oven without the turkey going cold? What other tools do you have that you can use to prepare side dishes? Crock-pot? Instant Pot? Stove top? Electric skillet? Research recipe ideas for side dishes that can be prepared in some other sort of equipment you have. Looking to free up your oven, consider investing in or borrowing an electric turkey roaster like the one pictured below.
  3. Schedule Your Day…I like to plan my cooking day by working backwards from when we want to eat. That way I can figure out when items need to go into their respective cooking vessels. I can also plan when I need to prep them so they are ready to go at the right time. For instance if we were going to 2pm, the turkey needs to come out of the oven at 1pm. If it needs to cook for 4 hours, I know my turkey will need to be in the oven by 9am if we want to eat on time.
Oster 22 qt. Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid Click to purchase on Amazon

With some forethought and a bit of organizing, your Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be scary. I’m not able to guarantee it won’t be stressful or scary. But if you have a good plan in place (and a bottle or two of wine), I think you can tackle it spectacularly.

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