The Ultimate Thanksgiving Timeline from One Week Out
November 18, 2015
This is IT, folks. Our ultimate planning schedule. I don't want to overpromise, but... I'm pretty confident this baby will lead you from chicken-with-her-head-cut-off to a beautifully prepared Thanksgiving dinner in one (very pulled together) piece. If you're hosting this year, bookmark this post- and then get out there and reserve that turkey!
7 days out

A clean house is a clear mind. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to give your place a good scrub down. If you plan to tackle this project solo, make time this weekend to get your place spic and span.

Order a turkey. Grocers can't guarantee you a turkey if you don't reserve one in advance. So just do it! You'll feel better and will avoid a turkey travesty.
6 days out

Solidify your guest list. This is important for two reasons. First, you want to make sure that you plan for enough food and place settings for your guests. Second, you want to check for food allergies and/or dietary preferences. If your best friend happens to be a vegan, perhaps she can offer a few ideas for tasty vegan sides that everyone will find delicious.

Divvy up responsibilities. If you're hosting a potluck, plan the menu once you have a finalized guest list complete with notes on food allergies and/or preferences. Then, dole out the dishes you could use some help with. Smart girls make the best of this task with a little forethought. Do you have a friend who is always early? Ask him or her to bring an appetizer. Likewise, assign your fashionably late friend the task of bringing dessert. As we mentioned before, it is also not a bad idea to ask friends with dietary restrictions to bring a dish or two that both works for them and is delicious for everyone.

Beg, borrow, and try not to steal. A polished guest list and menu gives you the opportunity to think a few steps ahead. Do you have the serving pieces you'll need for each dish? Do you have enough place settings? Do you need a bigger table to fit your guests?

Shop for decor. If you need candles, for example, it's tempting to procrastinate purchasing them today when you can do it in the next few days. Don't fall into this trap! When it doubt, just do it.
5 days out

Enlist help. Once the menu is planned, ask a good friend and fellow guest to come over to help a few hours early. Even if you're totally prepared, you won't regret it!

Make a master grocery list. Review your menu and create an all-mighty list of every single ingredient you need.
4 days out

Polish, buff and repeat. Make sure your flatware, dinnerware and serving pieces are clean and in tip-top shape.

Clean out your fridge. Tomorrow, you'll be doing a large chunk of Turkey Day shopping at the grocer. Make sure your fridge can handle the supplies!

Take a bubble bath. Now that your place is spotless, the turkey is ordered, guest list solidified, and menu is prepared you should feel pretty darn good. Do something nice for yourself- it's an order!
3 days out

Visit the grocer. As most Thanksgiving meals tend to have a common thread (for example, everyone will need butter, sour cream, and milk), purchase as much from your master grocery list as you can. This way, you'll have time to visit another store if needed, and/or visit the farmer's market should you so choose.

Make a playlist. Let's face it: parties are simply more fun when there's a little music in the background! Prepare a playlist of upbeat songs or Holiday favorites to get everyone in a festive mood.
2 days out

Iron your linens. We know it's a pain, but the last thing you'll want on your pretty tablescape is creased napkins! So, take a bit of time to make sure that your linens look nice and neat- you won't regret it.
1 day out

Set the table. Yesterday, you prepped by ironing linens. Today, it's time to set the stage. Make sure each place setting is complete, the glasses aren't chipped, and everything is in decent shape.

Chill. Is there anything you might be able to cook ahead of time for fridge storage until it's ready to eat?

Be your own sous chef. Chop your carrots, onions and celery. Prep your herbs, grate your cheeses. Peel and chop your potatoes, then submerge them in cold water in the pot you plan on cooking them in. It's the little things that will save you a ton of time tomorrow.

Shower the night before. No matter how much you've prepared, Thanksgiving is going to be crazy! If you can, take a shower and blow-dry your hair. You'll save a bit of time tomorrow when the madness begins.

Start early. Think about prep time for your food and cook accordingly. Give yourself more time than you think you need.