How To Plan The Perfect Family Feast

Who's cooking the turkey? According to Taste of Home, if you're asking yourself this question three weeks before Thanksgiving, you might be a little behind the curve. Don't worry though. With this guide you'll be able to catch up and plan a spectacular Turkey Day dinner. 

Let's dive in. 

Phase 1: Turkey Day Planning

Four weeks before the big feast you should start making a basic plan. Start by creating a guest list and send out invitations. It'll be hard to do anything else until you know how big of a crowd to expect. Once all of your guest have sent their RSVP, start building a menu. Finally, make a list of the serving ware, and décor you will need.  

Phase 2: Beating the Thanksgiving Store Rush

If this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner for your family, don't try to do everything yourself. Three weeks before Thanksgiving, decide what you will make at home and what you'll delegate to your guest. If you have a few guest on your list that don't spend time in the kitchen, assign them a no-cook task like store-bought sides, planning games and entertainment, or purchasing  plastic ware. Once you have a solid idea of what you need to provide yourself, make a shopping list. To avoid the last-minute rush on grocery stores and décor shops,  you want to do as much of your shopping early as you can. 

Phase 3: Preparing Your Home For a Thanksgiving Feast

Two weeks before your big turkey dinner, start adding holiday cheer to your home. Take down all of your Halloween decoration and give your home a harvest celebration makeover. Once your home is properly outfitted for a festive Thanksgiving, start prepping for the dishes you plan to make. Go ahead and cook any items that you can make ahead and freeze. This is also a good time to practice recipes that are new to you. You don't want to ruin the green bean casserole the day of. 

Phase 4: Thanksgiving Day Countdown Begins

Once you're family starts arriving, things can start to get a little frenzied. The week of Thanksgiving, follow the check list below to stay on track. 

  1. Head to the store to finish your shopping list. Grab all of the fresh ingredients you need like sweet potatoes, salad, and dairy products. 
  2. Spruce up your home. Taste of Home has a helpful holiday cleaning list you can use. 
  3. Defrost the Turkey. Frozen Turkey takes a while to thaw. You'll need to pull it out of the freezer three days before the big day. 
  4. Get confirmation with your guest. Your guest have busy lives. Even though you've already asked them to bring a specific dish its been a couple of weeks. Its a good idea to give them a friendly reminder. 

Phase 5: Final Preparations

If you have pre-game jitters, try to relax. As long as you've followed the plan outlined above, Thanksgiving Day will be a breeze.  The day before, make a checklist that includes the dishes you plan to make and items your guest are bringing. You'll feel a lot more in control checking things off as they arrive.

  1. Chill beverages for you guest. 
  2. Season the turkey. If you're making the turkey, seasoning it the night before can enhance its flavor.
  3. Set the table. 
  4. Bake desserts. 

You might also like: The Best Pumpkin Pie

Phase 6: Gobble Gobble

The day of Thanksgiving remember to eat breakfast to give you enough fuel to conquer the day. After breakfast, review your checklist and get cooking. In a few short hours it'll be time to dig in. 


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November 7, 2022
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