Thanksgiving Hosting Checklist

Thanksgiving hosting can be a intimidating job, especially if is your first time hosting.  Even if you have done it new ideas and words of wisdom are always helpful.  Below is my hosting checklist.  I hope you find it blesses you.  Please let me know if I missed something I want this to be as helpful as possible!

Happy Thanksgiving-ing

Thanksgiving Hosting Checklist – 

PDF here thanksgiving-host-countdown-rm

4 Weeks Out

  • Send out invitations
  • Order Fresh Turkey (if not getting a frozen one)

3 Weeks Out

2 Weeks Out

  • Know your headcount
  • Create a Detailed grocery list
  • Shop for non perishables
  • Buy zip top bags – in Gallon, Quart, Sandwich and Snack
  • Create a schedule knowing how much time it takes to cook items so you can get in on the table. Planning now will make for less stressful later.
  • Buy food containers to send leftovers home with guests
  • Check to see if you have enough serving dishes and servingware – write food item will be served in the dish on a piece of painter’s tape and place the tape on the bottom exterior of the dish for reference (just remove it before you serve)
  • If you need to borrow stuff, keep a list so you know where to return it to.
  • Make sure you have enough plates, glasses, flatware and napkins


1 Week Out

  • Clean out your refrigerator(s)
  • Clean out a cooler (for extra food storage option) – also this is something you could borrow or ask a family member to bring with ice!
  • Do big cleaning items – windows, baseboards, stuff like that you might not do regularly but doesn’t need to be done again right before Thanksgiving
  • Also makes sure serving dishes and tableware are clean (most of mine have been sitting around for months)


Weekend Before

  • Use your plastic bags to mise en place your ingredients in plastic bags (this saves so much time) Watch for a future post explaining this if you don’t know what it is.
  • Shop for perishable ingredients
  • Do more detailed cleaning (don’t forget to get your family to help)


Monday & Tuesday

  • If you’re making cranberry sauce (which I think you should – it is super easy) make it now
  • Start thawing your Turkey, if you got a frozen one
  • If you need to rearrange any furniture (like I do) know at least how it’s going to be rearranged if it not feasible to do it yet.



  • Prepare Desserts and any make ahead meals
  • Prep the vegetables and put them in labeled bags
  • Pick up fresh Turkey
  • Do any furniture rearrangement
  • Double check your ingredients that you need so there no searching for an open store on Thanksgiving
  • Set Table(s)



  • Follow your cooking session schedule.
  • Use that/those cooler(s) to store drinks and store some of the food that needs to be stored on ice but might not fit in the refrigerator.
  • Cook your turkey early – it can use a longish rest (most recommend at least 30 min) after coming out of the oven – just put a tent of tin foil around it.
  • Be sure to allow your guests to help – some people are actually more comfortable being useful – dishes are always needing done.
  • Divvy out the hosting duties with you spouse and family. Let them know how to help run the dinner.
  • Relax, smile, if and when something goes not the way it should, roll with it.


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