I’m not the world’s most organized person. I know how to do my grocery shopping efficiently, but often don’t. Although hope springs eternal, I doubt that I’ll ever go a week without forgetting an item during my grocery shop or losing track of an item in my pantry.
I’d rather watch the Thanksgiving Day parade than worry about whether I’ve folded the napkins correctly.
But when it comes to Thanksgiving, I have my lists, charts, and schedules. If Thanksgiving is at your place, take a look at the summary checklist below and see if you’re covered. Even if you rarely make a sit-down meal for guests, you can do a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd if you just keep a handle on what parts make up the big picture.
This checklist is a template, not a bible. You probably won’t need every item and you may have others. If you’re a guest at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, you may be tempted to pass it by. But keep in mind that there is always next year and hopefully other holiday celebrations in the coming months, so don’t forget to come back when it’s your turn to host.
- Seating chart (if more than 6)
- Chairs – need to borrow any?
- Dishes and silverware
- Tablecloth or placemats & napkins
- Serving pieces – utensils and a serving dish or bowl for each item on the menu
- Any table decorations, flowers, etc?
- Need to buy, wash, iron or otherwise prepare anything for table?
Food & beverages
- Any food allergies or issues to consider?
- Food contributions from others? Any last minute reminders, need to clarify amounts or other coordination details with contributors?
- Collect recipe for each food item (in folder for easy reference)
- Shopping list – items and quantities
- Where to buy (separate items by store if planning to shop at more than 1 store)?
- How will all the items prepared in advance fit into refrigerator?
- Schedule for cooking/baking
- When does each item that is to be cooked go into oven or start cooking on stove?
- Which items need tending during cooking and who will do that?
- Plan placement of items that need stove top or oven space. If fitting more than 1 item in oven at the same time, will both or all pans fit in?
Thanksgiving Day timing, etc
- What time to tell guests to arrive?
- What time to serve food?
- Containers for leftovers, pus foil, freezer bags/plastic wrap, etc?
- Storage for leftovers – Refrigerator, freezer, or give to guests to take home?
Happy Thanksgiving! As trite as it sounds, remember that enjoying each other is what really matters. Unless you’re Martha Stewart (and maybe even if you are), your good friends and the loving family members will overlook a pie that didn’t work out so well or the tablecloth that looks more wrinkled than you thought it would. They’re glad you invited them and delighted to share the holiday with you.