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Stress-Free Thanksgiving Planning Guide + Free Downloadable Planner

Stress-Free Thanksgiving Planning Guide + Free Downloadable Planner from www.bobbiskozykitchen.com

So it’s your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner and you have no idea where to start, what to buy, what to have on the menu, your just a tad stressed out!
No worries! We all know that whether it is your first time, or the 10th time you have been tapped to host the big day, getting everything planned and organized can cause you to want to pull your hair your, or run screaming into the hills, or BOTH! When do you buy the turkey, what can you make ahead of time? It can be so hard to figure out where to even start.
Well, my friends, that is what I am here for. After years and years of stressing out, I decided that it would be nice to share what I have found works so well for me.
I have put together a breakdown of what to do, and when to do it, starting 3 weeks out. You can print it out and put it on your fridge to help. 
I also have a link at the bottom of this post to download a package with a guest list, menu ideas, menu planner, and an easy day-of cooking schedule.
Stress-Free Thanksgiving Planning Guide + Free Downloadable Planner from www.bobbiskozykitchen.com #Thanksgiving #mealplanner #printable

  • Plan your guest list, make sure to let everyone know that RSVPing is very important. Make sure to ask guests if they can bring a dish or drink (1 word people….DELEGATE!!), food allergies, and their drink preferences, alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
  • Plan your menu, making sure to add the dishes that your guests will be bringing.
  • Buy any special equipment you might need ie. roasting pan, meat thermometer, carving knife, etc. Don’t be me and have to rush out last minute to buy a turkey baster!
  • Inventory your china, serving dishes, silverware, and glassware. Ask guests to bring things you might need. Don’t worry, it doesn’t all need to match.
  • Plan any special decor. Tablescapes, tablecloth, placemats, napkins, etc.
  • Finalize your menu (download the free clickable menu ideas).
  • Make your shopping list.
  • If you are making homemade pies, rolls, stock, make now and freeze for later.
  • Shop for your nonperishables, including containers for the leftovers. Make sure to make space in your pantry for everything.
  • Clean out your freezer.
  • Buy your turkey, if buying frozen. The turkey should be done 1 hour before you plan to eat to allow it to rest and cool enough for easy carving.
  • Buy your turkey (if buying fresh) or place your frozen turkey in the fridge to defrost. Rule of thumb – Allow 1 day per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. A 12 to 15-pound bird will take approx 3 days to defrost.
  • Plan your Day-Of cooking schedule. Remember, roast your turkey for 12 to 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F. Finish turkey an hour before mealtime, tent with foil until it is time to carve.
  • Make your cranberry sauce (if making homemade) and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Plan meals to use up any ingredients you have in the fridge to free up space. 
  • Buy your perishable ingredients.
  • Set up your drink station. Make sure to choose a place central to the kitchen or dining area. 
  • Place turkey in brine (if brining).
  • Make your desserts.
  • Clean the house.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry, season inside and out, and place in the fridge on a tray uncovered overnight.
  • Set the table.
  • Pick up ice.
  • Prep garnish.
  • Set out utensils and serving dishes.
  • Chill beverages.
  • Don’t stress! Stick to your day-of schedule/planner.
  • Enjoy a beverage.
  • Gobble till you wobble!!!

Here are some recipes you might also enjoy. 
Low-carb/Keto Friendly alternatives below.

Cranberry Relish with Orange and Jalapeno

Julia Child’s Gratin Dauphinois (Au Gratin Potatoes)

Creamy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Italian Baked Zucchini and Tomatoes

Still looking for some fabulous recipes? Give these recipes from some of my favorite bloggers a try!

Sweet Potato Souffle’

Traditional Bread Sausage Stuffing

White Cheddar Green Bean Orzo Casserole

Like what you see? Please leave me a comment!

Planning on making one of my recipes? Nothing would make me happier! Take a photo and share it on Instagram or Twitter and tag @BobbisKozyKtchn I would love to see what you made. You might even make it into our newsletter!!

Thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with. Doing so allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. 

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.
  1. I adore printables! And these tips are going to be perfect to implement. It seems to me like I always get more stressed out during Thanksgiving than I do any other holiday, including Christmas!

  2. Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday of the year. I have a similar planning guide that I use to get all the food prepared and in the oven on the big day!

  3. What an awesome Thanksgiving guide! We don't have Thanksgiving here in Australia but I could definitely use this guide for Christmas time!

  4. I love trying new recipes for Thanksgiving. I better start planning.

  5. Thanks for sharing this PDF! I always panic before Thanksgiving because of all the moving parts to make it happen. This list will help me keep things in order.

  6. This is awesome! I love how it's all broke down into different days and even offers reason behind why they are where they are on the list. Perfect!

  7. This is a fantastic breakdown. I am in charge of our Thanksgiving this year. I will have to keep a copy of this list. I always try to do as much as I can ahead of time.

  8. This is such a good list! This will be so helpful to people that are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, like myself. I'll definitely be referring to this, thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanksgiving used to be so stressful me. I would be the one to put on the whole dinner for the family. Now it is just my four core members and we don't make a big deal about it.

  10. Wow! What a great day to plan a wonderful day of family time. I like the schedule and also the layout. Can't believe it is only in just a few weeks.

  11. I loved the fun stress free guide that you have created. Will you be making one for Christmas, too?

  12. Yes, cooking for Thanksgiving can be stressful! Great guide to follow to stay calm and enjoy the holiday.

  13. This is an awesome guide!! You're so clever to put together something like this!

  14. Thanks for generously sharing us your guide. I should try to do this as well. Am excited!

  15. This is so awesome, it really doesn't have to be stressful if you have a plan and this is perfect to help people have a plan and stay stress free!

  16. Love the printable and the detailed guide your created. Totally rad!

  17. Thanks for sharing this guide. Since my hubby and I will stay home for the holiday, that is already stress free for me 😉

  18. oh no! I forgot for a minute that thanks giving is near its due! Thanks for sharing this guide and it really is very useful!

  19. Thanks! I agree, for some reason Thanksgiving gets me every year!

  20. Yes! I am glad that you like the guide 🙂

  21. I am doing a small dinner this year. It will be weird LOL

  22. I know! It totally snuck up on me!!

  23. I am thinking about it 🙂

  24. The chicken looks so yummy. Your instructions are clear and easy to follow, too. I should try out this recipe now.

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About Me

Welcome! It is so nice to meet you. My name is Bobbi. I am the Mom of 2 great kids, and Nana to a beautiful baby girl Kylee, and a handsome little devil named Torin. I share my life and home with my awesome partner Kevin, and 2 furbabies….

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