When is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is a great time of year. It’s a time to come together with our loved ones, put our differences aside, and be grateful for all we have. It’s a time to be together with friends and family and to remember all our blessings. Thanksgiving first began in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln made this day of thanks an official holiday. America was in the middle of the Civil War, but despite the suffering and hardship of war, Abraham Lincoln wanted to bring the nation together in remembrance of all they had to be grateful for.
In a way, creating the Thanksgiving holiday was another one of President Lincoln’s efforts to join the divided nation again as he called upon all Americans to:
“commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
(Abraham Lincoln Online, Proclamation of Thanksgiving)
It was then decided that Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday in November each year, and it’s been bringing families and friends together for some quality mealtime ever since. But to make this holiday special there is a lot of things to do! There’s preparing to host guests and there’s all that Thanksgiving food to plan and prepare. Hopefully this master Thanksgiving prep checklist can help you get everything done in time this year.
Now that you know that this year’s Thanksgiving is Thursday the 28th, you can start preparing! If you want to be a stellar Thanksgiving host this year then there are a few things you’ll need to do to get ready. When there’s so much to get done it helps to have a master checklist so you don’t forget anything important:
Thanksgiving Master Checklist
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year, then you don’t just have food to prepare, you have a house to prepare as well. A good host has a clean house that’s ready to meet every need a guest might have. For instance, if you’re having people stay over you’ll want to prepare sleeping arrangements that are comfortable, you’ll want to have clean, visitor-friendly bathrooms that aren’t cluttered with your personal hair products, you’ll want to add some fall decor to give your house the right feel, and you’ll want to plan the menu and cooking so you’re prepared and able to get dinner done on time.
- Clean house
- Put up fall decorations
- Prepare the guest bedrooms/guest sleeping arrangements
- Plan your Thanksgiving menu
- Do the grocery shopping
- Make cooking/baking schedule and assignments
Thanksgiving Host Cleaning Checklist
Part of being a good host is to have a clean house to host in. To keep all your preThanksgiving chores organized, use a free Thanksgiving cleaning checklist by clicking on the image to the right.
- Wipe down kitchen
Wipe down all the counters, the sink, the exterior of the fridge, the cabinets, and any other surfaces that could use cleaning and sanitizing before you begin preparing all the food.
- Clean the oven
One thing that can ruin Thanksgiving Day is a burning oven, smoking up the house. You can avoid this by giving your oven a good cleaning before the big cooking day. You can run a cleaning cycle on the oven, or you can clean it more manually by using oven cleaner or a baking soda, vinegar mixture and a hard brush.
- Clean the stovetop
How you clean your stovetop will depend on whether you have a gas or electric stove. Just remember to take apart what you can and get every nook and cranny.
- Clean the dishwasher
You’re going to have a lot of dishes to do during Thanksgiving so it’ll help to run a quick cleaning cycle on your dishwasher. It’s super easy to do, just place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack, or sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. This’ll get rid of any grease, hard water stains, or odors and help your dishes come out clean every time.
- Organize and declutter the kitchen
Our kitchens can get cluttered, but you don’t want anything in your way when it comes time to cook and bake. This may include making more counter space in your kitchen or going through the pantry closet to make sure you know what you do and don’t have.
- Organize and declutter the living room
Another place you’ll spend a lot of time during Thanksgiving is in the living room. So make sure there isn’t unnecessary stuff kicking around so that your guests can comfortably relax there too.
- Clean the couches
People often forget to clean their couches, but they need some cleaning care as well. You can do some regular cleaning by vacuuming the cushions, not forgetting to vacuum under the cushions as well. You can get an even deeper clean on your couch by using a shampooer.
- Tidy bedrooms
If you’re having guests stay over for the holiday season then you’ll want to clean up the guest bedrooms (if you have them) or arrange the area where guests will be sleeping and staying. Make sure you provide the basic things guests need, like blankets, pillows, fresh bath towels, toiletries, and the Wi-Fi password.
- Clean bathrooms
Make sure your bathroom is not only clean and smelling fresh, but also make sure it’s free of your personal bathroom clutter. While guests are around, it’s a good idea to keep your personal bathroom products off the counter so your bathroom is tidy and guest ready.
It’s a good idea to tackle your floors last and all at once. That way you can go through with the broom on all your hard floors, and then tackle all your carpet with the vacuum. Don’t forget to mop at the end to really free your house of dust and grime.
- Catch up on laundry
You don’t want to have loads of laundry in the way, and you want blankets and towels to be ready for guests. It’s also always polite to provide fresh clean sheets for guests, so it’s a good idea to catch up on all your laundry before guests arrive.
Plan the Thanksgiving Menu
Plan your Thanksgiving menu by choosing appetizers, sides, the main dish, beverages, and desserts. Everyone has their own traditional Thanksgiving dishes and this is your chance to plan those out and include everybody’s favorite Thanksgiving food.
Likewise, everyone has their own traditions about when to serve Thanksgiving dinner. But if you’re new to hosting Thanksgiving you may be wondering when to serve Thanksgiving dinner. Generally, Thanksgiving dinner is served in the early afternoon between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.
You don’t have to have appetizers, but a lot of people don’t really eat before the main Thanksgiving meal so having some predinner appetizers laid out can help tide people over until the main course starts. The following appetizer ideas are realistic for Thanksgiving Day because they aren’t too carby, meaning they won’t fill your guests up too much before the actual meal.
- Put together a cheese board
- Put out some light fruits like grapes or clementines
- Chips and dip
- Veggie tray and dip
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Mashed potatoes
- Sweet potato casserole
- Green bean casserole
- Macaroni and cheese
- Potato salad
- Vegetables like cream corn
- Cranberry sauce
- Dinner rolls
Some people prefer having traditional roast turkey for Thanksgiving while others prefer ham, or going out to eat instead. The beauty of the holidays is that you can celebrate them however you choose. You can also get creative with your main course and make it stuffed or use a special recipe for optimal flavor.
- Turkey in the oven
- Turkey in the crockpot
- Turkey in the instant pot
- Ham in the oven
- Ham in the crockpot
- Ham in the instant pot
- Pumpkin bread
There are endless types of pies you can make like, pumpkin, chocolate, apple, cherry, blueberry, shoofly pie, and pecan pie
- Apple crisp
- Pumpkin cheesecake roll
- Rice pudding
- Creamy jello
- Cranberry fluff
Now that you’ve decided what foods you want to include in your Thanksgiving menu, you’ll want to actually schedule when you’ll do all your grocery shopping, when you’ll prepare each dish, and who will prepare each food if you have helpers in the kitchen. It can help to have a specific Thanksgiving calendar plan to write out all the details of your preparation.
Planning your Thanksgiving out now can also help you save on Thanksgiving dinner this year. By planning beforehand you can even shop for groceries online in order to better budget how much you spend on food this year. But in either case, you can always use a small personal loan that you can pay off in just a few short months to help you pay for Thanksgiving this year. Click on the image below to print out your own free Thanksgiving week calendar.
There’s a lot to do to get ready for Thanksgiving, but don’t forget the reason for the season. The whole purpose of Thanksgiving is to be together with the ones you love, reconnect across long distances and after long periods of time, and take a moment to appreciate one another and all we have.
We’d also love to hear from you about your own Thanksgiving traditions! This can be anything from what foods you always make to other Thanksgiving activities you always do. Share this article and then share your favorite Thanksgiving traditions.
Visit the Thanksgiving Page on Delish’s website right now to get actual recipes and even more great food ideas.
Food Network also has a Thanksgiving Recipes page.
Check out these interesting statistics about what time people serve their Thanksgiving meal.