Nope, you haven’t read the title wrong. When planning any gathering you need to give yourself plenty of time to organize and prepare. For Thanksgiving I think twelve days of organizing makes for a smooth and lovely Thanksgiving Day Feast!
1. On the Twelfth day before Thanksgiving, this year that would be (today!) Sunday, November 16th, you should prepare your guest list and head down to the Butcher to order your fresh Turkey. The Butcher is offering Fresh Bell & Evans Turkeys as well as Fresh Organic Turkeys from Dartagnan. Turkeys come in size ranges such as 8-10, 10-12, 12-14 and so on. You can figure on needing a pound per person, and five pounds for leftovers.
2. On the Eleventh day before Thanksgiving ( Monday November 17th) it would be helpful to decide on a menu. Think of past family traditions and dishes that you can include at your gathering. You may also choose to vary it this year, and try something new. Either way, it helps to get a plan of action written down. I will post a simple menu that you may want to use. It will include, Fall Sangria, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Ravioli Soup, Autumn Salad, White Wine and Herb Roasted Turkey, Sausage Cornbread Stuffing, Grandma’s Sweet yams, Mom’s Cranberry Relish, Garlic & Olive Oil String Beans and Apple Berry Crisp!
3. On the Tenth day before Thanksgiving (Tuesday November 18th) visit the grocer! Yes, it’s too early to purchase any fresh items, but there are certainly many things such as dry goods, paper goods, drinks, and pantry items that can be purchased today, alleviating a lot of last minute lugging!
4. On Wednesday November 19th, which is the Ninth day before Thanksgiving, take the time to look over the serve ware and dishes that you plan to use. Most of us only use these fancy dishes at the holidays and they may need to be rinsed or brought down from out of the way storage. Make sure that the silverware is polished and that you have enough place settings to suit your gathering.
5. On the Eighth day before (Thursday November 20th ) take the time to decide on linens and napkins. Look over the seating and make sure that you can accommodate a sit down dinner. Otherwise think about serving buffet style.
6. The Friday before Thanksgiving this year November 21st, is the Seventh day before the holiday. Today is the perfect day to head to the liquor store and purchase the wine and any special liquors that you may need. Also head over to the beer distributor and pick up some local harvest craft beers.
7. On the sixth day before Thanksgiving ( Saturday November 22th) Check to see that you have all of the cooking utensils and items. Important things to have on hand are,
- Large pan for roasting the Turkey!
- Large Spatula
- Large Fork
- Electric Knife for carving the Turkey
- 2 cup measurer
- Kitchen string
- Turkey baster
- Sieve for making gravy
- Parchment paper-foil-food wrap
- Blender ( if you plan to make soup)
- Plenty of dish towels and pot holders
8. On the fifth day before Thanksgiving,(Sunday November 23rd) send an email to your guests. Include the time your gathering will start as well as the menu. This will firm up your headcount and let you know of any last minute changes. If there are any dietary issues amongst your guests, the menu will give them a heads up!
9. On the Fourth Day before Thanksgiving ( Monday November 24th) clean your house! You can also take this day to organize all of your cooking supplies and brush up the last minute shopping list.
10. Three days before Thanksgiving ( Tuesday November 24th) head out early in the morning to the food store. Pick up any items that on your fresh food shopping list. Notice I suggest shopping on Tuesdays, I think this is the best time to visit the stores which seem less crowded. Stop at the florist and pick up a bouquet of flowers or centerpiece. Today you can also do some baking and prepare the simple cranberry sauce included on my menu.If you are feeling super ambitious, you can also set the table today!
11. The day before Thanksgiving ( Wednesday November 25th ) be sure to stop by the Butcher and pick up your fresh Turkey. You can come right home and prep it before placing it in the fridge lightly covered ,overnight. Today you can also:
- Make the Sangria
- Make your place cards
- Prepare the stuffing
- Prepare String beans and place in ziploc bag.
12. Thanksgiving Day! Wake up early! Pre-heat your oven, and be sure to remove the Turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to put it in oven. Today you can :
- Peel and prepare your sweet potatoes or any other fresh veggies.
- Prepare any appetizers, or soup this morning
- Get that Turkey into the oven early enough, giving yourself plenty of time to heat the side dishes. Oven space is at a premium, so think ahead.
- Now that you have taken twelve days to plan your gathering, you will also be lucky enough to have time to sit down for an hour and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade! It doesn’t get any better than that!
- Enjoy your family today, and remember to” Give Thanks”!
The Butcher and I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!