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Pulling off Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be stressful. Use these simple tips for planning your Thanksgiving dinner. Know when you should start preparing each dish and more.
Planning Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget
The weather is starting to cool down and the fall colors are starting to pop out. You know what that means…Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Is this your year to host Thanksgiving dinner at your house?
Pulling off a flawless Thanksgiving dinner can be super stressful.
From planning your menu to making your gravy and being an amazing host, we’ve laid out all of these steps for you.
Let’s stress less.
This post will help you figure out your budget, organize, and create a Thanksgiving dinner party for your friends and family.
My first tip is to ensure you never take on more than you can handle. Simplicity is best. Do not try to attempt recipes you have never tried before. Stick to tried-and-true recipes or family favorites to keep things running smoothly.
To make your Thanksgiving run much smoother, I have created a Free Dinner Party Planning Printable Worksheet. (Scroll below to download)
Make a Plan for Your Thanksgiving Dinner
Get out a notebook, your calendar, and a pen, and brainstorm Thanksgiving. Taking 20-30 minutes now will save you a lot of stress later.
The first thing that you need to know before you get planning is how many guests will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner party.
Once you know how many people you will be feeding, you can sit down and begin planning your menu. One important aspect of planning your Thanksgiving dinner party is what your budget will be. You can have an extravagant-looking and tasting meal without breaking the bank IF you plan ahead.
Now that you know how many dinner guests you are going to have, it is time to sit down and plan out your menu. Are you planning to serve turkey for the main course?
If so, do you want a full-size bird, or would turkey breasts and even turkey drumsticks work just as well? Will a whole turkey fit in your oven, and if so will you have room for other dishes in the oven or will you need to cook your sides and desserts another way?
After taking care of your main course, you will need to decide on your sides. How many sides are you planning to serve? Mashed or sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, dressing, green beans, and brussels sprouts are common Thanksgiving dinner side dishes, but you can serve whatever you like.
Make sure you cover these basics. Then, if you want to get creative, you can concentrate on spicing up the sides. Here are a few ideas:
Brown Butter & Maple Sweet Potato Hasselback
Delicious Homemade Dinner Rolls
After choosing your sides, you will need to decide on beverages and desserts. Are you going to make a couple of pumpkin or apple pies, or do you just want to pick something up out of the freezer section or the bakery?
If you’ll be cooking to accommodate food allergies, start planning earlier than you thought. You may need this extra time to purchase specialty ingredients online or in stores.
Figure Out Prep
Once you have completed your menu, it is time to begin the prep work for your Thanksgiving dinner party. Write everything you need to buy at the grocery store. Make sure to block ample time off on your calendar to take these next steps.
Now that you have your grocery list, start checking the sales fliers for good deals. Most grocery stores will start selling their Thanksgiving foods at the beginning of November at the earliest.
This means that you can start picking up what you need a little at a time instead of having to take a big financial hit at once.
After you have your food on hand, it is time to start preparing it for the big day. It might be easier and less stressful if you go ahead and prepare some of your side dishes and desserts two or three days ahead of time if you have a way to heat them back up on the day of the party.
As part of your prep, make sure that you have plenty of plates, glasses, and flatware for all of your guests. If you don’t have enough, consider buying disposable or borrowing some from a friend or family member.
Don’t worry, there are “nice” disposable items on the market these days. If you decide to go that route, and they make clean-up easier too. Save yourself some time on the day of your Thanksgiving dinner party by getting your dining room table prepared in advance.
If you’re purchasing a frozen bird, allow the turkey to thaw in your fridge for 24 hours for every 4 pounds of turkey. Example: If you have a 16-pound bird, it will need four full days to thaw. You can keep a fully thawed turkey in the refrigerator for up to four days before cooking.
Your Thanksgiving Dinner Party Day
Hopefully, you have been able to get a lot of your preparation and cleaning done in advance of the day of your dinner party. Then the only things that you will have to worry about are making sure the food is done on time and greeting your guests.
Get your family to help when it comes to cleaning and picking up around the house on the day of the party. Delegate them and, if you can, get them in the kitchen. They are going to enjoy the meal, so there is no reason for you to have to do everything by yourself.
Don’t forget to run the dishwasher, so it will be empty and ready for party dishes.
Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner Leftovers
Everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers. The days after come amazing sandwiches, soups, and fun and creative leftover meals. Rather than hand out your precious Tupperware, invest in some disposable containers for guests to take home leftovers.
This way, you don’t have to worry about getting your containers back.
Here’s how to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers:
Will you be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner party at your home this year? If so, use these simple tips and planners to help you throw an amazing get-together that you and all of your guests are sure to enjoy.
Do you have any dinner party hosting tips to share? We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below.
Thanksgiving Dinner Planning Made Easy
Organize your Thanksgiving Dinner Party With Our Free Planning Printable
Download your worksheets here. After downloading, you can print from your computer.
Hopefully, the How to Plan Thanksgiving Dinner printable and the few tips and tricks we have provided you will get you through Thanksgiving unscathed.
At the end of the day, your family and friends will remember the time spent together most of all. So, please don’t sweat it if something goes awry. Try not to keep such high expectations. You can do this!
If this article has helped you, we would love to hear all about it. Please leave us a comment below. How did your dinner party turn out?
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Lucy Ivan says
I have never been so organized when I plan a party and some things I usually do at the last moment. Sometimes the thing with the grocery list also doesn’t work. When I am in the store, I buy more things, and I exceed the budget. Thanks for sharing! It was a very helpful post.
Jen @ Inspiring Savings says
You’re Very Welcome. Glad it helps.
Being prepared definitely makes the day go smoother. We often host dinner with friends so I save takeout containers to be able to let friends take leftovers without worrying about getting our good containers back.
Jen @ Inspiring Savings says
That is a great tip!! Thank you for sharing.
I am always excited about thanks giving dinner. THanks for sharing with us.
Gosh I can’t believe how quickly this time of year is rolling around. This is such a useful guide love all the tips.
Matt Taylor says
These are all great tips for planning Thanksgiving dinner. Making the menu plan is so key. While I am not in charge of Thanksgiving, either my mom or sis-in-law does it, I do an epic feast every year for my birthday, which is as big if not bigger than Thanksgiving, haha.
Jen @ Inspiring Savings says
Epic Feasts are AMAZING too.
Milton Coyne says
While we do not have Thanksgiving celebration here in my country, i am very much aware of it. I’ve always wanted to be part of a thanksgiving dinner and get a taste of those turkey recipe.. This seems like a fun and very meaningful family occassion.
Fransic verso says
This is awesome! Will consider it for next thanksgiving. These will be helpful for a lot of people that celebrate it.
Fransic – https://querianson.com/
Emman Damian says
Great tips! Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I miss this holiday a lot!
Autumn Murray says
Thanksgiving is literally my favorite holiday of the entire year! These are great tips, so thank you!
Jen @ Inspiring Savings says
You’re Very Welcome!
Anosa Malanga says
Thanks for the tips! We still prepare for Thanksgiving even if we have this pandemic. It’s still nice to throw a party even with family only since we are limited to stauying at home. Time to bond and forget what is happening around.
Lea Luminarias says
Thanks for this organized planning, definitely helpful!
katrina m kroeplin says
i can’t believe that thanksgiving is not that far away. these are great tips.