Day-by-day Thanksgiving Preparation Timeline

Day-by-day Thanksgiving Preparation Timeline

Enjoy a simple, special and stress-free Thanksgiving with our ultimate planning guide.


From grocery shopping to setting the table, Thanksgiving is a marathon of a holiday. If you’re normally scrambling to get everything done, use this timeline to track all the important to-do’s leading up to the festivities — and rest assured that the big day will go off without a hitch!

Two Weeks Before Thanksgiving
If family and friends are bringing dishes, think about your oven space: Let guests know if they’ll be able to re-heat dishes or if they should bring them ready to serve. You can also take this time to give your guests a ring and give them a reminder about what they bring.

Two weeks out is also a good time to order some fresh flowers and/or create non-perishable centrepieces.

One Week Before Thanksgiving
To cover all your bases, remind guests of what to bring (if anything). If family and friends are bringing food, think about your oven space: Let guests know if they’ll be able to reheat dishes at your place or if they should bring them ready to serve.

Thanksgiving Week

  • Clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients (and inevitable leftovers)
  • Begin thawing frozen turkey
  • Iron tablecloths
  • Label serving platters and bowls

Two Days Before

  • Clean up
  • Transfer cakes, quick breads and pies to the fridge for thawing
  • Shop for fresh items like produce and bread
  • Prepare make-ahead side dishes and sauces
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Day Before
Assemble side dishes like stuffing and casseroles, then cover and refrigerate until ready to bake the next day. (Be sure to add 3-5 minutes to the bake time of preassembled, refrigerated dishes.)

  • Prepare butter plates, fill salt and pepper shakers, and get plenty of ice
  • Set the table

Although you’re likely to be doing a lot of cooking on Thanksgiving Day, try prepping some of these delectable dishes off our Thanksgiving menu that are sure to be a hit:

Thanksgiving Day
The big day is here! All your preparation will show when your guests have a seat at your immaculate table and feast.

  • Cook the turkey
  • Whip cream for pies
  • Program coffee maker to turn on as guests are seated for dinner
  • Warm side dishes in oven or on stovetop
  • Heat bread or rolls
  • Toss salad or cook greens
  • Make gravy
  • Carve the turkey

Most importantly, since you saved so much time doing everything ahead, you can sit back and enjoy a memorable meal with the ones you love.

What’s your favourite part of the Thanksgiving meal? or sign up for P&G everyday and let us know in the comments below!

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