Believe it or now, Thanksgiving is less than a month away for our Canadian members! It falls on Monday, October 9th! For the rest of us that celebrate on Thursday, November 23rd we have a bit more time. So in the spirit of getting our mental wheels turning and maybe some fun conversation going here is a rough stab at a week by week countdown up to "Turkey Day" Share what you do, what you don't, if you are hosting or attending this year and so on. We'll break out into mini discussions on some of the points in the countdown like menu, cooking schedules or tablescapes, etc. 4 Weeks Prior Finalize your menu, remembering to account for any special dietary needs of guests. Invite your guests. If the dishes will be shared, keep track of who is bringing what. Ask them if they will need oven space and if so for how long? Will they bring own serving dishes? Update Master Holiday Grocery List with list of perishables and nonperishables. Don’t forget beverages and ice! Plan to purchase some of the non perishables each week. Update Master Holiday Shopping List with paper goods, disposable containers for leftovers (i.e. foil pans, etc.) film, batteries, etc. as needed. If you are ordering a fresh turkey, do it now. Make a Thanksgiving to-do list, listing all the little things you feel must get done prior to Thanksgiving. Use printed calendar pages or a calendar app of choice to schedule time for each chore. Decide which china, glassware, and table linens you'll use. If tablecloths and napkins need to be cleaned or ironed, do it now. Once table settings have been decided, order a floral centerpiece or make plans to create your own. Three Weeks Ahead Finalize plans for decorations, place cards, and wreaths. Purchase items for these as needed. Put up Thanksgiving decor. Two Weeks Ahead Confirm you have enough tables and chairs for your guests. Borrow or rent as needed. Check all serving dishes, flatware, and glassware. Polish silver (as needed) Clean out the refrigerator to make room for Thanksgiving items. Finish purchasing nonperishable groceries on your shopping list. Decide which recipes go with which serving dishes and silverware. Drop 3x5 cards or sticky notes into each bowl and platter indicating what goes where. One Week Ahead Plan seating arrangements (if needed, i.e. will you need a children’s table?) Review your recipes and prepare a cooking schedule by day for the days ahead, and by the hour for the day before Thanksgiving and the day of. Check thawing time for frozen turkey. Prepare guest room with fresh sheets, etc. (if needed) Take a look at your front door/porch area - need a quick spruce up? Door glass need cleaning? Will you need a high chair, crib, or booster seat? Bring them out and clean, or arrange to borrow. Plan activities to keep kids busy (if attending) Four Days Ahead Begin defrosting the frozen turkey in your refrigerator (unless larger turkey then you may have started sooner) Identify any areas that need more than maintenance attention when it comes to housecleaning. Hopefully you are keeping up with either HHP or HGP or just your normal routine. If things have gotten away from you, do some work on it now so right before the big day you have light housecleaning only. Two to Three Days Ahead Chill beverages. Shop for perishable items. Set out bread for homemade stuffing to dry. Fill salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes. Maintain housecleaning. Set the table as completely as possible (omit taller items like taper candles and possibly your centerpiece then cover entire table with a sheet to keep dust off) One Day Ahead If using fresh flowers in decorating, pick them up today - be sure to put freshener agent in the water Make anything that can be made ahead! Or do any pre-measuring or other prep possible! Refer to your cooking schedule! Potatoes can be peeled and kept in cold water overnight. Vegetables can be cleaned, etc. Spot clean bathrooms. Confirm they are stocked with extra paper goods and hand towels. Do spot cleaning of the rooms that will be used including final vacuuming. Set the table (if not already done) Get out all serving pieces. Set out in order on a counter or buffet table. Setup area for coffee, desserts and drinks. Stock with silverware, sugar, creamer, cups, etc. Check on the defrosting turkey! If not defrosted yet, update your cooking schedule to account for water bath defrost time! The Big Day Take a deep breath and review your cooking schedule first thing in the morning! Uncover table, finish setting completely. Prep your turkey per chosen recipe directions. Finish all food prep per your cooking schedule. Shower, get dressed! Pour drinks for guests as they arrive! Celebrate! Clean Up Put away leftover food. Divy up leftovers into containers for guests to take home. Refrigerate everything. Wash any serving pieces belonging to guests. Collapse! Or go outside and play football! Your choice!