Last-Minute Thanksgiving Timeline Article -
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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Timeline

You won't get behind with this handy to-do list.

First Thing in the Morning Wednesday:

Avoid feeling rushed by getting as much done on Wednesday, leaving only the cooking for Thanksgiving Day.


  • If you only have time to deep-clean one room, make it the bathroom; then do other rooms later in the day if there's time. 
  • If you have clutter, simply put it in a box (or two), then stash it in the garage or a room that won’t be in use. 
  • Do a quick straightening of chairs, couch cushions, and pillows, and then vacuum. (Unless you’re house is in desperate need, skip the dusting.)

Make a Grocery List

  • Think about what you are going to make from scratch and what you are buying pre-made.
  • Check recipes to make sure you have all the ingredients you need on the list.
  • Don't forget the extras: flowers, candles, matches (see sidebar for centerpiece ideas), wine, etc.

Late Wednesday Morning: Shopping

  • Make it your goal to get to the grocery store between 10-11 a.m. so you can be home by the early afternoon.
  • Think about any other stops you might need to make while you're out: A favorite bakery that makes the best pies? Coffee shop for fresh-ground coffee?

    Early Wednesday Afternoon-Evening:

    • Make dips
    • Wash and chop veggies for appetizers and salad.
    • Make cranberry sauce; refrigerate until the next day.
    • Go through recipes to see if there's anything you can do to prep main and side dishes.
    • Pull out serving dishes; rinse if necessary.
    • Set dining table
    • Once you're done in the kitchen for the night, sweep and wipe down counters.

    Thanksgiving Day

    First, arrange your centerpiece and put any finishing touches on your dining room table--then, it's all about the cooking. Do so at your leisure and plan to eat your meal in the evening, giving yourself some well-deserved time to relax and enjoy spending time with your guests.

    You won't miss a thing if you consult the rest of your to-do list:

    • Set out dips, veggies, crackers, etc.
    • Chill or open wine.
    • Prepare main dish.
    • Mash potatoes.
    • Make gravy.
    • Toss salad.
    • Warm dinner rolls.
    • Whip cream for dessert.
    • Heat cider, make coffee.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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