Prepping for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has a way of sneaking up on us…’s here!

The holiday tends to get very messy and stressful so I try to start planning on November 1st. (Howard’s favorite day since he just got rid of all the Halloween stuff the night before).

There are so many things to plan and think about: the hors d’oeuvres, the main meal, the dessert, how many people I’m feeding, where everyone is going to sit, decorations, and making sure there’s enough space for all of that!

The Food

Of course, we all have family favorite recipes that are easy and already proven to be crowd pleasers. But I like to add one or two newbies each year. 

I try not to leave anything to chance, so I usually make them early in the month so my family can test the food, but not feel like they are eating it again if I do the trial run too close to Thanksgiving. 

I also try to make some side dishes that are cooked on the stove top since oven space is prime real estate on that Thursday.

A few of us don’t even like turkey, so I also throw in a main course that doesn’t involve that big bird. 

[Don’t forget to order the turkey early and confirm it a week before - this way you are sure to get the exact kind and size you need!] 

When I do buy the turkey, I prefer organic, if possible! Also, I don’t buy into the “don’t stuff the bird” but I do make the stuffing the day before so I’m sure it is cold when I put it into the bird. 

All these years later, getting all the food out and ready to serve is still a challenge. I am never 100% successful.
I would LOVE to know your tips if you have any. 

The Table(s)

I like to set the table a week (or at least a few days) ahead of the big day. If I don’t muster up the motivation to arrange them myself, I get the flowers arrangements delivered the night before. I set the table with the empty vases as markers so I know that they’re spaced correctly when they actually arrive. 

Although it may seem annoying, it relieves some stress on the day-of. Since it’s set a few days before, I’m able to tweak anything I want to with a clear head whenever I walk by. 


I love making hand made place cards. Oftentimes, I'll use photos instead of writing names. Everyone especially loved the year I used pictures from their “early” days...I try to mix it up every year! 

Although, my step-father’s place card had some rogue feathers one year and they caught fire…that was a Thanksgiving “don’t”. 

I also like to include some quotes about the holiday and especially about being thankful. 

My last tip? Send the kids and husband (or wife) to the newest movie while you’re cooking so they’re not in your hair asking for food!

Wishing you all the very happiest of Thanksgivings!

Kenzie Gallagher