Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving - Quicken Loans Zing BlogThanksgiving is quickly approaching, and if you’re hosting dinner, it’s time to start planning. Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November, which is November 27 this year. It might seem like a month is plenty of time to prepare, but if you’re not careful, time will fly right by you. That’s why I’ve put together a helpful Thanksgiving checklist to relieve some of the stress. There’s even a downloadable PDF version so you can check it off as you go!

Early November

  • Make a guest list and contact guests to confirm attendance.
  • Check your seating. Do you have enough tables and chairs to accommodate everyone? If not, make plans to purchase, rent or borrow more.
  • Create the menu for your Thanksgiving dinner.
    • Determine how the food will be served (buffet style, sit down, family style).
    • Need some ideas on recipes your guests will love? Check out this article from Taste of Home.
  • Take inventory of your tableware. Do you have everything you need? Check for these key items:
    • Tablecloths
    • Napkins
    • Dinner plates
    • Forks, knives and spoons
    • Bowls, pots and serving trays
    • Carving knife
    • Serving utensils
    • Dessert plates
    • Coffee cups and saucers
    • Water glasses
    • Wine glasses
    • Breadbasket
    • Gravy boat
    • Trivets
  • Make your shopping list. Include decorations, tableware and ingredients, splitting the ingredients into two lists: nonperishables that you can buy now, and perishables you need to buy the week of Thanksgiving.
  • If you’re ordering a turkey, place your order now. 

Two Weeks Before

  • Clean out your refrigerator and freezer to make room for all of your dishes and ingredients.
  • If you’re buying a turkey from the store, buy one now to get the best selection, and store it in your freezer.
  • Make and freeze items that will freeze well, such as pies, relish and gravy.
  • Make a seating chart.
  • Clean and iron linens so they’re ready for the big meal.
  • If children are attending, find some games and crafts for them to play with before or after dinner.

Weekend Before

  • Become a cleaning machine! Get your house into tip-top shape for when guests arrive.
  • Wash all china and glassware.
  • Set out tablecloths and any fall decorations you have.
  • Buy foil, food-saving bags or plastic containers for guests to take home leftovers.
  • Purchase any remaining non-perishables.


  • Put the turkey in the refrigerator to thaw. It takes approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
  • Make a cooking schedule for the rest of the week, including the big day!


  • Head to the store before it gets too crazy, and pick up the perishables and drinks you’ll need, as well as any flowers you want for the table.


  • Prepare and refrigerate desserts and sides.
  • Set the table with decorations and place settings.
  • Chill beverages. 

Thanksgiving Day

  • Turn on the TV, watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade and eat some breakfast.
  • Follow your cooking schedule.
  • Sit back, eat some food, enjoy your company and relax.
Ultimate Thanksgiving Checklist 2014 - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Download the Thanksgiving Checklist

Hopefully this Thanksgiving checklist will help you prepare for the holiday with less stress. Have any other dinner preparation tips? Share them with us in the comment section!

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