Thanksgiving Day Timeline: Start Planning for the Holiday

Whether you have months to plan, or only days, this timeline will help to ease your culinary and celebratory confusion.

Whether you have months to plan, or only days, this timeline will help to ease your culinary and celebratory confusion.

A Few Weeks Before:

  • Prepare two grocery lists — one for nonperishable items to purchase now and one for perishable items to purchase a few days before Thanksgiving Day.
  • Order a fresh turkey or buy and freeze a frozen turkey.
  • Gather materials for the Sheaves of Wheat Centerpiece
  • Bake the Herbed Cheddar Crescents; cool. Freeze in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.
  • Plan which side dishes to serve

Four to Five Days Before:

  • Buy remaining grocery items, including the fresh turkey if you ordered one.

The Day Before:

  • Set the dinner table and arrange the centerpiece.
  • Make the Hazelnut Pear Tart; store in the refrigerator.
  • For the Blue Cheese Romaine Salad, bake the pine nuts in butter as directed; cool and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Make the salad dressing; cover and chill. Wash, dry and tear the romaine; refrigerate in a resealable
    plastic bag.
  • Prepare the mayonnaise mixture for the Cucumber Dill Dip; cover and chill. Cut up any vegetables for dipping; place in individual resealable plastic bags and refrigerate.
  • Assemble the Squash Supreme casserole but don’t sprinkle with bread crumbs and paprika or drizzle with butter. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Make the glaze for Fruit-Glazed Turkey; cover and chill.

Thanksgiving Day:

  • In the morning, thaw Herbed Cheddar Crescents in the refrigerator.
  • Make the apple-raisin stuffing, stuff the turkey and bake, basting with the fruit
    glaze as directed.
  • Just before guests arrive, peel, seed and chop cucumber; stir into the Cucumber
    Dill Dip mayonnaise mixture. Serve with vegetables and/or crackers.
  • Remove Squash Supreme from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
    Sprinkle bread crumbs and paprika on top; drizzle with the melted butter. Bake
    as directed. (If the casserole has been refrigerated overnight, you may need to
    bake it a little longer than the recipe specifies.)
  • If desired, wrap Herbed Cheddar Crescents in foil. Reheat in a 325° oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let the cooked turkey stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Remove
    the stuffing and carve the turkey.
  • Slice the apples or pears for Blue Cheese Romaine Salad. Stir the dressing and assemble the salad as directed.
  • For dessert, serve Hazelnut Pear Tart.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest