Woman on Gray Cardigan Standing Near Table Doing Cheers

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Checklist, Things to Prepare

Aside from thawing the frozen turkey at least a day before, there are many more things you need to prepare for Thanksgiving. 

Let's be honest, when it comes to Thanksgiving, our minds are usually fixated on one two things: food and decor. This is, of course, understandable because there's nothing like good food and pleasant aesthetics to make the holiday extra special.

But there are also a few things that are often overlooked, and when prepared for, can really make a difference to your holiday experience. In this article, we will provide you with some essential (but perhaps unconventional) tips to help you get ready for the holiday.

Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Woman in White Apron Holding Brown Sticks


Get your shopping list done this weekend.

Gear up for the Thanksgiving frenzy, and check everything off your shopping list the weekend before. 

Thanksgiving is a very busy time for grocery stores, and some ingredients are expected to be in high demand and run out quickly. Shopping early gives you a better chance of finding everything you need.

And, of course, the crowd. The days leading up to Thanksgiving are when the stores are packed, making it difficult to find the items you need. So, beat the crowd and get your shopping done at a more relaxed pace.

You also don't want to add to your stress by rushing around to shop at the last minute. Shopping in advance can help give you peace of mind knowing that you have everything you need.

Test your oven.

Before cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, it's crucial to test your oven. Why? First, you want to make sure your oven is in tip-top shape and will cook that bird evenly. No one wants a half-cooked turkey, right? Second, this is your chance to calibrate your oven's thermostat, ensuring that your turkey reaches the perfect temperature.

Lastly, testing your oven helps prevent any potential turkey catastrophes like burning or drying out. Trust me, nobody wants a dry and burnt turkey on their holiday table. So, don't forget to give your oven a little pre-cooking love and save yourself from any Thanksgiving mishaps.

Make room in your fridge.

Turkey's not the only thing that will be taking up space in your fridge. After Thanksgiving dinner, you'll most likely have to put away an array of side dishes, appetizers, and desserts in there, too. And if you have guests coming over, some will undoubtedly bring a sweet potato pie or green bean casserole, and you need to stash those somewhere for sure. 

So, if you have some extra time this weekend, clear the shelves in your fridge so you'll have more space on Thanksgiving day. It might also be a good idea to keep some shelves empty until the day before. Any leftovers or ingredients that won't be needed next week can be frozen or organized on the counter if they have a long shelf life. Plus, scaling down on large meals can help keep your fridge free until the actual day.

Check cutlery, dishware, and utensils.

Thanksgiving is a time for preparing and enjoying large meals, so it's important to ensure you have enough dishes and utensils. Before the big day arrives, take a moment to check your supplies and stock up on extras if needed.

It also wouldn't hurt to get additional containers. You likely need those to store the leftovers.

Clear the countertop.

Create the perfect Thanksgiving feast by ensuring you have ample space to conquer all the necessary tasks. A tidy countertop not only sets the stage for a festive atmosphere but also reduces stress while enhancing the joy of cooking. And it's not just about the holiday magic – a clean countertop makes the post-Thanksgiving cleanup a breeze, saving you time and energy.


Make Your Home Cozy and Inviting

Cozy Living Room


Rearrange the family room.

By rearranging the furniture in your family room and placing comfortable chairs near the fireplace, you can create a cozy space for socializing, playing games, and enjoying hot chocolate or wine with loved ones.

If you don't have a fireplace, don't worry, you can always use the TV or a large statement piece of furniture as a focal point. 

Things to consider when rearranging furniture for Thanksgiving:

  • To make the space more open at the same time accommodate more guests, arrange furniture closer to the walls, and add extra seating options like chairs or ottomans.
  • Ensure that your family room allows for easy movement by creating a clear pathway from the entrance to the kitchen and dining area.
  • If you plan to serve appetizers and drinks before dinner, designate a separate corner where guests can easily access them while still maintaining enough space for people to mingle.



Set up a mini bar. 

A toasty drink is like a cozy blanket of comfort and delight, especially when the chilly weather creeps in. This is why a mini bar is practically a Thanksgiving essential.

Elevate the gathering by transforming a simple pub table into a mini bar. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Just set up a corner with spirits and other ingredients for guests to make their own drinks, from hot chocolate to cranberry cinnamon whiskey sour.

Go for fluffy area rugs and bring out the throw blankets.

Transform your home into a cozy haven by having a plush area rug and some snuggly throw blankets around the family room. It will instantly make your space warmer and more inviting.

A textured area rug visually adds a touch of coziness to the room as well as keeps your feet warm and dry. Meanwhile, throw blankets can be used to add a touch of color and pattern to your home. And of course, they can keep your guests extra snug on a chilly day.

Set up some candle warmers.

When creating a cozy space, it's important to engage all the senses. Set up a couple of candle warmers in your family room and let the enchanting scents of vanilla and cinnamon fill the air, adding an extra touch of festivity and pizzazz.


Traveling to Visit Loved Ones on Thanksgiving

Man in Red Sweater Standing Beside Man in Gray Sweater


Check your car before the road trip.

Checking your car before a road trip is important for a safe journey. A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to break down, saving you from being stranded.

Plus, having your car inspected before a long trip ensures peace of mind and allows you to fully enjoy your travels, knowing that your vehicle is prepared to handle the challenges of the road.

Pack an emergency preparedness kit.

Don't let Thanksgiving mishaps ruin your holiday. Be prepared for power outages, medical emergencies, and unexpected weather by packing an emergency preparedness kit. Your safety and the well-being of your loved ones should always come first.

Here are a few ideas on what to pack:

  • Power outages: flashlights, batteries, candles, lighters, and power banks
  • Medical emergency: bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, antihistamines
  • Weather-related issues: blankets, warm clothing, and non-perishable food



Prepare yourself.

Prepare for your travels, especially during the chaotic holiday season, by ensuring you get ample rest. Not only will this help you combat stress and fatigue, but it will also enhance your overall well-being.

Rest can also help regulate your emotions and improve your overall mood. This can make you more patient, understanding, and adaptable. Being alert and in top condition can be invaluable when dealing with travel-related challenges or unexpected situations.


To make sure your Thanksgiving celebration goes off without a hitch, it's essential to be organized and prepared. With our Thanksgiving checklist, you can perhaps tackle some of the tasks that are often overlooked but can greatly contribute to a memorable and seamless holiday gathering.



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