Guide to Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving: Week 4

All the advice you need for hosting a low-stress, disaster-free Thanksgiving celebration

It’s the calm before the storm. Your pantry is stocked, everything is ready to set the table, and you know the show flow of the big day. But, before you do a big shop for all the perishables, begin cooking, and set the table, do the Big Clean. Then take some time for yourself. Over a glass of wine or a cold beer, finalize who is coming and make a seating chart, if you want to assign seats, to avoid any unexpected surprises that come Thanksgiving Thursday.

Click here to see last week’s planner.


The Weekend Before:

• Clean House

Start in the bathrooms, hone in on the spaces you’ll be entertaining in, and don’t forget the kitchen — and fridge, of course. Clean out anything older and that you won’t use so you have space for all the new groceries coming in.


Two Days Before:

• Do the Big Shop. A day or two before you begin cooking, finish up the shopping, and be sure to buy plenty of ice if you need it.

• Set the table. Everything is ready to go, you just need to do it. Here are 5 helpful tips.

Ready the serving platters. As you know what you’re making, and what you’re serving it in, pull out the platters and utensils you will need so everything is at your fingertips. Use Post-it’s to label each platter with what dish goes inside, so you (and your helpers, should you be so lucky) know what goes in where.

Set Up the bar. You’ve got all the makings you need, so pull out whatever glasses, garnishes, and other equipment — like glass markers, decanters, or coasters — that you’ll need.

• Begin cooking. Make any do-ahead dishes according to your timeline, such as cranberry sauce, salad dressing, caramelized onions, etc.


One Day Before:

Following your timeline, do your prep work, which may include:

• Brining the bird, or cubing bread for stuffing.

• Cleaning and prepping any veggies and herbs, except apples and onions — they turn brown and get watery, respectively.


Day Of:

While you’re brewing your morning cup, measure and grind beans into a plastic bag for after dinner. Enjoy your coffee and breakfast while the oven preheats. Then, turn on some music, and get cooking! 

Missed our earlier installments? Click here for week one, week two, week three — and our printable checklist of what to have on hand.