Hard to believe this year is almost over with and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is one of my favorite holidays and I can’t wait! It is my aunt’s and my holiday, I started at 8 years old and I love every minute of it, well almost every minute. I have very vivid memories of waking up early on Thanksgiving to make the stuffing and prep the turkey. If I close my eyes, it is still dark out, we are in are pj’s, the house is still quite while everyone else sleeps. I can smell the coffee brewing, the onions & sausage cooking for the stuffing and feel the icy turkey on my hands.
Thanksgiving really is the best because it is just about being grateful, spending time with family and eating yummy food. Even though it doesn’t have gifts to buy or trees to trim, it still comes with it’s share of work. Getting your home ready to serve and feed a lot of people is no easy task. About 8 years ago I started working on creating a book that would be a guide to creating our families Thanksgiving every year. In my family the Thanksgiving menu is basically the same every year, it has changed throughout the years but it is a slow change, where every now and then a dish may get replaced with a new one. So this book would make it easier for my aunt & I to put Thanksgiving together every year, so we weren’t having to re-invent the wheel each year. It has all the recipes, grocery list, prep list, supply list, etc, that we need every year. Now we could hand it off to someone else in the family and they would have a guide to creating Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving book is nothing fancy, just a binder with dividers & some sheet protectors. Those sheet protectors will keep your recipes much cleaner. Anyway the important stuff is what is inside those sheet protectors. Since I have been working on my book for over 8 years now, and I can’t help myself, I’ve been tweaking it a little bit every year to make it more useful each year. I will share with you my templates so you can start your own Thanksgiving book and hopefully it will help to make your Thanksgiving prep a little more streamlined too
The first template is my Prep List or to do list from a month before up to the day before Thanksgiving. The day of Thanksgiving I use a timeline, to make sure everything gets done in the right order so dinner comes out on time, but that will be later. The prep list keeps me organized and really has reduced stress on the day of for me. I want to enjoy spending time with my family on Thanksgiving, not be stuck in the kitchen every second, so this list helps me get things done ahead of time. I only start a month before hand, sending out the email invite to my family. Between that time and 2 weeks before, I’m checking my book and all my lists are ready, I have all the supplies I need and either picking or arranging to get them. Then the week/weekend before hand, I’m doing my 1st grocery shopping trip for mostly the non-perishable items, like flour, sugar, and even the turkey, if it needs to be defrosted. I also start pulling out my decorations, planning the tables and which dish will be served in what dish. Then on the two days before hand, I’m doing any house cleaning that is necessary (I have a strong opinion on this topic, that your house doesn’t not need to be spotless for your guests, because it is going to be mess again when they leave. Yes it should be picked up and the dust bunnies shouldn’t be showing, but it doesn’t have to pass a white glove test. Check out this post about cleaning your home The Stress-Free Way to Prepare your Home for a Party), setting up tables and chairs, finishing decorating, doing the last grocery shopping trip and prepping any food items that I can. I chop all the vegetables, grate cheese, chop nuts, make cranberry sauce, whatever can be done to save time on Thanksgiving.
Click below to open the prep list. It is an fillable PDF format and is filled with my prep list for Thanksgiving, to give you a guide to start with. You can easily delete any line and add your own to do items. You can save this form to your desktop and have it every year to fill out.
The second list I have for you is a Grocery List. This is actually my favorite to have each year because I hate making grocery lists especially ones with a bunch of recipes. This template I left blank for the most part because your recipes are going to call for different items then mine. At the top of list you will see two lines for recipes, this is where I put the recipes I have included on the grocery list. This isn’t so much a necessity for this year but next year when you pull up this list again, you will see exactly the recipes you put on this grocery list. Then you don’t have to go back over it again and check it against your recipes to make sure it is correct for that year’s meal. To get this list ready, I take each recipe and add each item to the list, recipe by recipe. So for things like flour, you have it listed on more than one recipe but you just keep adding the amount to the quantity. I use the quantity column to put in exactly what I need, not what necessarily I need to buy. Because after my grocery list is ready and before I go shopping, I print it off and check off what I already have or write down the amount I do have. So for example, I need 5 1/2 boxes of margarine, but I already have 3 sticks so I will hand write that on my list, so I don’t have to buy that 6th box of margarine.
I hope you enjoy these templates for Thanksgiving and I really hope they help make the planning a little more streamlined so you can be less stressed and have more time with your family!
BTW, I intentionally left these templates simple and without decoration. Not that I don’t love a beautiful form but I wanted these lists to be practical and not require a lot of ink to print. Let me know what you think.