Simple Thanksgiving

By November 21, 2019Blog

Simple Thanksgiving Planning Checklist 

I love cooking for the holidays! As a planner, here are some tips for creating a simple and stress free holiday.

I think a lot of the stress free part comes from planning ahead. This list can easily be started a week before Thanksgiving. Also, give other people tasks like bringing a side dish, or having your children help with the cleaning, or putting your husband in charge of the grocery store list.

Here’s 14 tips on how to have a simple Thanksgiving.

1. Decide what you are going to cook – come up with your list of your favorites

2. Decide if you are going to have your guests bring something – if you are putting someone in charge of a dish, it’s probably best to ask them to make something rather than say “bring whatever you want”

3. Here’s some ideas on food categories for Thanksgiving:

  • Appetizers
  • Turkey
  • Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Side dishes
  • Desserts
  • Drinks

4. Make the grocery list – once you plan out what you are making, look up the recipe and come up with your shopping list

5. Don’t forget the extras – when you are making your grocery list, make sure to have things stocked like water, drinks, toilet paper, extra toothbrush (always a great thing to have on hand with guests)

6. Clean the house – get the house ready for guests, make the beds, and roll out the air mattresses. My secret to cleaning is to get a big tub or box and add all the misc things in that. Then sort through that box once guests leave.

7. Defrost the turkey – this part is important if you want to make sure you have a main dish to eat

8. Clean out the fridge – it’s important to make room for the food and turkey

9. Set out the cups, plates, etc. – prepare the other items you will need for the festivities

10. Set the table – this can be fun with adding pumpkins, small vases filled with flowers, or colorful placemats

11. Start prepping – I like to prep a few days before, this means cutting up things like onions, celery, apples or making the cornbread for the stuffing

12. Make it fun – this can be making a Thanksgiving playlist, come up with a craft for the kids, or find out when the games are playing

13. Confirm the guest list – make sure to double check the guest list and remind people on the times they should show up 

14. Relax, and take some time to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving and what you are thankful for


Simple Thanksgiving – Food Organizer

Here’s some help with the cooking!

You Fill in the Blanks



Side Dish




Here are some ideas (and probably my list)


Roasted carrot dip, Caramelized onion dip, Crackers, Pita chips

Turkey, Ham
Side Dish

Green beans, Mashed potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, Stuffing

Rolls, Gravey

Pumpkin pie, Pecan pie

Sparkling cider, White wine, Dessert wine, Special cocktail