Thanksgiving Prep for the Busy Mama

Thanksgiving prep is my best friend for turkey day. Read about my game plan, meal plan and kiddo activities. You can do it too!

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving Day is sneaking up on us! It’s in less than two weeks! Eek! So, it’s time to make a game plan.

I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year (which stresses me out a bit), but it’s always an enjoyable time. I love to come up with a plan that makes the day go smoother. This includes an inventory check list, menu plan, assigning dishes to family members and keeping the kiddos occupied.

The first thing I like to do is check my kitchen. What do I have already? What do I need? And when I say check my kitchen inventory, I mean:

  • Do I have all the serving dishes and spoons?
  • Should I use paper plates for less mess?
  • What spices and herbs do I have?
  • Do I have enough paper towels?

So, really just an inventory of staples and dishes in my kitchen.

If I’m good there, I move on to planning the menu. This helps with the grocery list. I added some links to recipes I enjoy.

Thanksgiving prep is my best friend for turkey day. Read about my game plan, meal plan and kiddo activities. You can do it too!

Thanksgiving Prep – MealĀ  Plan

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing (assign to a family member)
  • Crockpot Cranberry Sauce
  • Bacon Ranch Green Beans (assign to a family member)
  • Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes (assign to a family member)
  • Gravy (buy a jar of gravy base add milk and turkey drippings; throw away the jar, so no one knows you didn’t make it from scratch. LOL!)
  • Sweet Potato Casserole (assign to a family member)
  • Pumpkin Pie (store bought if you are in a crunch or I use Trader Joe’s recipe on their pie pumpkins and store-bought crust)
  • Pomegranate Persimmon Salad
  • Rolls (My Nana makes these. I’m pretty certain it’s a I-am-going-to-take-this-recipe-to-the-grave recipe. I also love sweet Hawaiian rolls from the store)
  • Drinks (family member usually bring over wine, of course water and I have sparkling cider or cider for the kiddos)
  • Appetizer Platter (Well, everyone is ravenously waiting for the meal; so, we order a deli tray from a local deli. It has different meats, cheese, crackers and spread)

Definitely give yourself only a few dishes to make and assign the others out to family members and friends coming over.

Thanksgiving Prep – Meal Preparation Timeline

  • I make the cranberry sauce about 4 days before. It keeps in an airtight container for about a week. So, even a week before would be great!
  • Pumpkin pie is made 2-3 days ahead of time.
  • The casseroles, mashed potatoes and stuffing are made or prepped the day before and are reheated the day of. But, most or all will be assigned to other members of the family.
  • The turkey is brined the day before and set in a cooler with ice the day before and baked the day of.
  • Salad is made the day of.
  • The rest of the stuff is store-bought.

And clean as you go. It really helps!

Thanksgiving Prep – Activities for the Kiddos

You all, the kiddos can get so bored and start causing a ruckus. What’s new right? But, with the pressure of Thanksgiving, it can get so escalated. The more I have to do, the more the little things bug me (am I the only one? Tell me I’m not the only one.).

So, I like to have a few activities for the kiddos to do, while all the cooking is going on. If you’re adventurous, have your kiddos help stir things and pour things in a bowl for some of the side dishes or pie.

I pinned a bunch of Thanksgiving Day activities for kids. Here is the board: Thanksgiving Activities for Toddlers.

Just pick a few and gather the supplies a week before. Set the materials in plastic buckets (one per activity). So, you can just grab a bucket, set it out, give instructions and have the kiddos have at it.

I even made a Turkey Day Activities eBook, if you want less decision making. I know the less I have to think about stuff the better. Simply sign up for my newsletter and receive the eBook in your inbox as a thank you for signing up. It has a printable game board with game pieces and dice, a snack recipe, a coloring page and craft. Have fun!

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Turkey Day Activities eBook Cover

I really hope this inventory check list, menu plan and kiddo activities help you have a stress-free Thanksgiving Day. Remember to enjoy the people around you. They are what matter most.


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