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Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? If so how many lists do you have already? Do you have lists for lists? I will unashamedly admit that I do. By this time I know about how many guests to expect and have several lists with sublists.

To some the thought of this many lists is stressful. To me having it laid out helps me to avoid last minute panic and reduces my stress.


Here are the types of checklists necessary for me to host a less stressful Thanksgiving:

  1. Project Completion list – identify how to complete projects that will spiff up the house. Any projects I know will take longer than 3 hours to complete will have to wait until after New Years. Now is not the time to decide to remodel a bathroom. Here is my final list in the run up to the big day:
    1. Nov 15th professional window washers come
    2. Nov. 19th will steam clean basement carpet with rented appliance (our grocery store has carpet steam cleaner rentals)
    3. Nov 19th – final date to have the new electric fireplace put together for company. The basement bedroom gets very cold in the winter and this will serve as decor and heater in one. 
  2. Cinderella list – otherwise known as cleaning assignments:
    1. To do list with a must be completed by date. For instance new linens on beds of overnight guests can be done the weekend before, while cleaning the powder-room should be day of guest arrival and maintained throughout the visit.
    2. Family members name who will complete each item. Yep everyone in my house gets a share of the Cinderella list. With my teenagers it is easier to just do it myself than to fuss and fume to get them to do it, but I console myself that I am still teaching them how to have an ordered house. 


  1. Grocery list – by now have a good idea of the menu for supper and if hosting overnight guests the morning breakfast as well.
    1. Morning breakfast – add sausage bread ingredients to grocery list, for breakfast both Thanksgiving morning – recipe courtesy of my sister-in-law, Nichole, with my modifications. Recipe to follow in next post.
    2. Thanksgiving meal ingredients – If you are going to buy a fresh turkey wait another week to buy it, but put it on someones to do list so it is not forgotten, if buying a frozen turkey, and have the space, buy it now. I do this and post a calendar reminder to myself for the day to move it from freezer to refrigerator. 
    3. Make a list and buy the dry goods for the Thanksgiving supper now and store together somewhere. I now leave mine in my heavy reusable bags and stash them somewhere close by, but out of sight.  Or if something pretty like a wine pairing display it now so you can enjoy the view until time to use. (See above pic)
    4. Make a list of the fresh ingredients to buy the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
    5. Any dietary needs of guests. When my grandparents visited we always had to have bananas on hand for my grandfather to eat with a pill. Have no idea what the pill was, or if was really specifically a banana he needed, but it was something we knew to have on hand for him. 


  1. Table-setting list.
    1. What china and glasses will be used. Identify how many will need and if need to rinse them off because have been sitting gathering dust in a china cupboard. 
    2. Linens. If using tablecloth with cloth dinner napkins make sure they are clean and pressed the weekend prior to the party/thanksgiving day. If using paper napkins  purchase pretty thanksgiving themed ones right away. I actually buy them in October as they are completely picked over by now and the only new supply is Christmas themed. But if you can find them, you will get a great deal on them now. I like to use cocktail size napkins on the dessert table and at the beverage center.
    3. Seating arrangements. If a large party identify how will extend the seating (adding a second fold-up table to the end of the dining table? If this is a formal party plan out the seating arrangement and make placecards). 


And most of all ENJOY!!! Thanksgiving should be the calm gift you give to yourself, friends and family before the Christmas rush. Whether host or guest, just breathe and enjoy the scents and colors of fall for one last day. 


~ Kristin