The Basics for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

A checklist of ideas, methods, and product suggestions to help you prepare and host a less stressful Thanksgiving!

I’m a thinker. I’ve created checklists for:

  • what I need to accomplish at work
  • tasks I need to do at home and for my blog
  • a running grocery list
  • Calendar reminders for non-automated bill payments
  • a monthly calendar reminder to keep track of and examine all of my blog’s costs and revenue
  • every Friday, a weekly reminder to take out the trash before work
  • a list that keeps track of recipe ideas
  • a calendar with postings planned based on culinary holidays and big events

You get the picture. I could go on for a week about how many things I have planned.

Let’s now add in the largest family gathering, sit-down meal day of the year (at least in the United States).

There are meals to prepare, decorations to create, people to manage, massive turkeys to acquire, and cooking times to organize. UP IN HERE, IT’S PLAN-A-PALOOZA.

All of this is to say that I am painfully aware that not everyone is a plan-obsessed as I am. And by “not everyone,” I mean “the vast majority of the people,” since I’m utterly nuts.

Therefore I’d want to put my organizational skills to good use and assist you in making your Thanksgiving as stress-free as possible. Whether it’s your first time hosting or you’ve always been two steps late on the big day, I hope this helps.

You’re on your own with your drunk aunt who embraces you too long or your brother’s child who persists on tugging your cat’s tail.

Before you start cooking – prep your workstation

Let’s take it slow and start with the fundamentals. Having all of the items you’ll need on hand, cleaned, dried, and ready to go, will make the whole procedure less stressful.

Imagine searching through drawers and cupboards for the items you need while stirring gravy with a bamboo skewer since all of your plates are unclean. These are some of the items I find most useful:

Disposable items

  • Foil made of aluminum From lining pans to covering the turkey to avoid it from browning too much, to just covering your completed dishes to keep them warm, foil will be your best friend.
  • Paper made with parchment I use this for baking breads, bars, and sheet cakes since it makes them so much easier to remove from the pan. You can also use it to line your worktop while rolling out dough!
  • Wrapping in plastic For the meals that may be made ahead of time, just wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge until ready to serve. You may also use it to wrap dough if you make your own pies from scratch.
  • Toilet paper I’m sure you’re laughing at me for even writing this, but I really feel that select-a-size paper towels should be the only paper towels available.

Slicing & Dicing

  • chopping boards Having many boards will save you time, and varying sizes can help you save counter space.
  • Knives You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on silverware, but you should absolutely spend more than you would in a college dorm. And make sure you look after them! Sharpen them when they get dull (this is a safety issue), wash and dry them immediately, and please, for the love of God, do not put them in the dishwasher.
  • Stripper of herbs If you use a lot of various herbs in your cooking, this tiny tool will make the procedure much faster. I was hesitant at first, but it’s really been very good. I dislike spending more time pulling each individual leaf off of a stem than I do eating the ultimate product.

Measuring & Mixing

  • Cups for measuring Having a set for dry ingredients and another for liquid ingredients saves you from having to wash and rewash the same cups when cooking. When you put flour in a slightly dampened cup? THE HORRIBLE.
  • Spoons for measuring For the same reason I have two sets of measuring cups, I have two sets of these.
  • Bowls with a pinch of salt They’re simply little mixing bowls (aff link). It may seem unnecessary to use a measuring spoon to measure out an ingredient simply to put it in a little bowl, but I believe having all your minor ingredients like baking soda and spaces pre-measured so you can just take the bowl and throw it in when you need it is a huge time saving. It also keeps you from accidentally measuring out a tablespoon of red pepper flake when you intended to use a teaspoon. Why do you ask? No, I’ve never done it.
  • blending bowls Having at least two bowls of each size prevents you from cramming stuff into a bowl that is too tiny. You know that moment when you attempt to mix a too-full dish and your ingredients fall over and get eaten by the dog? Let we prevent this.
  • Whisk I probably have four or five whiskies, but most people don’t need that many. One should plenty to get you through Thanksgiving.
  • spoons for mixing Same thing here; simply buy heat resistant and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble later on.

Heat & Stain Resistance

  • Heat resistance is your friend when it comes to spatulas. You can use them to scrape down batter, but you can also use them to scrape the bottom of a hot pot without getting melted silicon on your green beans.
  • Oven mitts Extra points if they’re really amusing.
  • Some people use pot holders only for that reason, but I prefer to use them as improvised trivets as well.
  • Apron The last thing you need is to have oils and fluids all over your clothing before supper! I have this one, and the inevitable splatters and stains are less obvious since it has so many colors and a pattern (lobster, no less). Win!

Check all your appliances

Then there’s your appliances. There’s no doubting that our forefathers could cook Thanksgiving dinners without the assistance of electric equipment, but why not make things simpler on yourself?

  • Blender with immersion If you dislike lumps in your mashed potatoes, this is your best buddy. Having one of these on hand will allow you to mix your side dishes without having to drag out your food processor or blender (aff link), plus it is much simpler to clean! Consider sweet potatoes, celery root, turnips, and soups, gravies, and sauces.
  • Knife with an electric motor Many people like to slice their turkey with a large knife, but I prefer to use an electric knife. I’m already exhausted from preparing all of the food; my arms need a rest!
  • One for the turkey (affiliate link) with a cable and probe you can leave in while it cooks, and one for the oven to verify you’re cooking at the correct temperature. Ovens contain hotspots, and you never know how far off your oven temperature is from what the display says! Nobody should be trusted (except that little thermometer).

Prep your bakeware

  • frying pan I can’t stress enough how important it is to use the proper size roasting pan with a removable rack. It helps the turkey cook more evenly and makes basting simpler (if youre the type that bastes the bird while it cooks).
  • Pans for loaves Even if you only want to make one loaf of bread, I suggest keeping several on hand. When the pan is this gorgeous, you may keep cookies, vegetables, or anything else that can be heaped or stacked in it and cover it with foil or plastic wrap until dinner time, then just lay it on the table as is! There is no need to use additional plates or bowls for serving.
  • Dishes for casseroles I use casserole plates for two months out of the year, and I probably use them more than anything else in my kitchen in those two months! I love this one, and I own many sets of Pyrex baking dishes. I know many have strong feelings about Pyrex, but in my perspective, it is an excellent low-cost alternative to more costly alternatives.
  • Baking pans I maintain rimmed baking sheets for things like roasting vegetables and non-rimmed baking sheets for things like cookies. So it all comes down to personal choice!
  • Baking sheets made of silicone You’ve probably seen me mention them in a few of my recipes, and I swear by them. Your cookies and dinner rolls will be grateful.
  • Cutters for cookies Could you really say no to cookies made with this gorgeous fall cookie cutter set? I’ve made SO MANY COOKIES using these, and the moose is usually a hit. You may acquire them in sets of four, eight, or twelve, but four is all you need unless you want additional for others to assist you divide and conquer in the kitchen.

Prep your food

  • Check that you have all of the necessary components. This is a basic step that may seem ludicrous to describe, but it is one that many people neglect and end up scrambling for. The last thing you want is to run out of eggs halfway through a meal, or to only have enough potatoes for two people when you need enough for eight. On Thanksgiving Day, it will be difficult to locate a grocery shop that is open, so prepare beforehand!
  • Set out all of the ingredients, pre-measured and ready, in the order you’ll need them. You’ll be far less likely to forget an ingredient or omit a step if they’re all out on the counter, ready and waiting. Peel and slice everything before you start, so you’re not rushing around attempting to peel a carrot while keeping the biscuits from burning.
  • or your preferred oil(s). You’ll find yourself regularly grabbing for a spray or oil to heat in a pan when you cycle through your varied dish prep, so have it near the stove ahead of time. Prepare the nonstick spray, butter, and
  • grinder, and my response is this: When a recipe asks for a pinch of salt, you may do precisely that. Just reach in and take a spoonful of salt! Make use of a salt keeper. Many have asked me why they need a salt keeper when they already have a salt shaker.

Prep your serveware

Get suitable serveware so that you do not end up serving all of the meal in cereal bowls and tupperware. Unless you want to go for college dorm chic, in which case you should!

  • Pie Container If you are not entertaining at your own house but are in charge of the pie, you will want this, which is exactly what it sounds like: a box to transport your pie. You’ll also want to get the carrying strap. I know it’s a bit more money, but it’ll be well worth it when you just need one hand to carry the pie and your other arm is free to meet a loved one.
  • Platters for serving You must have at least one large one for the turkey; this is non-negotiable! Nonetheless, you would profit from having a few more for your different sides.
  • Serving dishes
  • Utensils for serving
  • Salad makers

Setting the table

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create an inviting table setting. Just search for Thanksgiving tablescape on Pinterest and BEHOLD. There are suggestions for tablecloths, runners, centerpieces, candles, place cards, and so forth.

But, when it comes to the basics,

  • Placemats They may not always be the most fashionable, but I love for wipe-clean placemats. They come in a variety of colors and are just what I need. Below, dress them up with a braided fiber placemat!
  • Dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls are all available. Indulge in a fashionable set or save money by purchasing a traditional, plain white set.
  • Glasses for both water and wine.
  • Flatware I don’t believe in spending a lot on flatware, so something like this plain set suffices.
  • Holders for utensils They are very adorable!
  • Napkins There’s nothing wrong with using disposable paper napkins, but if you want to go all out, invest in a set of cloth napkins to have on hand for special occasions like this.
  • The gravy boat
  • a dish with butter
  • Grinder for salt and pepper

Prep for dessert after dinner

Nobody is surprised that my favorite part of Thanksgiving is dessert. The greatest way to conclude the day is with pies, cakes, cookies, bars, puddings, and some decaf espresso. I find that stacking all of my after-dinner prep on a serving dish makes it pleasant and simple.

  • Plates for desserts You could just wash and reuse your salad plates, but why not go for something charming or fun?
  • Dessert spoons and forks For dessert, I don’t believe in using full-sized cutlery. A smaller fork or spoon will take you longer to consume it, giving you more time to savor it. SCORE.
  • Cups for coffee or espresso Saucers are optional, but highly recommended.
  • They should be sent home with leftovers! You don’t want to lose all of your storage containers, so stock up on some inexpensive containers you won’t mind losing. You may also go for something a bit cuter, like this or this.

I hope this helps you plan a stress-free or at least less stressful Thanksgiving!

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link, I may get a fee. If you do, please accept my heartfelt gratitude!


How can I host Thanksgiving without stress?

10 Tips to Reduce Stress When Hosting Thanksgiving
Make a food plan ahead of time.
Give time for your turkey to thaw.
Prepare the ingredients and the table setting ahead of time.
Begin the day with some “you time.”
Delegate responsibilities.
Construct a sanitation station.
Maintain a modest tablescape.
Make a children’s table.
Additional details…•November 12, 2021

What supplies do I need to host Thanksgiving?

Cranberry Serving Dish…. Pie Plate…. Thanksgiving Scratch Offs…. Folding Table and Chairs.
Additional details…•October 31, 2020
Cake9 Thanksgiving Basics Baster Set You will need a roasting pan. A roasting pan is required to cook a bird.
Fat Separator, Turkey Serving Platter

How can I make hosting Thanksgiving easier?

Never refuse assistance.
Do as much preparation as possible.
Don’t play around with new recipes.
Begin your non-food preparation early.
Make the turkey the day before if possible.
Prepare the table the night before…
Prepare a drink (or a glass of wine)….
Make no fuss with the appetizers.
Additional information…•May 9, 2022

What not to do as a Thanksgiving guest?

Thanksgiving is just not the time to experiment with unusual taste combinations or unusual foods. Don’t heed if your host insists that you “just bring yourself!” (he or she might even be testing you). A gift is a nice gesture no matter what the occasion, but particularly during Thanksgiving.

How do you make Thanksgiving less awkward?

These are the 13 greatest ways to get out of your most awkward Thanksgiving meal situations:
Call on Alexa for assistance.
Alter the topic…
Keep the football on in the background.
Play with your pets.
Describe the most recent book you read.
Play the game Bop It! …
Call or text Turkey hotlines.
Invite a “buffer” to dinner.
Additional information…•November 22, 2018

How do you make Thanksgiving special for guests?

Send out a guest list before the big day and encourage everyone to express one thing they love or respect about each attendee. Put the comments on a place card with each guest’s name so they may sit down to a beautiful list of anonymous gratitude. Maintain a thankfulness jar. Make Thanksgiving a 365-day celebration.

What’s the key to a good Thanksgiving?

The answer is a pumpkin. What is the secret to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner? The turkey, of course.

What is a must have for Thanksgiving?

Remember the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and cranberry sauce? These foods are all necessary for Thanksgiving, although some are a bit more contentious. No Thanksgiving in the South is complete without corn pudding and bacon-infused Brussels sprouts.

What is the hardest thing to make on Thanksgiving?

Predictably, the largest anxiety of the day is successfully preparing the turkey, with more than half of those polled (56%) saying it’s the most difficult part of Thanksgiving.

What do you buy for Thanksgiving as a guest?

Be a courteous host by bringing something thoughtful or, in the spirit of the season, something tasty!
#1 Appetizer, side dish, or dessert… #2 Wine, whiskey, champagne, cider, or [enter your favorite beverage]….
#3 Flowers or centerpieces… #4 A breakfast treat for the following morning.
Additional information…•November 21, 2013

Rate this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *