When I was a kid, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving. It was the gateway to Christmas!
All of my favorite people came over for dinner. I’d dump gravy all over the turkey my dad had just carved, pile my plate high with jiggly canned cranberry sauce, and stick black olives on all of my fingertips. The kids would all sit at the kid table, talking too loud and waving our olive-tipped fingers at each other as we scooped up excess gravy with hot rolls.
After dinner, we’d stretch out on the dark brown carpet of our living room, eating pumpkin pie and listening to Christmas carols. Listening to Christmas carols after Thanksgiving dinner was a sacred tradition in our household and something we looked forward to for all of November (hearing carols on the radio before Thanksgiving, my mom would say, “It’s too early!” and change the station). I would slip a piece of my pie crust to my grateful dog as Burl Ives sang Holly Jolly Christmas, drifting in and out of sleep as the adults talked about football.
Fast forward twenty years and Thanksgiving is…different. I’m the adult now. We host Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m responsible for making sure my kids have their own positive memories of the holidays. As opposed to, you know, memories of their mother running around like a crazy person yelling at everyone because she still needs to clean the house and go back to the grocery store for napkins and OMG PEOPLE WILL BE HERE IN AN HOUR.
I’ve had Thanksgivings where I have been that mom.
The thing is, I’m not a natural hostess, and I’m not a natural party planner. All the cleaning, and cooking, and catering to everyone…it stresses me out! But the last couple of years have been different. We’ve been organized, planned strategically, and actually looked forward to having everyone over for dinner.
It takes a lot of work to be prepared, but I’ve learned (the hard way!) that it is always easier to spend time on the front end, planning than it is to run to the store on Thanksgiving day because we forgot to buy napkins. I hope that you find this printable Thanksgiving dinner meal planner to be as useful to you as it has been to me.
Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planner
Last year, we took Thanksgiving planning seriously. We carefully mapped out our menu and planned our shopping list, and delegated where we could. When Thanksgiving day rolled around, we were ready. It was like…magic. And I loved it.
Thanksgiving day was busy, but not stressful. It was all the things we love about the holidays – good food, quality time with the people we love, and just enough hustle and bustle to make it fun.
My secret to success is designating time to sit down and plan out our meals and duties. And of course, the cuter this process is, the more fun it is, too!
This Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planner will help you map out your Thanksgiving dinner and create your shopping list at the same time. It’s easy to use…just fill in the menu and the shopping list. Cut the list off to take with you to the store. We keep the menu on the fridge (where we won’t lose it!).
Do you need anything else to help get your Thanksgiving organized?
When you are planning the big day, check out these Printable Thanksgiving Planner Stickers. And these Free Thanksgiving Printables: Thanksgiving Place Cards can help get your table looking ready for guests.
As for the meal itself, here are some ideas for you:
Download your Thanksgiving dinner meal planner below.
The holidays are nuts, but that doesn’t mean I have to be (hahaha, just kidding…yes it does)!
Do you entertain during the holidays? What are your tips for staying organized?
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