Easy Thanksgiving Planner (with a Free Printable)

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Plan a stress-free Thanksgiving feast with our detailed free Thanksgiving meal printable and free Thanksgiving planner. Enjoy every moment with loved ones and savor the flavors of the season!

Thanksgiving Menu Planner Hero

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Can you believe it’s time to start planning the biggest dinner of the year– our Thanksgiving feasts?

As the air turns crisp (even here in Phoenix) and leaves paint the town in vibrant hues, it’s time to start thinking about one of the most heartwarming gatherings of the year – Thanksgiving! 

Hosting this holiday doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Whether it’s your first year hosting, or this is the year you’re finally going to plan ahead of time, it can be hosted easily!

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner For the First Time?

 With some careful planning and our free printable Thanksgiving planner, you’ll glide through the preparations and enjoy a memorable feast with your loved ones. I’m sharing what works– and what doesn’t. While I can’t help you navigate ALL the awkward family conversations, I can certainly help you look like a hosting champ this year.

free thanksgiving planner menu printable image

Free Thanksgiving Meal Planner

Today, we are going to provide you with a step-by-step Thanksgiving preparation timeline to ensure everything falls into place, and your holiday is filled with warmth and gratitude. Plus, we have a free Thanksgiving planner printable to make your life even easier. Let’s dive into the details!


What’s Included in free printable Thanksgiving menu planner:

  • Thanksgiving Menu Planner: Allow space to jot down your chosen dishes, ingredients, and any special notes or adjustments you plan to make.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist: Create a checklist of tasks to complete in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Include items like ordering the turkey, confirming guests, and planning decorations.
  • Grocery List: A dedicated section for your Thanksgiving shopping list, divided into perishable and non-perishable items.
  • Thanksgiving Shopping List: Use this section to list all the groceries you’ll need for your menu. You can organize it by category, such as dairy, produce, and bakery items.
  • Notes Section: Provide space for additional notes, whether it’s a new recipe you want to try or reminders for the big day.

Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Preparation Timeline:

This detailed timeline is designed to help you plan and prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable dinner.

4-5 Weeks Before Thanksgiving:

  • Plan Your Menu: Start by brainstorming the dishes you’d like to serve. Consider any dietary restrictions or preferences your guests may have. Once your menu is set, you can move on to the next steps.

3-4 Weeks Before Thanksgiving:

  • Create a Thanksgiving Shopping List: Using your finalized menu, create a comprehensive shopping list. Include all the ingredients you’ll need, from the turkey to the spices for your famous pumpkin pie. Don’t forget non-food items like candles or decorations. Hint: Use our free Thanksgiving planner printables below!

3 Weeks Before Thanksgiving:

  • Order Turkey: If you plan to serve a fresh turkey, order it from your local butcher or grocery store. Make sure to specify the size you’ll need to accommodate your guest list. If you are wondering which size of turkey you should buy, this is a handy cheat sheet.

2 Weeks Before Thanksgiving:

  • Confirm Guest List: Reach out to your guests to confirm attendance and inquire about any dietary restrictions or allergies you should be aware of.
  • Plan Decorations: Decide on your table decor and create a list of items you’ll need, from centerpieces to place settings. If you plan to make any DIY decorations, now is the time to gather supplies. (I have a list of several free decor options below, keep reading!)

1 Week Before Thanksgiving:

  • Shop for Non-Perishables: Hit the stores to stock up on all non-perishable ingredients, including canned goods, dry goods, and baking supplies. This will help spread out the financial load.
  • Prepare Freezer-Friendly Dishes: Consider making and freezing dishes that can be prepared in advance, such as casseroles, stuffing, or pie crusts. This will save you precious time on the big day.
  • Clean Out Fridge and Freezer: Make space for your Thanksgiving ingredients by cleaning out your fridge and freezer. You’ll need plenty of room for storing prepared dishes and leftovers. Plan for easy dinners around Thanksgiving by using up what is in the freezer!

3 Days Before Thanksgiving:

  • Thaw the Turkey: If you’re using a frozen turkey, begin thawing it in the refrigerator according to weight and package instructions.
  • Prep Vegetables: Chop and prepare any vegetables that won’t lose freshness. Store them in airtight containers or resealable bags in the fridge.

2 Days Before Thanksgiving:

  • Make Pie Crusts: Prepare your pie crusts and refrigerate them. This step will save you time when you’re ready to bake your pies. Don’t have time for rolling out homemade dough? I got you– use ready-to-make Pillsbury or extra deep pie crusts from the freezer section. Voila.
  • Set the Table: Arrange your table settings and decorations. This will create a lovely ambiance and reduce last-minute stress.

1 Day Before Thanksgiving:

  • Brine or Season Turkey: If your turkey recipe calls for brining or seasoning in advance, be sure to do so on this day.
  • Prepare Side Dishes: Make and store side dishes like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, or green bean casserole.

Thanksgiving Day:

  • Cook the Turkey: Begin roasting your turkey early in the day, following your chosen recipe’s instructions.
  • Finish Side Dishes: Reheat the prepared side dishes you made the day before. This will free up space on your stovetop and in your oven. You can easily reheat these dishes on Thanksgiving. Reheat tip: Keep mashed potatoes warm in a slow cooker and others warm with sterno cans.
  • Set Out Appetizers: Arrange appetizers for guests to nibble on as they arrive. This keeps everyone happy while you put the finishing touches on the main meal.
  • Enjoy Your Feast: Once everything is ready, gather your loved ones around the table and give thanks for the delicious meal and the warmth of family and friends.

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes:

​Not only are these Thanksgiving recipes easy, but they are so yummy too! Don’t miss the leftover turkey recipes, they are a great way to use up all those turkeys and sides!

Free Thanksgiving Planner Printables:

​Here are a few beautiful ways to decorate your Thanksgiving day table and have some family fun!

Thanksgiving Kids Printables

Free Thanksgiving Kids Activities:

Get your kids excited for Thanksgiving with more than 30 free Thanksgiving printables – a fun way to keep them entertained during the Thanksgiving dinner preparations.


Planning a Friendsgiving Party?

Friendsgiving has become increasingly popular over the years and there is no surprise as to why it has taken off as it has. Getting friends together and spending the day enjoying some great food and company is why we celebrate Friendsgiving! Especially after such a rough couple of years!

Use the Thanksgiving Menu Template above and then adjust as needed for your friend group (i.e. potluck or take-out style)…

Use this helpful 5 Fun Friendsgiving Party and Theme Ideas guide to plan the perfect Friendsgiving today!

free Thanksgiving meal printable and free Thanksgiving planner

With this ultimate Thanksgiving Planner, you’ll breeze through the holiday season with confidence and ease, leaving you more time to give thanks for all the good in your life. Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

sign off keeping it simple, Brittany

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