So far, you should have bought most of what is on your master Thanksgiving grocery list. This week, despite whether your store has the rest of the items you need on sale or not, finish buying whatever is left on your master list. If you wait until next week when there are only a few days until the holiday, your store might be out.
You should also have enough freezer meals stored to pop in the oven from the Saturday-Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This will free up your time for cleaning the house next week.
Once again this week, plan some time to make a dish or two ahead. Use a planned-leftovers day or have something really simple for dinner so you will have time to prep other items to freeze for the big day.
You have three choices when it comes to making your turkey. You can make it on Thanksgiving day, you can make it a day or two before, carve it, put it in the fridge and reheat it on Thursday or make it any other day before Thanksgiving, freeze the carved meat and reheat on the day. I’m going to make mine the weekend before the holiday, freeze the meat and reheat it with my pan of dressing on THE day. To keep the meat moist when reheating, I line a 9 x 13 pan with lettuce leaves, layer the meat on top, pour about 1/2-1 cup of turkey broth over the meat, top the meat with another layer of lettuce leaves and cover with aluminum foil. This will go in the oven along with my dressing at 300 for 30-45 min. When it’s done, I will discard the lettuce leaves and broth and move the turkey to a platter. When I make the turkey on the weekend, I also make the gravy and freeze it. I then make lots of turkey broth from the bones in the crockpot after the turkey is carved. Making the turkey ahead also allows me to package up some the of the meat to put on a platter on Christmas day for sandwiches. Because I’m making the turkey this weekend, I have gotten it out of the freezer to thaw this week in the fridge. Decide now when you will have to thaw your turkey depending on when you are cooking it. You can skip this if you are ordering one fresh and picking it up in the few days prior to Thanksgiving.
Butterball has this nifty page on different ways to thaw your turkey and a timer in which you can enter the weight of your bird and it will tell you how much time you need to thaw. Be sure also to tell it whether you plan to thaw in the fridge or do a cold water method because that will make a difference in the time it gives you.
You should also be maintaining the fridge you cleaned in week one. Just do another declutter of items that accumulated since last week and wipe down your shelves.
Last week, we made sure we were caught up on all the paperwork and phone calls for the month. Be sure to take care of any bills etc that crop up this week and keep your checkbook balanced. You don’t want to be behind and scrambling to pay bills at the last minute when you need to be cleaning your house and prepping food for your meal
Do some extra cleaning that you usually do to get things company clean. Extra things to consider taking care of this week are to walk the house looking for fingerprints on walls and doors, vacuuming under couch cushions, wiping down any folding tables or chairs you might need to use for extra guests, touching up paint on woodwork, wipe down that dusty lighting above the dining table, have kids wipe down baseboards on first floor and bathroom for guests, wash those serving pieces that might be a little dusty because they haven’t been pulled out in a while and cover them with a clean towel so they stay that way.
If your family is a little more formal and dresses up on Thanksgiving, make sure each family member has every article of clothing they need cleaned. Hang everyone’s outfits in the laundry area or the back of the closet so they stay put til the day. If there are any clothing articles to purchase, get them this week and make sure they’re tried on. Take the family member(s) with you if possible. You’re going to be cooking on Thanksgiving morning and tidying the house so you won’t have time to worry about someone’s missing dress pants or that they don’t have shoes to match their outfit. If your family is like ours and jeans and a nice sweatshirt or a sweater is good enough, just make sure your laundry is caught up as much as possible so someone isn’t complaining they don’t have underwear on Thanksgiving morning.
If you want a special Thanksgiving grace to say before your meal, look for one you like and print it out for the day. Put it in your mini Thanksgiving pantry bin or shelf so you will know where it is. I plan to use this one which is on a card sent in the mail to me by the Marianist Mission.
Good and gracious God, we come before you today united with all who give You thanks and praise. Fill us with gratitude for Your many blessings, both physical and spiritual.
We thank You in particular this day for the gifts of food and family. Bless this food, Lord, that it may nourish our bodies. Bless our family, especially those who can’t be with us today. Also today, we remember those of our family who have gone to be with You.
Grant us Your spiritual blessings and help us pray daily for the grace to serve You in response to your bountiful gifts to us. Bless all who serve You throughout the world.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, Your Son, our Lord, who gives all things freely according to our needs. Continue to bless us and give Your peace. Amen.
To sum up this week,
You are shopping for
- The rest of your items on you Master Thanksgiving grocery list
- Clothing items, if needed for the holiday
You are cooking
- A dish or two or dessert items to freeze
- Thawing your turkey if you are making it early.
You are cleaning
- Those parts of the house that need to be brought up to company clean.
- Clothing and shoes that will be needed for each family member if your family dresses more formally. If not, you will be getting caught up on laundry this week so next week you can just do a load a day to keep things from getting out of hand. Caught up includes folding and putting things away.
You are looking for
- A special Thanksgiving prayer if needed
You are maintaining
- Your clean fridge
- Your bills, paperwork and phone calls.
The next post in this series will be published this Saturday.
For those of us who are responsible for putting together holidays for our families, I thought this quote was quite fitting. Trying to squeeze holiday prep into one week or a few days CAN make the holiday quite intense.
allows you to prevent . . .
the intensity of the ordeal.”
― John-Talmage Mathis, For the (Soon) Unemployed: You Against Them
For more of this series, click below