Thanksgiving Preparations: Food for Thought for the Early Bird and Procrastinator

Thanksgiving prep for the early bird and procrastinator


It’s all about the food at this time of year! And getting your Thanksgiving dinner together takes planning and organizing.  Some of us start our plans in early November and some of us start…well…not too early!

Early bird preparations

  • Getting the menu together early is a good first step!  Our family continues the tradition of turkey, bread dressing, mashed potatoes and pie. However, your family may be more adventurous!  Recipes can be found online at, in magazines like Southern Living, or just on the can of French fried onion rings!   Deciding on your menu early means you can take advantage of sales throughout the month using your list of ingredients.
  • Early invitations for guests really make them feel special.  An early invitation also means you can ask your guests to bring a dish to share at your meal.  New cuisine and added camaraderie make the meal more fun too!
  • Keep it simple with simple meal prep. That includes preparing ahead as much as possible, using the best tools for the job and creating structure to your plan with lists.
  • Getting ready for Thanksgiving also includes getting your home ready for company.  Starting early is a good way to take baby steps in decluttering and decorating for the holiday.  You can work room by room, decluttering and cleaning for several weeks.  Your family will enjoy the holiday atmosphere and you will feel less pressured by time.

Procrastinator preparations

  • Instead of turkey (which takes days to thaw), choose cornish game hens or ham.  Both are easy to prepare.  Ham can be purchased that day and heated.
  • Choose to shop at a one-stop location. It is easier to purchase it all at one retailer, rather than running between stores.   Choose your store by the sales items on your grocery list.
  • It’s not about perfect or made from scratch!  Check out ways to use convenience foods in preparing your meal.  Sandra Lee of FoodTV fame  uses ready-prepared items to make your meal special.
  •  Ask your family what treats and sweets are most important to them. You can purchase ready-made desserts at a reduced cost at holiday time.
  • Check out the options for pre-made Thanksgiving dinners. In Houston, we have choices like Luby’s and Randalls.  It all comes nicely prepared and ready to eat.
  • Dine out!  Just google Thanksgiving Houston and you will find loads of choices!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving hints for your family dinner?

No matter your style, I wish you a moist turkey and a sweet pumpkin pie for your holiday event!

9 replies
  1. Janet Barclay
    Janet Barclay says:

    One of the things I love about Allrecipes is their Ingredient Search. You can enter the ingredients you want to use and even those you DON’T want to use, and it will make some suggestions.

  2. Bobby Long
    Bobby Long says:

    We have a family Thanksgiving celebration at my cousin’s ranch out of Brenham. She used to use the big old roaster that my grandmother used for many years. Then she went to turkey breasts that were quicker and easier to roast. No matter what she fixed, her son-in-law liked to fry a turkey. Eventually, we were definitely oversized with turkey, She finally gave him the responsibility of frying 2 turkeys and she got that mess out of her kitchen. The rest of us bring dishes and we have a wonderful meal. The night before Thanksgiving, several of us go to Brenham and get a hotel room or bed and breakfast and go to her house for a Thanksgiving eve meal. That is wonderful because it is a smaller group and we get to visit more personally than we do on Thanksgiving. We have sandwiches or stuffed potatoes or soup and a few desserts specified for Wednesday evening.

    I love the holidays. I used to do all of Christmas myself, but two years ago, I shared with my girls and they each bring part of the meal and I have a lot better time.

  3. Tabitha Kokoska
    Tabitha Kokoska says:

    I have to agree about Allrecipes; it is usually my go to site for new dishes. I am the only one in my extended family that does not eat meat, so Thanksgiving is usually a bit of a challenge. Before Thanksgiving, we (parents, siblings, extended) all agree on the main dishes and everyone chips in. Sort of like a pot luck. No one person is stuck doing all the cooking and we get to try a variety of foods…and of course, I bring the vegetarian options.
    I’m also in Houston – you’re right about the pre-made Thanksgiving dinners from Randall’s. A few friends have tried them on a few occasions and loved them. Whole Foods has great side dishes and fresh soup varieties too!

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  1. […] can be less stress and less mess.  It’s all in how you organize your preparation and meal.  Here are a few tips on making your day fun, festive and a fuss free […]

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