How To Prepare For Thanksgiving Dinner

Nov 12, 2020 | Holiday, Maggie Lane Designs

This is a re-post.  This is a great checklist for anyone decorating, baking, and cooking for Thanksgiving this year!  We wish all of you a wonderful holiday!  Love, Bobbi Jo, Mr. TAL, Jake, and Maggie 🙂

Happy “Friday Treats Friday” everyone! I normally put out a different treat every Friday but this week is going to be a bit different. Don’t worry, I’m including dog treat recipes but with Thanksgiving in two weeks, I thought I’d put a little checklist together on “How To Prepare For Thanksgiving Dinner”. If you are like us, our dogs are a big part of the day and you know I’ll be making Jake and Maggie something special. Last year, I made them “Pumpkin Puppuchinos” and the dogs loved them. If some of your recipes include the use of pumpkin, check out my post “Benefits Of Giving Your Dog Pumpkin” (HERE).  This is a long list that I put together for planning now and into the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays!

Maybe you have a list already made or maybe there is that one thing you think you are missing. Whether it be adding new bedding for overnight guests, changing out the towels in the guest room, or adding a new fall scented candle, this list can help remind you of that one thing! Thanksgiving might look a little different this year for some and maybe setting your table with an inspirational quote at each plate setting will brighten everyone’s spirits! Maybe change up the time of your meal and have a brunch instead with a delicious homemade mimosa!  Or…try my Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe (HERE) or my Berry Wine Spritzer (HERE).

I would love to hear what everyone is doing this year or have done in past years! Comment below and let me know! Enjoy!!


Preparing for fall and Thanksgiving:

Choose a fall color scheme and carry throughout your house
Make a fall wreath for your front door
Decorate the front of your house with fall decor
Paint and carve pumpkins
Plant mums
Add mums to decorative containers
Place lanterns with timed candles around the outside of your house
Change out your bedding for a fall inspired feel
Display apples and pumpkins in a bowl on your table
Create a cozy nook to read a good book
Light candles in fall scents
Style a fall centerpiece
Style a fall themed mantel
Put out a basket full of cozy blankets and pillows in your living room
Create a fall tablescape to leave out for daily use
Re-arrange old books and cover in burlap tied with a fall bow
Make homemade side
Make a fall themed punch
Set a table for two for a romantic night at home
Bake a turkey dinner with all the sides!!!  Put out pretty dishes to hold every side you make!
Use a blanket as a tablecloth in fall colors
Make a fall inspired lunch by making homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwich
Paint tree limbs and sticks and use them in a fall arrangement
Make lists for fall inspired meals
Have a house party to kick off fall
Display inspirational quotes around your home
Add fall scents to your air diffusers
Buy fall inspired body wash scents and soaps
Create your own pumpkin latte recipe
Make a pumpkin puppucinio for your dog or Blueberry Almond Banana Pancake treats (HERE)
Buy your pet new bedding
Buy your pet new pet clothes from Akioka Pet Boutique (HERE)
Buy storage units to store all of your fall decor
Add sparkle lights or fairy lights to your home decor or floral arrangements
Start your Christmas list of to-do’s” that you want to get done before the Christmas and New Year’s Eve and Day arrival


Blessed Quote

I follow a blog called Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard and these tips were taken from this blog.  My sister always cooks for Thanksgiving and I make one or two dishes.  I thought these tips were very good and informative and wanted to share with you!  You could always used these for preparing for the Christmas holiday as well.

Tip 1: Think About Your Menu

A few things to be thinking about when creating your Thanksgiving menu. How much oven space do you have, how many people are you serving, and does anyone have any dietary restrictions.

Depending on how many leftovers you’d like, plan on anywhere from a pound to a pound and a half per person. If everyone is heading out the door at the end of the day, I would go closer to a pound per person. If your guests are staying through the weekend go for a pound and a half. Bone-in breasts are a nice option if you don’t want to cook more than one turkey. And lastly, keep in mind, that if you’ve got a lot of sides, guests will probably eat less turkey.

Tip 2: Make an Oven/Food Schedule

This is certainly my number one tip to easily getting dinner on the table…and at a reasonable hour. An oven schedule is essential for staying on track on Thanksgiving Day, especially if you’re working with limited oven space.

Tip 3: Test Your Recipes

If you’re trying new recipes, make sure you test them out before Thanksgiving Day. Certainly no one wants to be disappointed on Thanksgiving with a bad batch of mashed potatoes. Test your recipes out now so they’re perfect for Thanksgiving.

Tip 4: Invest in a Slow Cooker and or Instant Pot

If you’re working with limited oven space, I highly recommend using your slow cooker and instant pot. They can cook mashed potatoes from start to finish, or just keep your dishes warm without taking up any oven space.

Tip 5: Make a To-Do List TODAY

About a week or so before Thanksgiving, I sit down and make a checklist of everything that needs to be done before we sit down to eat. I make my list by the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Tip 6: Use A Meat Thermometer

This might be a no brainer, but don’t try cooking your turkey based solely on time…no one wants to cut into a beautiful looking turkey only to find that it’s still raw inside. Using a thermometer is the best way to know when your turkey is cooked to perfection. This one is my favorite.

Tip 7: Roast Your Turkey in a Butter Soaked Cheesecloth.

My number 1 tip for the best turkey. Grab my favorite herb butter roasted turkey recipe here.

Tip 8: Don’t Cook the Stuffing Inside the Turkey

If you cook the stuffing inside the turkey, you’ll have to overcook the turkey in order to actually cook the stuffing to a temperature that’s safe to eat. And even then you end up with soggy stuffing…and dry turkey. Not good. Instead, bake the stuffing separately and get soft on the inside and crisp on top stuffing that actually tastes good.

Tip 9: Set the Table Way Ahead of Time

This is something my Nonnie taught me, and it’s probably my favorite entertaining trick. I like to set my dinner table ideally a week ahead. If that’s not possible, at least the night before. It’s one more thing you can cross off your checklist early. Plus you’ll be guaranteed to have the table set and looking pretty when guests arrive.

Tip 10: Create a Seasonal Tablescape

When setting your table, don’t stress too much about making it perfect. I love the imperfect, perfect look. My best budget tip for creating an elegant tablescape is to incorporate the food onto the table. My favorite thing to do is to use fresh produce around my table to add pops of color. I certainly love a bouquet of flowers, but food can be equally beautiful, if not prettier. In addition, I like to surround the table with candles, use fresh herbs for greenery, and seasonal fruit for color.

Above all, make the table cozy and inviting…everyone will have the best night.


Grateful quote

Want more dog treats recipes and helpful tips on getting through the virus during the holidays, check out my previous blog posts here:

20 Activities To Help You Get Through The Coronavirus

How To Cook A Turkey In A Cast Iron Skillet

My Turkey Table

Pumpkin Puree, Peanut Butter Dog Treats



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  1. Sharon

    Happy thankful Thanksgiving to Two Adorable Labs!
    Gus is having TPLO surgery to repair his torn ACL this coming Monday. It is a very tough surgery recovery for dogs, but are hoping he does well.
    We are keeping things quiet and confined for him the first few weeks. So, our Thanksgiving Day will be calmer, but there will be plenty of turkey!

    • Bobbi

      Awh, so sorry to hear this. We went through this twice with our last dog Bella. Surgery, medications, therapy and then the other leg went. She pulled through it like a champ but it was tough. Sending prayers and kisses your way for Gus!


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