Thanksgiving Guide for the Non-Planner


I don’t really plan ahead – I put out (figurative) fires.

Thanksgiving is no exception.

I’ve hosted for five years in a row but somehow I’m still rushing around at the last second to finish everything on time.

I’ve finally learned to plan ahead a little bit. And while planning ahead doesn’t eliminate all of the last-minute rush, it does help to relieve a lot of the last-minute stress.

Here’s the Thanksgiving week schedule:



Clean the house. Even if you’re not the one hosting this year, think about how nice it will be to come home to a clean house after Thanksgiving dinner! Whether you spend several hours cleaning thoroughly, or you need to fake a clean house in less than 20 minutes, the time you spend cleaning up will be well worth your efforts.

Finalize the menu. (I have simple Thanksgiving menu suggestions here.) How many pies do you need to make? Are you cooking a full turkey or buying a pre-cooked bird? What about the sides? Since we’re planning last minute, let’s do ourselves a favor and keep things simple by dropping anything unnecessary off our menus.

Grocery shop. If at all possible, we need to go to the store before Wednesday or we may have to modify our carefully planned menus at the very last second!

Pack your bags if you’re traveling overnight.


Finish anything remaining from Tuesday’s list. If you haven’t cleaned yet do it now, especially if the festivities will be in your own home. The same goes for menu planning and grocery shopping. This is the last minute so don’t wait any longer!

Make sure there’s enough seating for everyone. If you’re hosting, make sure you have enough tables and chairs. If you’re not hosting, call the host to see if they’d like you to bring any chairs with you.

Start cooking! Cook anything that you have time to make today. I like to make dessert and stuffing the day before Thanksgiving to keep my oven free on the big day.



Give your kids something to do. Whether they help you cook or want to make a simple last-minute Thanksgiving craft that won’t clutter up your house, make sure to keep your little ones busy so they don’t try to trash the house!

Finish cooking.

Take time to get prettied-up!

Plus, if you’re hosting:

Run-through the house. This is a phrase we use often in our home. We mean, “Run through the house and make sure everything is put away.” This is our last minute pre-company run to make sure we haven’t overlooked anything.

Wipe down the toilet and sink.

Sweep the kitchen and bathroom floors. Even if you don’t have time to mop, you or someone else in your family can quickly sweep the bathroom and kitchen floors so guests aren’t stepping on crumbs and other icky-ness.

Set the tables.

And most importantly, enjoy your day! Thanksgiving probably won’t be perfect, but let’s remember the big picture and choose thankfulness as we consider our many blessings.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)


  1. I definitely like to plan things out. I get anxious if I don’t have everything ready to go. I like your plan though. I usually make lists of what I need to do for what day.


  1. […] It’s Thanksgiving week! Some of you have your turkeys thawing, your pies planned, and ingredients for your side dishes in your cupboards. The rest of us… well, we know that we need to plan something. […]

  2. […] This will help you stay focused when you’re in that crazy-rushed mode since you won’t even have to think about what’s next – just look at the list and do what it says! This great, simple last-minute Thanksgiving guide should help you get started. […]

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