Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you’re not quite ready, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. When hosting Thanksgiving, last-minute tasks have a way of consuming too much of your valuable time with your guests. This is why it’s so helpful to have a plan in place and get as much as you can done in advance — starting with these 5 helpful tips to prepare your home for Thanksgiving:

1. Coordinate the Basics

How many people will you be inviting? Do you want it to feel elegant, cozy, casual? Answering these questions will help you decorate in an efficient and budget friendly way. 

Purchase your turkey early, especially if you are planning to get a heritage bird (they do sell out). Place the frozen turkey in the fridge — be sure your refrigerator temperature is set at 40 °F or below. You’ll need to allow about 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds of frozen turkey you plan to thaw in the refrigerator. 

There is more than one way to make green bean casserole, but is there really a need to have three pans of the same dish? Reach out to your guests to help coordinate who is bringing what a few days prior to Thanksgiving. 

2. Make a List and Check It Twice

Groceries. Make sure you have everything written down that you will need – perishables and non-perishables. You don’t want to forget key ingredients like butter, eggs, cream, etc. The last thing you’ll want to do is brave the overcrowded grocery store the day of and before Thanksgiving. Yikes!

Timeframe – make your cooking schedule ahead of time. Look up all the recipes you will be making, noting down cooking times and temperatures, as well as which dishes can be made in advance (and how far in advance).

3. Do as Much as You Can the Night Before

Presentation is everything. By cleaning, creating the seating chart, and setting the table the night before, you’ll be able to focus on catching up with your guests and not running around last minute trying to make everything look perfect. 

4. Stock Up on Bathroom Essentials

In case your guests forget to pack their toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, floss, or pain reliever, have extra travel-size supplies on hand in the bathroom for their use. 

Be sure the regular supplies are ready, too, such as hand soap and several rolls of toilet paper, feminine hygiene products and clean towels. (It’s also nice to be sure there’s a plunger near the toilet as well as some air freshener.) To make their experience even more inviting, light a favorite holiday candle in the bathroom for an inviting touch.  

5. Meet and Greet

Upon arrival, have someone available at the front door to greet guests and help take heavy crockpots, drinks, and heavy winter clothing to their designated spots. Decide on an area in your home where you can stow away all your guests’ belongings that way, less things are forgotten and taken by accident at the end of the night. 


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.