Look Thanksgiving In the Eyes and Gobble Up These Tips

"Listen, Linda, I didn't sign up for this either."
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Does the idea of facing Thanksgiving dinner next week have you wanting to skip the food and go straight to the coma? If you’re hosting dinner this year, don’t fret. After all, when we think of thankfulness and gratitude, we’re not thinking of a kitchen that looks like a rafter of live turkeys took up residence. Depending on the size of your crew, you probably just need ONE turkey…and preferably one that is ready to go into the oven or fryer.

At F.C. Tucker Emge, we not only help our clients through the home buying and home selling process with as little stress as possible, but we also want to help keep your anxiety level at a minimum for the holiday. This post includes a “Countdown To Thanksgiving” timeline for you, so you can plan ahead and have more time to spend with those you love. Now THAT’S something to be thankful for!

So ask Alexa to play a Thanksgiving playlist and let’s get started!

This Weekend

  • Create your menu. From the menu, make your shopping list. Look at all the required ingredients and see what you need to add to your list based on what you already have. Double-check quantities for ingredients needed in multiple recipes. Make two separate lists…one for non-perishable items that you can purchase this weekend and one for the perishable items you’ll want to buy next week.
  • Determine how big of a turkey you will need. Since bones are included, the general rule of thumb is 1-1.5 lbs. per person. And if you have leftovers, freeze them. Who doesn’t love a good turkey casserole in January!
  • Go grocery shopping. Go ahead and purchase your turkey (it will need time to thaw), non-perishable items, cleaning supplies, napkins, etc. Keep everything in one place at home, so you know where it is when you need it.
  • Clean your home. Sure you’ll want to spruce up the day before, but now is the time to do a thorough, deep clean. IMPORTANT!!! Clean out your refrigerator so you have room to store everything.
  • Review your turkey defrosting plan. The USDA says the safest way to thaw your turkey is in the refrigerator (which you already cleaned, right?). It will take some time, so allow one fridge day for each 4-5 pounds of turkey weight. Put it in a pan to catch any juices that run off.
  • Make pie crusts. If you love the crispiness and flakiness of a good old-fashioned pie crust, go ahead and get those ready. They should keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bring them to room temperature and roll them out.
  • Plan your dish settings. Make sure you have enough plates, glasses, utensils, etc. Decide if you’re going to serve the food from the table or buffet style.
  • Determine what your clean-up will look like afterward. Recruit help ahead of time. Maybe only do what clean-up is necessary on Thursday and finish up after you’ve slept in on Friday.


  • Finalize your shopping list for perishables that you’ll need. Go ahead and shop for those today to avoid the crowds that typically appear on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Start defrosting your turkey if it’s a 12-15 pounder. Get it out of the freezer and into the refrigerator.


  • Defrost your turkey if you haven’t started already. Today would be the day for anything 8-10 pounds.
  • Pre-chop vegetables. We love homemade stuffing or dressing with sauteed onions and celery. Today would be the day you can chop those and store them in the refrigerator. Use freezer bags to help prevent everything smelling like onions.


  • Take your pre-made pie crusts out of the refrigerator and let them cool to room temperature.
  • Bake your pies today. Many can be stored at room temperature, but you’ll want to keep the pumpkin pie chilled after it cools from baking. For any leftover pie crust that you cut off from the pan, roll it out. Put it on a baking sheet and top it with pats of butter and some sugar and cinnamon. Bake it for a sweet and tasty treat.
  • Pre-make anything that is easily reheatable. This would include mashed potatoes, stuffing/dressing, green bean casserole (save the crispy french onions for just before serving), and cranberry sauce. Store everything in the fridge overnight.
  • Set your table settings. Arrange the chairs and make sure you have enough seating for everyone.
  • Tidy up the house. Make sure the eating area(s), bathrooms, and living areas are clean. Decorate.
  • Make a cooking plan for Thursday. Having a timeline noting when you’ll start cooking what will alleviate a lot of stress. Then stick to the plan. Suggested cooking times for an unstuffed turkey call for about 13 minutes per pound at 325°. If your turkey is stuffed, then cook it for about 15 minutes per pound.
  • Gather your beverages and create a drink station, complete with an ice bucket (or cooler).


  • Start baking the turkey. If you’re roasting it, you should already have the time in the oven noted on your cooking plan.
  • Remove the side dishes you made yesterday, let them get to room temperature, and prepare the remaining side dishes. If you froze items for today, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw.
  • Take the turkey out of the oven when it’s at the proper temperature. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to get happy. While the turkey is resting, go ahead and reheat your other dishes you made on Wednesday.
  • Call everyone to dinner and pray or simply ask each person what they’re most thankful for, etc…whatever your usual tradition is.
  • Eat the wonderful meal you have prepared, take a deep breath, and relax!

For all of the latest information on our local real estate market in Southwestern Indiana, you can always trust the professionals at F.C. Tucker Emge. Our agents have superior training and resources at their disposal to better educate you about the road to homeownership. Even if you are 6-12 months (or more!) out from making a change, there is a lot to learn about the home buying and selling process, and our agents can help you learn what you need to know so that you can be confident in your decision and have a smooth experience when the time comes. Let’s Talk!