I’ve been talking about this for years, and with good reason. It truly is possible to prepare your holiday meal BEFORE the holiday. I love using these methods so that I can enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas just as much as everyone else!
For several years, I’ve been sharing how to easily make most of our Thanksgiving or Christmas dishes ahead of time. Truly! You can get ahead, then when the big day comes, you don’t have to spend hours cooking and cleaning. Imagine actually savoring the turkey and side dishes you slaved over. (Except that you don’t have to actually slave over them because I’ll show you how to make them the easy way!)
Enjoy the following recipes and preparation guide to help you get ahead this holiday season!
How to Prepare Your Holiday Meal BEFORE the Holiday
One Week Before Thanksgiving
- Pies made and frozen
- Cheesy Mashed Potatoes made and frozen (OR wait and make this amazing Instant Pot Mashed Potato Recipe the day of!)
- Stuffing Muffins made and frozen
- Green Bean Casseroles made and frozen
- Sweet Potatoes baked, mashed, and frozen
- All remaining groceries purchased
Two Days Before Thanksgiving
- Turkey baked and de-boned (yes, you CAN make your turkey ahead of time!)
- Turkey Broth made
- Cranberry Sauce made
- Prepared frozen food moved from freezer to fridge
One Day Before Thanksgiving
- Tea brewed and chilled
- Sparkling cider chilled
- Pineapple Fluff Salad made and chilled
- Cream whipped
- Tables and chairs set up
- Enjoy a large cup of steamy coffee in my recliner for a very long time (because I can)
- Everyone on their own for breakfast (probably cereal)
- Mix dry ingredients together for Stir-and-Pour Rolls (for easy, no-brainer mixing about an hour before meal time)
- Put Cranberry Apple Cider into a crockpot to heat (this is a huge hit with guests!)
- Set out butter to soften for rolls
- Plates, silverware, cups, and napkins set out
About 1 1/2 hours before serving time, I will bake or re-heat prepared foods. Then I will make gravy and bake the rolls. Easy peasy!
Here are the quick links to all the recipes you’ll need:
- Make-Ahead Turkey
- Stuffing Muffins
- Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes in the Instant Pot
- Oh Good Gravy
- Green Bean Casserole
- How to Make Frozen Pies
- Simple Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- How to make Whipped Cream
- Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Dinner Rolls
- Cranberry Sauce
- Simple Cranberry Apple Cider
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I love it!!
Hmm…If I’m the hostess, here’s how I do it.
Find out when Brother 1 can come over to cook the turkey. Assign each of my othe four siblings a dish to bring. Assign each set of grandparents a dessert and a beverage to bring. Direct husband which rooms to clean. People can come and heat up their own dishes. The kids set the table.
I just have to pull out the good dishes, have fun decorating the house, and enjoy my day. :) Coordinating an operation like Thanksgiving Day is work enough!