Thanksgiving Planning: Your Survival Guide For Hosting Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the food holiday of the year, no doubt. It’s a holiday where family and friends can enjoy each other’s company, watch a little football, and of course over indulge in all things food. Being organized is the key to survival when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving dinner and a little Thanksgiving planning and organizing goes a long way. Here is the party plan to that will level up your hosting.

thanksgiving tablescape

You need to start Thanksgiving planning ASAP. The less things you have to do as the date gets closer, the more successful your Thanksgiving will be. Everything from setting the table to make ahead options. Make lists and make a lot of them to stay organized – what’s for dinner, what do you need to prepare, what do you need to buy, make a Thanksgiving Day-of timeline. 

When it comes to décor, less is more, after all the feast is centrepiece. You can keep it simple, inexpensive – and fun! I love to involve the kids in as much as possible, especially when it comes to hosting because they get to see all the effort and love that is put into every aspect. There is nothing sweeter than taking the kids out on a fall scavenger hunt to find pine cones, leaves and all things fall. Grab your bucket and get outside for some fresh air and fall treasure finds. You can use these goodies to decorate the plates and the table for your feast.

DIY pine cone décor

How to prepare & preserve your pinecones:

This process will get rid of any bugs and melt the sap which will give the cones a natural lustre.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

  • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spread pine cones across in a single layer, well-spaced
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the cones are fully opened and the sap has melted
  • Remove from oven, let cool, voilà
linen coloured harman table runner

Harman Hemstitch Polyester Runner, $19.99*

When it comes to dinnerware I am all for timeless pieces, so these vintage white place settings are my must haves! They are lightweight, dishwasher safe, perfect for every day and elegant enough for entertaining. Some other essentials on my table are linen napkins. They’re less wasteful than paper towel and are great when you’re serving dinner for a crowd. Napkins paired with a table runner are significantly more stylish and I’m here for it. If you have some time, handmade place cards are a nice personal touch.

white dinner plate and side plate table setting with a decorative pine cone on top

Thomson Pottery Pearlina Stoneware Dinnerware – Set of 16, $47.99*

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a fresh baked apple pie and it’s always a crowd pleaser. With the help of this apple peeler you’ll have so much fun preparing the ingredients (especially with the kiddies). If you enjoy simplicity as much as I do, you can effortlessly go from oven to table when baking with this fluted pie dish (hello time saver). Or if you are looking to make a warm and tasty side dish try this delicious, kid approved recipe for warm cinnamon apples.

Warm cinnamon apples recipe

red apple peeler peeling an apple

Delicious Apple Peeler-Slicer, $14.99*


  • 4 apples, peeled and sliced 
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or vegan butter)

How to Make It

  • Mix together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container, shaking to coat.
  • Cook apple mixture, 2 Tbsp. water, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes or until apples are tender.

Thanksgiving planning 101

light blue pie dish with an apple pie inside

Provence Fluted Pie Dish, $15.99

If you are a newbie to hosting Thanksgiving, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. A good thermometer is fundamental when cooking a turkey. I’m guilty of habitually over cooking meat because I just feel like you can never be ‘too careful’. But when using a digital thermometer with probe you can know exactly when the turkey has reached the perfect temperature and completely take the guess work out of cooking. Another Thanksgiving must-have is twine, it’s great to have on hand for roast, turkey, chicken, or when your mom calls you year after year asking if you have some for her to borrow.

Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff.  Have fun, take it all in, after all Thanksgiving is about family and being grateful for what you have. 

Happy Thanksgiving planning!

Searching for more helpful Thanksgiving ideas?

Check out the 7 top top tools you need to host Thanksgiving. And be sure to take a peek at how we do Thanksgiving at Kitchen Stuff Plus.

Feeling inspired for Thanksgiving?

We wan’t to know how you celebrate Thanksgiving! Share your Thanksgiving preparation with us on Instagram at @kspstuff and use the hashtag #loveKSP

*Prices valid as of publish date.

Danielle Perciballi

Danielle is a mama of 3 and entrepreneur. She is the creator of life of macs which explores parenthood and lifestyle from a genuine place. Offering conscientious perspective on products, healthy alternatives, nutritious food (with a splash of vegan), DIY and all things that simplify family life. Follow along the journey at @lifeofmacs.