Special Report

30 Ways You Should Start Planning Your Thanksgiving Right Now

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were shaking beach sand out of our shoes, grilling burgers in the backyard, and complaining about the humidity. Now, all of a sudden, there’s a chill in the air and it’s almost Thanksgiving — the quintessential autumn holiday. 

Things move quickly this time of year. The number of festivities in store between Oct. 31 and Jan. 1 somehow seem to speed up the clock, and suddenly we realize that turkey day is less than a month away.

If you’re planning on hosting a holiday feast this year, it has probably already occurred to you that you need to make a checklist, and then start planning a menu and shopping at least a week ahead of time. Thanksgiving is the most important American food holiday of the year and the logistics can be formidable, so the less you leave to the last minute the better.  

Choosing a turkey and figuring out how to cook it is the first order of business for many Thanksgiving hosts. But there are many other details that need to be attended to, because hosting a large group on a significant occasion is a challenging task. Here are 14 mistakes to avoid when throwing a holiday party.

The first steps in the process can be as creative as planning a menu, perhaps adding some new dishes to the traditional ones (and testing them first, of course), or as prosaic as drawing up a budget. This is important: The price tag of a full-scale Thanksgiving feast has hovered between $40 and $50 per person (adjusted for inflation) for decades, and that’s not counting drinks, decorations, or your valuable time. (Take a look at the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner the year you were born.)

Click here for 30 ways you should start planning your Thanksgiving right now.

You don’t need to tackle everything at once, of course. But if you begin working your way through these chores in the next week or two, you can space them out and proceed at your own pace. When the holiday countdown starts in earnest, you’ll be happy that you got a head start.