Special Report

30 Ways You Should Start Planning Your Thanksgiving Right Now

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21. Make sure all the chairs will fit at your table

You’ve counted guests and counted chairs. Now try putting all of the latter around the table to make sure they fit — and not just barely fit but fit comfortably because nobody wants to be jabbed by an elbow every time a neighbor cuts a bite of turkey or reaches for the cranberry sauce.

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22. Rent tableware and chairs if necessary

If you come up short with glasses, plates, chairs, even tables, consider getting in touch with nearby family, friends, or neighbors. If your support network can’t provide, try a party rental company — but do so as soon as possible, as there’s a lot of demand for these items around the holidays.

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23. Make room in your refrigerator and freezer

The timing for this step will depend on how soon your turkey will arrive and how far in advance you plan to do your other shopping. Turkeys are huge and need plenty of space in the refrigerator. You might also need extra room in the freezer if you’re preparing certain foods ahead of time (see below). This might be a good time, then, to sort through all those half-finished jars of tired condiments and freezer bags of mysterious forgotten leftovers and toss them out.

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24. Choose and buy beverages, alcoholic and otherwise

Whether you plan to serve spiked punch, an array of cocktails, autumnal beers, or turkey-friendly wines — or all of the above — now’s the time to figure out what’s on the drinks list. You’ll also need to compute how much of everything you’ll need and where to buy it at the best price. And don’t forget plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, too — plain and sparkling water, fruit juices, sodas, tea and coffee.

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25. Make and freeze pie crusts

This is one step that will save you a lot of time (and oven space) on the big day itself. Pie crusts freeze well, so make them ahead of time, wrap them well, and stash them in sealed freezer bags next to the ice cubes and the Ben and Jerry’s. (Nobody will know, by the way, if you just buy premade crusts and put those in the freezer instead.)