Special Report

30 Ways You Should Start Planning Your Thanksgiving Right Now

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26. Make several non-Thanksgiving meals and freeze them

As turkey day approaches, your refrigerator will fill up with ingredients and finished dishes reserved for the holiday — and your days will fill up with preparations. Relieve the pressure — and discourage family members from digging into the Thanksgiving goods — by making up some easy-to-freeze meals ahead of time (casseroles, meatloaf, lasagna, etc.) and freezing them for daily use in the days just before the holiday.

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27. Make sure you have plenty of plastic containers and sturdy baggies

You’ve already ensured that you’ve got enough vessels in which to cook and serve your meal, but remember the aftermath. Chances are you’ll want to send some of your guests home with leftovers, and/or keep some for yourself, so you’ll need to have plenty of plastic containers, both solid and soft, to hold them.

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28. Make plans to keep the kids amused

If youngsters are part of the guest list, you’ll likely want to give them their own table. They’ll also need their own beverages, of course, and if they’re particularly young or picky, they might be happier with a cheese quesadilla or a PB&J than with turkey, yams, and Brussels sprouts. But the menu is only part of it. Chances are they’ll eat and run — around the house. Set up video games or other amusements for them if possible and let them know that it’s fine for them to excuse themselves and go have fun after they’ve eaten. Don’t worry: They’ll be back when it’s time for the pumpkin pie.

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29. Give your place a thorough autumn cleaning

You might want to do this in two stages — a thorough once-a-season job three or four weeks before Thanksgiving and then touch-ups as needed the day before or the morning of. Cooking for and hosting a large group of people can leave your place gravy-splattered and wine-stained, so the tidier it is to begin with the better.

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30. Make reservations

Of course, you can always decide not to host Thanksgiving dinner at all, even just for the immediate family, and go out someplace instead. Many restaurants are closed for the holiday, of course, but many also remain open, serving their own versions of the traditional meal. These include everything from diners to elegant restaurants, easily searched online. And if you don’t care for turkey and all the trimmings, many Asian restaurants will oblige with their usual menus. (Sushi for Thanksgiving? Why not?) If you do want to go out for the occasion, though, reserve a table as soon as possible, as you’re probably not the only one with this idea.