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Even though we’ve been getting ready for Thanksgiving here at HGTV headquarters since the middle of summer (putting together those classy Thanksgiving centerpieces and testing out holiday cocktails takes up a lot of time, folks), the holiday has still managed to sneak up on us.

Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away! If you’re looking to try something new this year, this lemon and sage turkey will add some zesty goodness to your menu.

If you haven’t gotten your grocery list together yet, you better hurry; there’s nothing more frustrating than a last-minute hunt through a ransacked supermarket. Overwhelmed? Still scrambling for ideas? We’ve got you covered.

Create a budget. The holidays quickly can turn even the most frugal person into a spendthrift. Save yourself buyer’s remorse and set aside how much money you’re willing to spend on festivities.

Get organized. You’ll need two shopping lists: one for your Thanksgiving menu and one for other essentials, like extra utensils or craft supplies to keep the kids occupied. When creating your menu, keep in mind how many guests you’ll be serving and who you’ll be serving; find out if you have any friends or family members attending who are vegetarians or who have food allergies so no one gets left hungry. If you’re serving cocktails, poll your guests on what types of drinks they’d like – no sense in wasting time mixing cocktails if everyone would rather just sip wine!

Clean your refrigerator. And your pantry, too. In fact, if you have the time, doing a full sweep of your dining room, living room, guest rooms, and anywhere else you think will be filled with guests will help you see what you need before you get to the store. Cleaning your fridge and pantry is a great way to make sure you don’t buy groceries you already have, plus you’ll need a lot of room for that huge turkey!

Go to the store (but don’t buy anything…yet). With so much to prepare for, it’s easy to forget simple things you need, leaving you (and your guests) in despair when it’s Thanksgiving Day and you run out of milk. Take your lists and spend an hour browsing the aisles. It will help you spot things you may have forgotten on your list. If you already have your menu down, the walk will give you the opportunity to see where everything you need is located before you actually start shopping. Still not sure what you’re serving? Wandering the grocery store will give you recipe ideas.

Buy your groceries early. It takes at least 3 days to thaw a frozen turkey. Waiting until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to shop will only add unnecessary stress to an already busy holiday. If you just don’t have the time to do all your shopping at once, break up the trips.

Cook dishes ahead of time. If you’re not using a roaster or frying your turkey, there’s not going to be much more room in your oven for sides and desserts. Cook some dishes in advance, or have sides like stuffing or baked macaroni and cheese prepped and ready to quickly pop into the oven once the turkey comes out.

What are you making for Thanksgiving dinner? Share your menu with us in the comments below and visit these links for tasty recipe ideas:
Savory Main Dishes & Sides
Tips on Cooking Your Holiday Bird
Mashed Potatoes 3 Ways
Southern Fried Stuffing Balls
Fried Apple Pies
Perfect Pumpkin Pie
13 Irresistible Fall Desserts
12 Cold Weather Cocktails
10 Mocktail Recipes

9 Responses

  1. SAR says:

    That turkey looks delish.

  2. nem says:

    in my opinion, the key to all this, making thanksgiving a wonderful day, is pre-planning and sticking to budget

  3. [...] Prepare for Your Thanksgiving Dinner HGTV Design Happens Tue, November 13, 2012 10:00 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate Share (function(){var [...]

  4. [...] Prepare for Your Thanksgiving Dinner HGTV Design Happens Tue, November 13, 2012 10:00 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate Share (function(){var [...]

  5. carolinaprep says:

    Ya, I want the recipe for that turkey! It looks yummy!

  6. Timu says:

    Great tips. They look so delicious.
    http://cays.com

  7. jmh623 says:

    We are having a traditional sit down formal thanksgiving dinner for 50! This was my fathers favorite holiday and we honor his memory by trying keep it going. My brothers and sisters and our children have made this a tradition and challenge ourselves to pull this off each year.
    Fortunately my sisters house is laid out in a way that she can accommodate us. We each bring something and the challenge is getting it all seved hot and in a timely manner. No paper plates or plasticware allowed. We stage the food in chafing trays in a seperate room and bring serving platters to each table. A little hectic, but appreciated and loved by all.
    We have all the traditional dishes, turkey, ham, sweet pototoes, turnips, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes,plenty of hot gravy and homemade desserts. Now that most of our children are grown they each want to contribute. As the family grows, so does the menu. One year we had a fresh turkey, a deep fried wild turkey and a free range turkey.
    Everyone looks forward to this special holiday. :)

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Jessica YonkerJessica Yonker is a writer for HGTV.com and a professional glitter handler in training. She loves decorating her friends' homes without their permission and practicing for her inevitable appearance on...

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