Project Thanksgiving: Planning A Potluck | Giftie Etcetera: Project Thanksgiving: Planning A Potluck

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Project Thanksgiving: Planning A Potluck

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In Canada, Thanksgiving has already happened. In Europe, there is no Thanksgiving. (Correct, my European friends?) 

But here in America, Thanksgiving is in two weeks. That means it is past time to start planning.

Loyal Readers knows that I have a system for planning projects in my planner. They also know about my adoration of graph paper

I will use these two already established habits for planning Thanksgiving, or, in the future, any potluck. 

holiday menu, Thanksgiving menu, Thanksgiving plan on graph paper

Any potluck means that my European friends should keep reading. 

Or book a flight and join me for Thanksgiving dinner! (Note: My house is tiny. Please don't take that invitation too seriously. Unless you are a chef...or rich...or a skilled nanny.) (Have I mentioned that the kids are off of school all week?!?)

Here are the steps to planning a potluck:

1. Decide on the guest list. Write it down and keep track of RSVPs.

List of attendeees; who to invite to Thanksgiving dinner

Make sure you have seating for all the guests. Also, invite people who will offer to bring a dish or two! You can't possibly make everything yourself.

If you feel silly asking them to cook something, here's the trick to asking without shame. Repeat after me. "Please don't feel obligated to bring anything, but please let me know by the end of the week if you are bringing something, so I can plan the menu."

I promise that people will feel obligated, but won't blame you! It's the perfect compromise. If the people include sisters, brothers, or non-elderly parents, of course, you can just tell them what to bring. (A huge thank you to my sister Jen for "volunteering" to bring the roast. Now, to let her know that she is expected to bring the roast...;))

2. Create the menu. Keep track of who is bringing what

If you have last year's menu, that's a great start. (Note: keep this year's menu for next time!)

potluck list; who is bringing what to dinner

3. Make your shopping list

I jot the ingredients that I already have on hand on my menu (see above) and the items that I need to buy on my shopping list. I arrange my shopping list by store layout, which is why the meats in the picture are in a weird place. 

Don't forget to buy some storage containers for leftovers.

budget, thanksgiving, graph paper, planner

4. Make a deadline list of everything that can be done in advance of the day of the event

Don't forget things like asking about what others can bring, cleaning the house, and defrosting the turkey. You also can make some desserts in advance or prep food, like the potatoes, in advance. (Cut the potatoes into cubes and store fully covered in salty water in the fridge. They won't turn color and will be ready for boiling in the morning.) 

The numbers below (20, 19) refer to the date in November and the @turkey lets me know to put this in my plan once I buy the turkey and know how many pounds I need to defrost and when I need to start defrosting.

holiday planning, task list, to do list

Add these items to your planner's task or weekly section, too.

using weekly pages, weekly pages, dates, planner, planners

5. Start a Thanksgiving Day schedule

All I have filled in so far is lunch time, but I will go through my recipes and figure out the times for doing each task so that I just have to follow this list on Thanksgiving Day. 

While making the schedule, I'll pull out any non-chilled ingredients, pots and pans, and serving utensils and put everything together on the counter for each dish, in the order that I plan to start cooking each dish.

schedule for turkey day, schedule for thanksgiving in a planner

6. Make a notes page

You think you won't need one, but you will. 

You will need to know the necessary temperature on the meat thermometer for the turkey and the ham. You need to remember where the turkey pan is located. You need to know that Mom called on her way to the house and asked you to grab an extra crockpot for her rice dressing. 

(Stuffing? What is this stuffing that you speak up? Cajuns have dirty rice and they LIKE it, darn it.)

notes, notes pages, notebook pages

Here's what everything looks like coming together.

planning a project; project pages in a planner

tabs, post-it tabs

homemade tabs, homemade dividers

graph paper, menu, list, food list, menu plan

holiday party lists

holiday schedule on graph paper

notes in a planner

Oh, and let the kids make the decorations and place cards, lead grace or a reflection on thankfulness, put out silverware, and help clean the house. 

No need to do everything yourself and they will learn valuable life skills.

While you are making your shopping list, consider some of these interesting Thanksgiving items:

Thanksgiving Tablecloth, Napkins and Decorative Setting

10pcs Mini Rectangular Chalkboard Place Markers

Countertop Oven with Convection and Rotisserie

A Fun (But Adult-Oriented) Game to Play After Dessert

Swarovski Crystal Magnetic Wine Charms

Decorative Wine Bottle Holder

Manual Tapestry Table Runner, Pumpkin Garden

Thanksgiving Woodland Critters Place Card Holders - Set of 12

Give Thanks Burlap Placemats

33 ft 100 Leds Warm White LED Rope Decor Lights Copper Wire Lights 

3 X 1.5 Quart Triple Slow Cooker

Happy Turkey Day!


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Partied at: Happiness Is Homemade, Inspire Me Monday, Inspiration Monday, Motivation Monday, Manic Monday, What Are You Thankful For, Meetup Monday, What'd You Do This Weekend, Amaze Me Monday, Good Morning Mondays, Something to Talk About, Marvelous Monday, Monday Musings, What Are You Doing, Create Link Inspire, Make It Pretty Monday, You're Gonna Love It, Turn It Up Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, Tuesdays With a Twist, Tutorial Tuesday, Tuesday Talk, Homework, Creative Muster, Wow Us Wednesday, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Let's Be Friends, Wake Up Wednesday, Not Just Homemaking, Wonderful Wednesday, Link It To Me, Wednesday Showcase, Dream Create Inspire, Coffee and Conversation, A Little R and R, Way Back Wednesday, Happy Home Life, Friday Favorites, Home Matters, Friday Features, Pretty Pintastic , Fridays Five Features, Funtastic Friday, Momma Told Me


Songbird said...

I swear I thought at first you had written:

11:00am Final Warning

I heart graph paper too! Nice post.

MySummerTouch said...

Hi! Love your blog! Check it out every day actually! (I just like ff and fc p*rn).
I have noticed that your son is using fc one day binder. I want to buy one, but I am confused which size is it? Is it tge same size as your 365 compact fc binder or bigger? I hope you'll answer soon!

MySummerTouch said...

It is Fc day one!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Yep, it's the same as Day One. Same size as mine, too. I bought it on clearance for about $10 to steal the insides, and just printed him pages from Philofaxy (linked to the bottom right on my blog).

FC Compact! :)

Rose @ Walnut Acre said...

I love planning with graph paper!

Lexie Robinson said...

I'm so ex cited for Thanksgiving. It is one my favorite holidays! Thanks for shillings!

I found you at

MidMichigan Mom said...

What wonderful tips! I especially like your tip on asking guests to bring something in a not so obvious way. You are my Feature pick for Turn It Up Tuesday! Thank you for sharing =)

Meredith @ MommyAtoZ said...

These are such great tips! I love how organized you's inspiring! Thanks for sharing at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

This post is awesome, and hilarious! Not hosting this year, but enjoyed reading it! :)

She Yarns Crochet said...

Great tips for planning Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday.