Your "2 Weeks 'Til Thanksgiving, Don't Freak Out" Kit

November 09,2012
Erin Dower( )

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away -- how did that happen?!! This year, the holiday is on the earliest date it can possibly occur. Freaking out, like me? I bring you this Tasty + Thankful + Fun Thanksgiving Kit complete with amazing recipes for your turkey and sides, awesome activities to keep your kids in the Turkey Day spirit (and out of your busy kitchen on actual T. Day), and simple ways to bring the holiday back to what it's all about: Giving thanks with family and friends.

Let's start at the very beginning: Planning. You have probably already figured out if you're traveling or staying close to home for the holiday (hope this didn't lead to too much conflict with your spouse or in-laws!). Now, do you have a timeline for making much-needed space in your fridge, planning a seating chart if you're hosting a crowd, and more of the nitty gritty stuff? This guide to planning ahead can help.

TASTY  
Okay, now the yummy stuff: Recipes. Start out by brainstorming your menu. You can always stick with your family's classics, but think back to past years when you had tons of leftovers of a certain not-so-popular side dish. Maybe this year is the time to try something new -- like sweet potato and sage gratin, or sausage and apple stuffing, or rice pilaf with pancetta and cranberries. Branch out with these delicious side dish recipes. And don't forget the pies -- or the turkey (doesn't roast turkey with spiked gravy sound awesome?)! This printable Thanksgiving grocery list covers most of what you'll need for your feast. (And print off this grocery store game booklet for your kiddos to save some of your sanity.) 

THANKFUL
I know the scene. The holiday commercials have sucked your kids in. The Christmas catalogs have come and mesmerized your children. Their wish lists to Santa are getting long, and it's not even December. Time to call a time-out on Christmas and the December holidays and focus on the cool and meaningful holiday that's Thanksgiving. Talk with them about some Thanksgiving history. And pick one of these 10 simple ways to give thanks this Thanksgiving, whether it's through donations, volunteering, or making crafts like a thankful Thanksgiving tablecloth.

FUN
Got you covered on the fun stuff, too. As thrilling as it can be to go nuts at Home Goods or those other fun stores, buying a complete Thanksgiving-themed "tablescape," it can be even more fun (and frugal) to make some adorable Turkey Day crafts with your kids. Before too long, they'll be too old to want to make construction-paper turkeys (*tear*), so you can shop for store-bought decor then.

This printable Thanksgiving activity book is great for entertaining kids while you drive over the river and through the woods. And these 11 awesome activities for Thanksgiving Day will bring your family closer together with festive outdoor activities, like touch football and a mini pumpkin hunt, and cozy indoor activites, like curling up to watch the parade or having a board game tournament. Your kids will also get a kick out of Thanksgiving parade bingo.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!