Skip to Content

Helpful Tips & Ideas as You Prep for a Great Family Thanksgiving!

Did you know that there are over 12,000 searches a year for “Is McDonald’s open on Thanksgiving”? I’m not sure who is going to McDonald’s on Thanksgiving, but I hope it’s not you. I hope you have family to spend the day with, sharing great conversation, eating delicious food, and maybe watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a little bit of football.

I know many people still have to work on Thanksgiving (my sister-in-law always has to) and if that’s you, I hope you are still able to have a good day. Hopefully, you have some great coworkers and someone will have a Thanksgiving meal waiting for you after work!

Today I’m rounding up a list of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, products, and ideas to help you as you plan for your own Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Recipes

Are you cooking for Thanksgiving? This year I think we are going to both sets of families for a meal (lunch then dinner) so I will be bringing a side dish but not making the main meats.


If you’ll be fixing turkey, I highly recommend this easy homemade turkey injection recipe. It makes moist, flavorful turkey with just a few simple ingredients.

Make sure you plan for your leftover turkey and go ahead and get the ingredients you’ll need. I find that I don’t want to do a whole lot of cooking the following day. If you’re like me, I recommend this Crock Pot Turkey Soup recipe. It’s easy to fix in your slow cooker while you shop or decorate for Christmas. Another great leftover turkey recipe we like is this Turkey and Dumplings recipe.

Side Dishes

Some other recipes we love to fix for Thanksgiving include this Challah Bread Recipe, these Skillet Green Beans, Simply Spiced Apple Butter, and these Instant Pot Balsamic Vinegar Sweet Potatoes. Those are all recipes from my site. My sister-in-law always fixes this macaroni and cheese and it’s delightful! Don’t forget the Green Bean Casserole and Deviled Eggs too!


For dessert, we like this No-Bake 5-Minute Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe. A few other great dessert recipes we love:


Don’t forget the drinks! We often grab some sparkling cider for drinks and my kids love apple cider too.

Snacks and Appetizers

Here’s the thing, I’ve learned that often dinner is not ready to go on the table when we expect it to. Plus, even if it is, all of those yummy smells make my mouth start watering long before the food is ready! We try to prep ahead of time to have a few snacks ready that we can munch on while waiting for the main event.

This year I plan to chop up apple slices and serve them with caramel dip and take those with us to each Thanksgiving meal. If you’re looking for some other ideas, other things we have done in the past include bowls of nuts, a cheese ball and crackers, or fruit salsa with cinnamon chips.

Cooking and Baking Supplies

There are a few things I don’t scrimp on when it comes to my Thanksgiving meal. Anyone who knows me knows that Kerrygold butter is the gold standard for me. (And no, they have not paid me to say this, it’s just THAT good.) I stock up when it goes on sale (like majorly stock up, we are talking fill my deep freezer with it). So for Thanksgiving, there is always plenty of Kerrygold to go around.

When it comes to cooking your meat I’ve got two recommendations. If you’re fixing a turkey, the Viking roasting pan with rack is unmatched. A few years ago I purchased a non-stick lined pan and the lining was coming off after the second time I used it. Ugh – not good! Now I have a Viking and will never go back to anything else. It’s worth investing in a good pan that will last you through the next generation!

If you’re fixing a ham too (we often have both so there is plenty of meat) my mother-in-law has one of these countertop oven roasters that is just perfect for warming a ham. As a bonus, it also keeps the oven-free for your turkey and/or side dishes.

Thanksgiving Entertainment

I’m planning to have a few Thanksgiving activities lined up for my kids, like this Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt. I’m also going to look for a few Thanksgiving coloring sheets and Thanksgiving books to read with my kids.

What to Watch

For our family, we love to watch football on Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition and since my favorite team happens to be the Cowboys (Gideon’s favorite team too) and they play every Thanksgiving, we always watch.

We also enjoy watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with our kids and I think sometime during the Thanksgiving week I will try to watch Squanto with my kids too. Of course, lots of family’s love to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade too. That’s not a tradition for us but sometimes we catch portions of it.

Orin and I have a tradition of watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles together before bed the night of Thanksgiving. (Note, there is one scene where there are quite a few F-words thrown out, so I don’t recommend this movie for children and if you’re opposed to movies with language like that, you’ll want to skip it too.)

Thanksgiving Travel

Thankfully both locations where we will be eating on Thanksgiving are within a 20 minute drive of our house. If you’ll be traveling this Thanksgiving with kids, check out these helpful tips for traveling with toddlers and this list of screen-free travel must-haves for kids.

What kinds of things does your family do to celebrate Thanksgiving?

Maria Egan

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, so appreciate these helpful ideas. The turkey injection is something that I may try.