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The Thanksgiving Checklist + Printable

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Thanksgiving Checklist + Printable Gratitude Journal

A fun look at my thanksgiving checklist with a free printable gratitude journal.

As you may know, I love checklists – so here are my Thanksgiving lists. I’ve also included a free printable gratitude journal with inspirational quotes at the end. You can use these for just thinking great thoughts or you can use them for copywork.

Funny thing about checklists for holidays

I make great checklists because of my deep love of checking the little box. But holidays are relentlessly punctual. And my gorgeous, well-planned checklists are often, ultimately scratched out as I abandon the dream and hurriedly scramble to just get the toilets cleaned in time for guests.

Nevertheless, as a complete optimist, I will make a new list every time. Hope runs amuck again!


Did you notice that I’m making my “November” checklist two weeks into the month? Yes, that’s right – I’m gleefully starting two weeks late on my Thanksgiving prep.

Remember, as long as you start right now—that’s better than not starting!


  • Categorize what you want to do.
  • Get your family to help.
  • If you homeschool, use handicraft time to do a lot of prep work. Think kitchen “make-aheads” and decoration/household seasonal crafting.
  • Abandon perfectionism at the last minute so you can clean the toilets.

Here’s my ambitious list for Thanksgiving

Food Handicraft make-aheads

  • Cranberry Habanero Pepper Jelly--update! Done! This is SO yummy!
  • Mince Pie Filling – needs 2 weeks to mix the flavors canceled. Apparently, no one likes my mock-mince pie. The things you find out at Thanksgiving.
  • Pie Crusts (freeze)--update! Done!
  • Soaking & drying nuts--update! Started!
  • Pies to freeze?Didn’t make anything early enough to freeze
  • Cookie dough to freeze?–Ditto
  • Biscuits to freeze?Ditto
  • Muffins to freeze?-I actually did make muffins ahead of time and we ate them all.
  • Ferments – cranberry sauce —did it, but it won’t be ready until the weekend
  • Ferments – 2nd fermentation cranberry flavored water kefir or kombuchaWhat was I thinking?
  • Keep up the sourdoughWho am I kidding? I killed the sourdough by neglect. Alas poor Urick.
  • Make Mom’s Famous Cheese Stuffing —note: this does not go in the bird — it goes in celery.

Calculating How Many Pie Crusts You Need

How many people are you expecting? That tells you how many pies you will need.

I have a simple formula for how many pies:

Number of people = Number of Pies

Pie calculator

There is a caveat: If you have less than 3 people, you need 3 pies: Pumpkin, Apple and Mince.


Now, get the kiddos out for a math lesson: How many pie crusts do you need to make ahead and freeze?

Sort your desired pies list into: crustless (like cobblers or flans), single crusts (like pumpkin or pecan), and double crusts (like apple and mince – include the lattice-crusted tops as a double crust).

Now, in your head:

# crusts needed = # single crusts x [2 x # double crusts]

Pie Calculator

There you have my secret calculations for the number of pie crusts needed. Use a butter crust. It’s better. Also, freeze in wax paper or saran wrap as DISC shapes, not balls. It’s easier to roll out when they thaw.

Home & Hearth Crafting

  • Scented Pine Cones for the centerpiece
  • Basket of Nuts
  • Gourds
  • Place names for table
  • Thanksgiving Gratitude Jar
  • Fill up the Morning Basket of Books (see below)
  • The Gratitude wall
  • Keep up the normal cleaning schedule
  • Papercraft thanksgiving cards
  • Send out thanksgiving cards

Library tasks

Reserve all books/DVDs that we don’t have and fill up the Morning Basket:

  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD*
  • Squanto’s Journey*
  • Cranberry Thanksgiving
  • Huggly’s Thanksgiving Parade*
  • Pilgrims of Plymouth*
  • Turkey Riddles*
  • The First Thanksgiving*
  • America’s Parade*
  • Why Thanksgiving
    * We own these. A note on the Turkey Riddles. Incredibly punny – I pull it out every year and ask everyone the riddles. Lots of groans. I wouldn’t call it twaddle, but it’s not exactly literature! Some of our family books fall into this category – like the Huggly title. The book becomes living to us because of circumstances. America’s Parade is in our Family Library because I grew up with the Parade and it has become a family tradition.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking through, SelfEducatingFamily will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.


Every year, I pull out our Thanksgiving Jar which is a gratitude countdown to Thanksgiving.

Only, we had a problem with our jar when I made it back the boys were little. It had printables which I laminated and put in the jar to pull out one per day. They were adorable and said things like, “I am thankful for the Seasons! Go on a nature walk today.” Sometimes they had fun things to do, and other times they were extra things to do for other people.

Needless to say, my boys instantly took them all out, and read them to find the “good” ones – the ones that said things like “I am thankful for our kitchen! Bake something fun together in the kitchen!” or “I am thankful for my Eyes! Watch a special movie with your family.” And they avoided anything that said things like “Give some of your toys away.”

Aren’t children wonderful?

So I kept that jar. And I bring it out every year. It’s kind of a family tradition in a strange way. It makes us laugh now.

Thankful Jar

Here are other resources for how to make your own thankfulness or gratitude jar. These are more along the lines of having the kiddos write down their gratitude and stick it in the jar. Then you take them all out on Thanksgiving and read them together.

Gratitude Journal

Here’s a free printable gratitude journal for you. I added some quotes on the last page to inspire you. You can also use them for copywork.

cover image watercolor gratitude journal
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Here’s a quote from the last page that you can pin!

quote from Emerson on gratitude
Pin it!

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