Thanksgiving Dinner Traditions

The Tradition

Most everyone has Thanksgiving Day traditions.  For over a decade our family tradition is for me to cook for our entire family.  Our home celebrates Thanksgiving Day with anywhere from 20 to 35 people and I do all of the cooking.

Why?  For starters I love it.  And the fact I’ve made planning and organizing for this holiday into an almost exact science helps too.  But it took many years before I finally got it right.

In fact, this morning I flipped through an old file folder housing a hodgepodge of plans, notes and recipes from Thanksgiving Days past, dating as far back as 1999.

My plans were always loosely the same: invitation lists and notes, kids activity ideas, menus, recipes, grocery shopping lists and suggestions scribbled on sticky notes for the following year.

Only a few years ago did I decide it was time to ditch the paper file folder and make it digital.



What I’ve Learned 

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from cooking Thanksgiving Dinner For A Large Group is that I needed to figure a way to enjoy the day and spend more time with my family and less time running around like a turkey with my head chopped off.

It took a few years for me to realize that I missed relaxing and having any meaningful conversation with relatives that I may only get to see once or twice a year.  I also realized that I really didn’t get to spend time with my kids on Thanksgiving Day because I never left the kitchen.  I read somewhere the average American consumes nearly 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day.  Personally, I was lucky to get in 500 calories over the course of the day because I was too busy to eat.  By the time I got dinner on the table, I sat down for perhaps 5 minutes before jumping up to get coffee on and desserts prepped.

I figured out it was time to put some of my organizing skills to practice: Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner For A Large Group: What I’ve Learned.


Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Toni’s 12-day guide breaks up the overwhelming job of preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner into small daily tasks, allowing busy moms to spend the holiday enjoying family and friends instead of slaving away at the stove.  With daily tips, recipes and videos, Toni will help make this holiday less stressful.  Sign up now for Toni’s weekly newsletters to receive “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving”.  Sign up here.

Toni12Days250 Tonis 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Plan. Organize. Enjoy.

Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving goes something like this: do one or two small tasks every day for 12 days before Thanksgiving.  The result- stress-free holiday with lots of time to do what matters most to you by spending time with friends and family.

And now I’m sharing my plan with you.  If you’re not signed up to receive our free weekly newsletter through our rss feed, sign up now and stay tuned to receive your daily plan beginning November 11th.  This year I’m including menus, recipes, printables, activity ideas, grocery shopping lists, giveaways, videos, coupons and decorating tips each day for 12 days.

Here’s what’s on the menu this year.

Sparkling-Spiced Cranberry Punch with Cranberry Ice Ring

Cranberry Punch
Sparkling Spiced Cranberry Punch with Cranberry Ice Ring


Glazed Cranberry Apple Rolls

Pear Walnut Gorgonzola Arugula Salad

Herb Roasted Turkey

Baked Cranberry Chestnut Stuffing

Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce recipe
Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Pan Turkey Gravy

Not-So-Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole recipe
Not-So-Sweet Potato Casserole


Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White-Wine Shallot Sauce (wine optional)

Thanksgiving Green Bean Recipe by Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook
Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White Wine Shallot Sauce

Sauteed Spinach with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

Join me this Thanksgiving and spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.  Happy Holidays!


Thanksgiving Dinner Cooking For A Large Group

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About Toni

Family meals are important. Iʼll show you easy ways to spend less time and money at the grocery store, less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.


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