When life is busy, and you realize at the last minute that you haven’t even prepared for Thanksgiving, I’ve got you covered! Here are some of my top last-minute Thanksgiving ideas to help you have a terrific holiday celebration.
And, no one will even know you prepared last-minute!
I don’t know about you all, but I am SO not ready for Thanksgiving Day! Life has been busy battling a massive plumbing disaster plus replacing two kitchen appliances on top of our normal day-to-day construction. At this rate, I’m just happy we have a working kitchen and bathroom! 😂
Seriously, if I didn’t laugh, I might cry.
If you find yourself struggling with a situation that’s anything remotely similar, I have some ideas you won’t want to miss today. Whether Thanksgiving is a couple of days away or tomorrow, it’s not too late to add some festive decor to your house and come up with a show-stopping menu.
Here are some of my favorite last-minute Thanksgiving ideas that I’ve collected from the blogosphere for an easy, low-stress holiday that you’ll love.
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
Many families make a Thanksgiving feast that’s filled with an abundance of dishes, including things like:
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Turkey with Turkey Gravy
- Green Beans
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
Now, if you’re working with a last-minute Thanksgiving menu, you don’t need to include all (or any) of those items. The beautiful thing about this holiday is that you can fill your Thanksgiving table with anything you want!
Here are some great ideas for a Thanksgiving meal in a pinch:
Arrange A Charcuterie Board
Skip the puff pastry recipes, Instant Pot recipes, and anything complicated. When you’re putting together a Thanksgiving menu at the last minute, stick with simple and easy.
When appetizers come to mind, there’s nothing easier than creating a charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, and fruit for guests to snack on while they wait for the main Thanksgiving meal.
Whip Up A Batch Of Cranberry Salsa
And of course, if you need a last-minute side dish or appetizer that will seriously make you the talk of the town, try our cranberry salsa recipe. It’s a breeze to make and could even replace cranberry sauce in your Thanksgiving dinner.
Go For An Easy Main Dish
Skip the Beef Wellington and the turkey legs if the busy holiday season has you running in too many directions.
And if you don’t have time to make a whole turkey with all the trimmings, you don’t need to! Simply pick up a roasted turkey breast which will cook faster but tastes just as good.
Pair it with some wild rice for a simple combination that wins every time.
Dress Up The Mac n’ Cheese
You can treat side dishes the same way as the meat dish. Instead of sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, serve macaroni and cheese.
But there’s the time-saving secret. Make several boxes of your favorite boxed version. Then once it’s cooked, add it to a baking dish, top it with a sprinkle of cheese, and broil for a few minutes.
No one will know it isn’t from scratch!
Roast Some Quick Veggies
This roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything makes a great quick side dish.
If you’re not a fan of Brussels sprouts, make fresh green beans or a fresh salad such as a kale salad.
Make A Simple Stuffing
If you want to include stuffing, check out this easy cornbread stuffing recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch. It’s a snap to bring together and tastes insanely good.
Throw Together A Fruit Salad
Another nice fresh touch to the menu could be a delicious fruit salad. They are so easy to make with whatever fruits you enjoy.
Add a “dressing” that also keeps it fresh and looking bright!
Skip The Pie This Year
Made with all the flavors of apple pie, including brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon, this delicious Dutch Apple Crisp Bars recipe from Made In A Pinch is just as good but much quicker.
It tastes so delicious, you won’t even miss the “real thing!”
Lastly, don’t forget about a few dinner rolls from the grocery store! Bread always completes a meal for me.
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Decor Ideas
If it’s the day before Thanksgiving, don’t even stress yourself out trying to decorate. Here are a few VERY simple ideas that will add just the right festive touch – without eating up all your time.
These napkin rings from The Country Chic Cottage come together very quickly and are easy enough for older kids to help make!
Eat Drink & Be Thankful Printable
This printable from Happiness Is Homemade will add a festive touch to your decor AND remind your guests to adopt an attitude of gratitude! To display it, you can add it to frames, glue it on colored construction paper, or simply put it on a cute clipboard!
DIY Place Cards
Grab these printable leaf place cards from Frugal Family Home to quickly make lovely seasonal place cards in hardly no time at all.
Thanksgiving Activities & Games
If you have kiddos coming over, take just a little time to prepare a couple of activities to keep them busy while they’re waiting on food.
Gather the supplies together to make this Handprint Turkey Craft from Simple Everyday Mom. It’s colorful, adorable, and will keep kids occupied for a while.
Have the kids make their own turkey puppets like this project from Crafty Morning. They encourage creativity and gratitude!
FAQ’s About Planning For Thanksgiving
I love to do as much as I can ahead of time to make it possible for me to enjoy spending time with friends and family on the big day.
You can definitely make things such as cranberry sauce, casseroles, salad, fruit salad, and desserts ahead of time.
Along with potatoes, Brussels sprouts are very popular sides for the Thanksgiving feast. Cranberry sauce and macaroni and cheese are also commonly served on the menu.
My best tip for making Thanksgiving less stressful is to plan ahead. The more you can prep and make ahead of time, the less you have to do on the big day.
My other big tip is to simplify your commitments for Thanksgiving. Don’t try to do everything. Lighten up the decorations or make the feast a potluck so that everyone contributes food.
Happiest of Thanksgivings to you all my friends! I am truly grateful for each one of you. Thank you for your likes, comments, ideas – and for reading. I hope your time with friends and family this year is super blessed. 😘
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