If you will have guests through the weekend, think about what you may want to serve them at other meals. Make chili, spaghetti sauce and meatballs now and freeze them until needed. Thawed coffeecake makes an easy breakfast.
Polish the silver. Iron the tablecloths and napkins so they just need a light touch-up later.
Restock your bar. Make sure you have wine, liquor and mixers.
A week before:
Buy your turkey. Leave plenty of time to defrost the bird. A frozen bird needs 24 hours in a refrigerator for every 5 pounds.
Buy other items on your shopping list.
Make pie crusts, cookie dough and bread doughs and freeze them.
Make turkey stock, using turkey wings purchased separately from your bird. Homemade stock does wonders for gravy and stuffing.
Do a dry run of your table setting to make sure you have everything. Figure out where you are going to put the food. Do you need to create a sideboard?
Consider using a dried-flower arrangement as the centerpiece.
A few days before:
Start defrosting your turkey.
Bake pies and store them in the refrigerator. Reheat just before serving if necessary.
Wash salad greens.
Make cranberry sauce.
Mash potatoes and prepare sweet potatoes a day ahead and reheat them in the oven while the turkey is resting.
On Thanksgiving Day:
Relax. Have fun cooking. Take people up on their offers to help in the kitchen.