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Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet: Our Best Prep Tips and Hosting Tricks to See You Through the Holiday

If you have decided to host Thanksgiving, don't panic: This Thanksgiving guide will keep you organized and on track.

Macy Meyer Editor I
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
Expertise Macy covers a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, smart home tech, fitness, nutrition, travel, lifestyle and more. Credentials
  • Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom. Right now, he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or researching the best way to make bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
Expertise Kitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits.
Macy Meyer
David Watsky
4 min read
Dining table filled with thanksgiving food

Thanksgiving dinner can be a stressor. 

Tetra Images/Getty Images

Life comes at you fast -- on Thanksgiving, even faster. The lead-up to the big feast can pick up a furious pace. If you're hosting, there's no shortage of stuff to do, buy, prepare and plan for. If you've only just started to plan for tomorrow's events and festivities, it is time you get moving. Tackling it piece by piece is typically recommended, and having some efficiency hacks up your sleeve will save you precious time, money, energy and stress.

Read more: Don't Make These Common Thanksgiving Mistakes

To help ensure a seamless experience, we've devised a Thanksgiving cheat sheet teeming with our best shopping, planning, prep and cleaning tips. Because you can't 'pour from an empty cup,' we've included simple ways to prioritize your general health and wellness during the holidays, and maybe even nab a few excellent Black Friday deals while you're at it.

Below you'll find the ultimate Thanksgiving cheat sheet. Think of this as your holiday helper, and our little secret.

How to make cooking Thanksgiving dinner stress-free?

Thanksgiving is a meal with a host of dishes that guests come to expect. Cut down on meal prep and legwork with a Thanksgiving meal kit filled with all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. Or save yourself a few trips to the store by buying your turkey and other provisions online.

How to make Thanksgiving dinner more delicious

This next series of tips is full of easy ways to defrost and cook a big bird for Thanksgiving. We've even dropped in some suggestions for those looking to cook something other than turkey this November.

Close-Up Of Shopping Cart In Supermarket

No need to blow your monthly budget on Thanksgiving groceries. 

Jenwit Ritbundit/EyeEm/Getty Images

I'm hosting Thanksgiving. What are the best ways to clean for guests?

Being a host isn't easy. A ton of work goes into cleaning and prepping for guests. While cleaning your house could take a full day (or longer) we have some trusty tips that can make the cleaning process much more efficient. 

Cleaning tips for the home:

Girl preparing to spring clean kitchen

A ton of work goes into cleaning and prepping for guests. But here's some easy tips to help you. 

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Cleaning tips for appliances and kitchenware:

How can I prioritize my health and wellness during Thanksgiving?

Holidays only come around once a year, so it's understandable to want to splurge on all that decadent food and drink. That said, Thanksgiving can also be an anxiety-inducing time for those on a journey to improve their health and nutrition.

The important thing is that you don't need to deprive or restrict yourself. Instead, you can practice some of these wellness tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend, guilt-free.  

Sportsman running against metal wall

It can be hard to prioritize your health during the holidays, but there's always time to take for you. 

The Good Brigade/Getty Images

Where can I find early Black Friday deals and holiday gift ideas?

In the fray of prepping for the holiday season, it can be easy to let things slip, but gift-buying is one thing you won't regret planning for ahead of time. Pre-planning your online Black Friday shopping can reduce the stress of gift-buying, and we're here to help. Whether you're buying for a parent, sibling, significant other or friend, our CNET experts have a roundup of the best deals and gifts available for Black Friday and beyond. 

To never miss a deal, checkout CNET's complete roundup of early Black Friday deals. And for all the best gift recommendations, explore CNET's ultimate gift guide to start slashing through your list.