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The Thanksgiving Challenge: Organize your Thanksgiving meal, decorations, and gratitude activities so you can enjoy a peaceful holiday.I love Thanksgiving, don’t you? What I don’t love is not being able to find my tablecloth and napkins and trying to thaw an overpriced turkey in record time. This week we’ll get organized for Thanksgiving so we can have a relaxed holiday.

#1 Discuss last year

What did your family love about last year’s holiday? What was a disappointment? You may be surprised by your children’s answers to these questions. You may also want to ask if your celebration made them more aware of God’s goodness as we want gratitude to be a prominent feature of the day.

#2 Plan the meal

Plan time-savers. Several years ago, I determined that I really didn’t like getting up super early to bake a turkey. So I made it the day before and it made Thanksgiving a joy. My husband slices the turkey (we make two when we host extended family) and we store it in turkey broth to keep it moist for the next day. Look for ways to make the day of Thanksgiving less stressful if you’re cooking.

Plan the meal itself. If your family does Thanksgiving pot-luck style, now is a great time to decide who will bring what. I like to make more than I think I’ll need because we absolutely love Thanksgiving leftovers. If you don’t have your holiday recipes organized, now is also a good time to find them. Fortunately, I’ve posted my mom’s stuffing recipe on the blog, so it’s easy to find!

Plan the decor and table settings. If you are hosting Thanksgiving and you already have the decorations and tableware you need, just make sure you know where they are! If not, look at some of the great ideas I’ve pinned on Pinterest. We have a large enough group, that I use paper for Thanksgiving and I found some fabulous paper goods at Hobby Lobby. I have also purchased my Thanksgiving decorations there for 50% off.

Thanksgiving co-op

#3 Research gratitude ideas

This is the perfect time to plan a Thanksgiving unit study. Blessed Beyond a Doubt has put together a list of unit studies that you should definitely check out. Our homeschool co-op reenacted the first Thanksgiving one year, complete with a feast with our friends. If you’ve never done this, I highly recommend it!

If you’re not ready to go all out with a unit study, decide on a special way of helping your children focus on gratitude this month. Read this post on how to teach your children gratitude and I’ll be sharing another post on the subject this week. I’ve pinned some other creative ideas for teaching gratitude as well.

#4 Shop

It isn’t too early to buy non-perishable items for your Thanksgiving meal. Whenever you buy, plan to hit the sales. If you need linens, paper goods, or materials for your Thanksgiving unit studies, buy them now. You’ll be very thankful you did!

What’s your favorite time-saver for Thanksgiving?

Here is the October 2014 Organized Homeschool Calendar and a list of previous week’s challenges:October 2014 Organized Homeschool Calendar

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 14: The Chore Challenge

Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge

Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge

Week 17: The Friendship Challenge

Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge

Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge

Week 20: The Organized Vacation Challenge

Week 21: The Organized Summer Challenge

Week 22: The Outdoor Activity Challenge

Week 23: The Used Curriculum Challenge

Week 24: The Homeschool Space Challenge

Week 25: The Goal Setting Challenge

Week 26: The Homeschool Planning Challenge

Week 27: The Bible Time Challenge

Week 28: The Special Study Prep Challenge

Week 29: The Extra-Curricular Challenge

Week 30: The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge

Week 31: The Elective Curriculum Challenge

Week 32: The Back to School Challenge

Week 33: The Fall Bucket List Challenge

Week 34: The Organized Bedroom Challenge

Week 35: The Clean Out the Pantry Challenge

Week 36: The Meal Planning Challenge

Week 37: The Grocery Shopping Challenge

Week 38: The Organized Kitchen Challenge

Week 39: The Freezer Cooking Challenge

Week 40: The Hospitality Challenge

Week 41: The Blog or Business Challenge

Week 42: The Hobby Challenge

Week 43: The Charity Challenge