Thanksgiving Checklist (2 Days Away)

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Since the next two days will be a whirlwind of cooking and greeting out-of-towners, take advantage of the calm before the storm to make sure you have absolutely everything you will need. Having all of your ingredients at the ready will make Thursday a breeze. If all of the cooking seems daunting, work on finishing your table. And remember: Thanksgiving is supposed to be fun.

• Supermarket Sweep: If there is one season that you really need a decent meat thermometer, it's now. If you don't have one, buy one. And if you have one, make sure it's in fine working condition. Then head to the supermarket today to pick up all of your produce — and your turkey! Everything will still be fresh by Thursday and you'll avoid the mad rush tomorrow and the day of.

• Quick Fix: Get the cranberry sauce out of the way today if you're planning on making your own. It won't take you more than an hour, and then it'll be sitting in your fridge ready to go at the last minute.

• Think Ahead: Double check that you have everything you'll need for a leftovers brunch on Friday: bread for turkey sandwiches, eggs for turkey and stuffing omelets, and paper plates to avoid another large cleanup job.

• Platters Matter: Decide what food will be going where and mark all your platters with note cards. Designating your serving platters ahead of time may not seem like a big time saver, but trust us, you'll be grateful you did when it comes time to plate all those seemingly endless dishes at the last second.

• Ready, Set, Go: Start setting your table today — doing it ahead will give you the time to create an impressive table. You won't want to pick up your flowers until tomorrow, but you can start setting out your napkins, place cards and fall table decorations.

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