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10 Tips for Thanksgiving Newbies

Get a Head Start
Plan ahead and start early.
Plan ahead and start early.
Carlos Spottorno/Taxi/Getty Images

There are only 24 hours in a day -- even Thanksgiving Day -- so plan on doing some chores in advance. Clean, prepare a table or buffet layout, and make some dishes in advance that you can freeze and defrost for the big day. Sit down and make lists and timetables, too.

You'll want to buy the turkey far enough in advance to allow plenty of time for it to defrost. A 14-pound turkey will take three days to defrost in the fridge. You can cut that to around 30 minutes per pound if you thaw it in cold water instead. However you're planning to do it, have a strategy.

You'll also want to get your order in for dessert if you're having a local bakery do the honors this year (which is a good idea). The more you do a day or two in advance, the less will be on your mind on Thanksgiving. Don't make the mistake of thinking you'll just get up early. Chances are, you could start at midnight and still be rushed by the time your hungry guests are circling the table.