Thanksgiving is next week. Yikes. Time to get organized so you are not running around like a chicken turkey with its head cut off. This to-do list is for those of you who are attempting to host Thanksgiving at your house.

If you are traveling to family or friends for the holiday, you can pretty much skip this list entirely. Grab a bottle of wine to bring for your hosts, hit the road to wherever you are going and enjoy the day. Otherwise, let's take charge of hosting Thanksgiving this year.

Thursday 11/21: Exactly seven days out. This is when you need to finalize how many people are coming over and approximately how much food you are going to need. Are you getting a turkey and a ham? Prime rib? Seafood? If you are going with a traditional turkey, the general rule of thumb is one pound per person. If you like a lot of leftover turkey, get a bigger bird.

Friday 11/22: Finalize your shopping list so you can hit the grocery store or Costco or wherever this weekend. I know... the stores are going to be nuts, which is why you make your list ahead of time and STICK TO IT. I've found it is easier to write out my list according to the food sections at the store, so I'm not backtracking all over the place.

Saturday 11/23: Unfortunately, today is the day that most of us will be hitting the stores for shopping. Suck it up, buttercup and get it over with. Remember: kindness is a virtue. Also, if you are the self-medicating type, today would be a good day to do so (responsibly, of course).

Sunday 11/24: If you bought a frozen turkey, today is the day you'll want to get it in the fridge to start thawing. They say it takes 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey to thaw in a 40-degree fridge. So you're looking at 3 - 5 days of thawing for most birds.

Monday 11/25: Today would be a good day to assess your beverage needs and hit the liquor store or wine section. Polite guests will likely bring a bottle of wine, but you never know. I figure at least two bottles of red and two bottles of white for a gathering of 12ish people. Bringing out the hard alcohol on Thanksgiving might not be the best idea, depending on who you celebrate with. Also, it's nice to have a couple of bottles of "kids wine" (sparkling cider), so they feel included.

Tuesday 11/26: Check on your turkey that has been slowly thawing in the fridge. If it's still hard as a rock, you're going to want to speed up the process. One recommended way is to place it in a sink full of cold water. Another thing to consider today is prepping side dishes that can be stored in the fridge and cooked or warmed up on Thursday. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, desserts and pies, and other side dishes can often be made in advance, saving you a ton of time, mess and stress on Thursday.

Wednesday 11/27: If you've never done a turkey brine before, I highly recommend it. It's basically soaking your turkey overnight in a salty solution with various herbs and spice. There are a ton of variations when it comes to brine solutions. You can easily make your own, or buy something like this one from World Market. If you are doing a brine, you've got to get your bird soaking in it 24 hrs before you cook it.

Thursday 11/28: You made it to the big day, congratulations. I usually get up early and start cracking beers and cooking. We always watch the Macy's Day Parade, followed by the dog show and football.

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