Thanksgiving is Coming! Is your Planner Ready?!

By Patty Gardner

Thanksgiving is coming, and it’s going to be at my house again (like it has been for the last 20 years or more).  I’ve hosted so many times that I can almost plan the menu and prepare the food with my eyes closed.  But I don’t.  And even though I know what I’m doing, I still use my trusty planner to figure out what to do and when to do it.

The first thing I do is pull out last year’s planner and read about how last year’s Thanksgiving went.  Then I get out my calendar and highlight Thanksgiving on my monthly calendar so I can see at a glance how much time I have before the big day arrives. Since I have ADHD, I don’t always have a realistic view of how much time has passed or how much time is still remaining.  That’s why it’s important for me to have a visual reminder of exactly when the holiday is – more than just a box on the calendar – a HIGHLIGHTED box.

FC - Thanksgiving 3Then I go to the Thanksgiving page in my planner and insert a blank piece of paper.  On that paper, I write down who I think will be coming so I can get a count.  I also decide what time we’ll eat and write down a tentative menu.  We like to have most of the same foods year after year but we tried to include a few new things each holiday.  Anyway, on that blank piece of paper I jot down any thoughts I have about the menu, the guest list or anything else about the holiday.  I start doing this in October at the latest.

As November gets closer, I start finalizing the recipes and assigning foods to other family members (I let them tell me what they want to bring and then make it fit the menu).  I write on the Thanksgiving planning page who’s bringing what.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving I start writing down all the extra things we’ll need like plates, silverware, napkins, salt & pepper, butter, coffee (I always forget coffee), ice, etc.  It sounds silly to write all that stuff down but I want to make things as easy and mindless as possible on Thanksgiving.  I don’t want to forget anything and I don’t want to be stressed.

At the beginning of the week of Thanksgiving I write out a plan.  My plan includes what I’m cooking and when.  I get pretty detailed about what needs to be done when.  And I post that plan so it’s visible to everyone.  Then if they want to help, they have a better idea of what to do and I know what to tell them.

FC - Thanksgiving 2

And then . . . when it’s all over, I write details on my notes page about how it went and what I might want to do different or the same next year.  And before the lights go out on Thanksgiving, I move on to Christmas . . . no wait, I already started planning for Christmas.  But that’s an article for another day!!!




2 Replies to “Thanksgiving is Coming! Is your Planner Ready?!”

  1. Great to see our fam is among those who need to blueprint year-end events. The Franklin ‘Occasion’ Forms pack also saves time and keeps it all in synch. Thx for these guru articles!

  2. As another person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) I’d like to congratulate Ms. Gardner on finding a way to bring order to the chaos that is a family Thanksgiving. Keeping extensive notes, menu lists, and other information from previous years to use for the current holiday is an excellent idea.
    I would really like to see more articles on ways that persons with ADHD have been able to use the Franklin-Covey system to avoid the organizational challenges of ADHD, and ultimately turn what is often viewed as a disability into an advantage.

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