It’s the star of the Thanksgiving meal and you want to make sure your turkey shines. From undercooking to overcooking, there are many common mistakes made when cooking a turkey that you’ll want to avoid. Preparation is key to a perfect bird.

First, decide how you want to cook it – roasting, deep frying, or something non-traditional. Next, find a great recipe. Then, make sure you have the right tools on hand to make it happen such as a good thermometer or baster. Click here for a complete list of tools. Don’t forget to start thawing your turkey in the refrigerator early, too. It takes about four days to thaw completely. Brining helps keep it moist and after it’s cooked, let it sit for about ten minutes for the juices to settle before carving.

If you’ve done your homework, when the big day comes, you’ll have a juicy and tender turkey you and your guests can be thankful for. To get some ideas on what to do with turkey leftovers, check out our new post. Struggling with food allergies or have a guest attending who is? Learn some new and innovative ways to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner despite food allergies here.

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The menu is planned and the food prepped, but the décor for the holiday has importance of its own. From a fall-themed tablecloth to a pumpkin-inspired centerpiece, how you set the table sets the atmosphere you’d like to convey in your home. Are you looking for elegance, cute and seasonal or DIY decor? This season makes expressing your creative side very easy with an abundance of natural and easy-to-find supplies, like leaves and branches.

What kind of dinnerware or drinkware will you use? Depending on how many guests you will be serving, make sure you have enough of everything. You may want an extra set of salt and pepper shakers, for example, or a second gravy boat for convenience. Do you want everything to match or is eclectic more your style? Also, consider your guest list - what do you think they would like the best? You can go all out for a younger audience and keep it traditional if your guests are older.

Decide how you should set the table for Thanksgiving dinner and find the supplies (and inspiration!) you need here at FortheChef.

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As if turkey, stuffing and all the Thanksgiving trimmings wasn’t good enough, then you have dessert to enjoy on top of it all. From pumpkin to sweet potato to pecan pies, there are so many delicious endings to a festive feast. Will you go with traditional pies, cocktails for an after-dinner drink or everybody’s favorite this time of the year, something pumpkin spice? If you are not a fan of pumpkin spice, try these fun and tasty alternatives.

Whatever you choose to put on your holiday menu, make sure you have everything you need. Do you have enough pie plates, cake pans and serving tools? Also, consider kitchen tools that offer convenience such as using a pie cutter that cuts eight pieces of pie at once. Baking cakes? Consider a 24-piece set of tips to help decorate your cakes beautifully and precisely. For some exciting Thanksgiving cake ideas, you can check out this Country Living post.

Whether you decide to bake a pie, cookies or make a 3-tier cake, ensure you’re serving up a dessert to remember and a perfect finish to a flawless Thanksgiving dinner.

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