Thanksgiving Fails & How to Avoid Them

Thanksgiving turkey

There's no such thing as the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. And I'm okay with that. However, it doesn't stop me from trying to get everything right on Turkey Day.

Not a Thanksgiving goes by that I don't forget something. Some years it's a minor oops like, Oops! I forgot to buy napkins so we'll have to use Bounty paper towels instead. Other years have seen major oops like, Oops! It's time to put the turkey in the oven and it's still frozen solid.

I have made all of the following Thanksgiving mistakes so you don’t have to. I’ll tell you how to avoid some of my worst Thanksgiving fails.

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Thanksgiving Fail #1: I didn't know turkeys came preloaded with a mesh bag of organs. Yeah, those are called giblets. I cooked my very first turkey with the giblets inside. Apparently you are supposed to take them out and do other stuff with them ??? Gross.

How you can avoid this:

Knowledge is power. Turkeys come with giblets - that’s their gizzard, heart, liver and neck. Whether you plan to use the giblets or not, you are supposed to remove them from the turkey before cooking. Check your turkey for giblets. Be brave. Reach in and grab them.

Thanksgiving Fail #2:

It's time to cook the turkey, but it's still frozen because I forgot to take it out of the freezer.

How you can avoid this:

Write a note, set an alarm, do whatever you need to do to remind yourself to get the turkey out of the freezer well ahead of the Big Day. Most frozen turkeys need to thaw 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Thanksgiving Fail #3:

I made a 20 lb turkey, dressing, plus 4 other sides, rolls and 2 pies. The guests at our Thanksgiving dinner included me, my husband, and our 2-year-old son. Talk about having waaaaaay too much food.

How you can avoid this:

Do a little bit of Thanksgiving meal planning. Consider how many people will be feasting on your Thanksgiving dinner and cook accordingly. It's okay to make enough for leftovers, just don't make enough food to get you through to the next year’s Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Fail #4:

It’s time to deep fry the turkey. Where’s that heating element thingy we’re supposed to light up?

(Yes, this really happened to us last year. I still feel bad we couldn’t deep fry the turkey and we had to run out to the grocery store and buy a ham for Thanksgiving dinner. Luckily our family finds stuff like this humorous.)

How you can avoid this:

If you're in charge of deep-frying the turkey at a location hours from your home, be sure to bring all the equipment you need to do it. Otherwise, there will be no turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Fail #5

Where's your Uncle Jim and Aunt Kathy? (Names changed to protect the innocent.) I thought you said YOU would invite them. I didn't invite them either. Great. They probably hate us now.

How you can avoid this:

Make a list of everyone you need to contact and invite to Thanksgiving dinner. Mail a formal invitation if you can.

Thanksgiving Fail #6:

I just looked around and realized that I am the only person left cleaning up the kitchen. Everyone else is watching football and having fun. This is so unfair.

How you can avoid this:

Delegate clean up tasks. Make chores as easy and convenient as possible for everyone when you provide the best cleaning products for the job. 

Although the turkey is a key part of our Thanksgiving holiday, there’s another arguably even more important part of our Thanksgiving festivities: NFL Thanksgiving Day Football. We can make do without a turkey (as we successfully demonstrated last year), But there’s no way we can make do without our Thanksgiving football games!

Share your Thanksgiving fails and tips for how to avoid them with us in the comments below. Which NFL teams will you be cheering for this Thanksgiving holiday?


Mom Always Finds Out is for moms who like to be in the know about the latest family-friendly trends. From kid-friendly recipes and easy DIY/crafts to beauty advice for mom and household tips, Nicole fills you in on what she's been trying with her own family at home.

Image ©iStock.com/ilamartru

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