Southwest Thanksgiving feast and countdown

On Thanksgiving day

-6 to 7 hours: Preheat the oven, Prepare the turkey and get it baking
-5 hours: Set the table, unless you did that yesterday
-4 1/2 hours: Read through your menu; prepare and refrigerate fresh produce
-4 hours: Get pitchers of ice water ready and in the fridge and make up other drinks or drink bases that you'll be serving
-3 1/2 hours: Get the rolls started or pull the refrigerator dough out to warm and raise
-2 1/2 hours: Prepare and refrigerate a relish tray if it's part of your family's tradition
-2 hours: Prepare the nopales and beet salad if you're serving it warm; make the calabacitas and set both at the back of the stove until time to serve
-1 1/2 hours: Form rolls and set in a warm place to rise. Prepare the arugala salad salad with mangos and avocados.
-1 1/4 hours: If you didn't make the mashed potatoes yesterday, put the potatoes on to boil or put your covered dish in the oven to reheat
-1 hour: Make the chipotli mashed sweet potatoes and cover until serving; Pull the turkey out of the oven and allow to rest
-50 minutes: Stave off the guests' hunger with the soup and salad starter.
-40 minutes: Mash the potatoes, cover and set at the back of the stove
-30 minutes: Remove any dishes you reheated from the oven. Cover with a towel until time to serve. Increase the oven temperature to 400 F and place the rolls in the oven.
-25 minutes: Make the gravy.
-15 minutes: Hunt down your "volunteer" turkey carver and have them get at it; fill water/wine glasses and place on the table
-10 minutes: Remove the rolls from the oven, place in a bread basket and cover; carry all dishes to the table.
-5 minutes: Scan the fridge; bring all forgotten items, like butter and cranberry sauce, to the table.

Dinner's On! Take a deep breath. Breath out. Now sit down, and enjoy. You were amazing!

We've hope you've found this timeline helpful. Wishing you and yours and amazing Thanksgiving!

Have any extra hints, tips or advice to successfully host a holiday dinner?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.