Pulling off a flawless Thanksgiving dinner is akin to a beautiful dance: Everything appears effortless and elegant on the surface, but behind the scenes there’s a lot of hard work, maybe some injuries and A LOT of advanced preparation. And the key to pulling off the biggest meal of the year (and actually enjoying it) is to start checking things off your to-do list now. From planning your menu to making your gravy and picking out your table décor, we’ve laid out all of these steps for you, including an hourly breakdown of the big day. Let us show you how to tackle this holiday like pro, one day at a time. —Julia Heffelfinger

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