Planning for Thanksgiving Dinner With Family - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. Hello, I wm Gloria Starr, international etiquette and manners coach. Thanksgiving is a very special and significant event. It does require extensive planning. I recommend that you invite your guests several months, to even a year ahead of time, so that they can make plans to attend. The event is a range meant for all ages, so you will want to plan ahead for the age groups that you have invited. So, obviously, different activities for children and teens and adults. So, you might suggest in your invitation, maybe a concert, or a theater event, or a walk through the gardens or a nature trail, and you want to let them know choices so that they can plan their clothing ahead of time. You can extend your invitation by phone, by email, or by written note, and perhaps all three of those, and keeping in mind after extending the invitation, you will want to follow up so that you have an accurate take on who is coming, when they are arriving, and build up to the excitement of your guests arriving.