Gas up and head out to Grandma’s, roll up your sleeves to dish up gravy and pie, or plunk down in front of the tube with a drumstick. Follow our guide for a fun-stuffed holiday.

Article Tab: Jack Davies, 2, looks ready to go as he waits with his parents to check in for a flight to Houston at John Wayne Airport on Tuesday morning. He and his family are going to visit his grandmother for Thanksgiving.

Jack Davies, 2, looks ready to go as he waits with his parents to check in for a flight to Houston at John Wayne Airport on Tuesday morning. He and his family are going to visit his grandmother for Thanksgiving.
    • Haven't thawed your turkey yet by Wednesday morning? It's too late to defrost your turkey in the refrigerator. At this point you will need to use the cold-water method, or buy a fresh one.

There will be Steelers-Ravens on the small screen and an animated snowman on the big screen, volunteers helping others, a few million drivers testing their good will on the highways and, maybe, a frozen block of turkey soon to be the centerpiece of the biggest meal of the year. Relax. We’ve got everything you need to know. Have a happy Thanksgiving.


Orange County drivers planning to put in some holiday miles behind the wheel have this to be thankful for: Gas is running around 22 cents a gallon cheaper than last year. An average Orange County gallon of regular unleaded cost $3.56 heading into the holiday.

Nonetheless, the Automobile Club of Southern California expects Thanksgiving travel to be down this year, citing high unemployment, high taxes and high travel costs. It expects some 2.77 million Southern Californians to hit the road over the long weekend, and 331,000 to fly. Wednesday will be the busiest travel day. MICHAEL GOULDING


John Wayne Airport expects bigger-than-normal crowds during the long holiday weekend. Here are its tips to get through the airport:

Arrive 90 minutes to two hours before your scheduled departure time.

Know your carry-on limits: Passengers are allowed one small bag plus one personal item as long as they fit airline dimensions.

Be familiar with which items are prohibited under Transportation Security Administration rules.

Drivers picking up passengers at the airport are encouraged to use two-hour parking spaces, on the lower level of Parking Structures A1, B2 and C.

Call 949-252-5200 to check parking availability, or visit


The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of AAA travel agents:

1. San Diego

2. Las Vegas

3. San Francisco

4. Central Coast

5. Grand Canyon


Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide this year for the first time in more than a century, thanks to a quirk of the calendar. The dates of both holidays float on the Gregorian calendar, with Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday of November and Hanukkah timed to the lunar Hebrew calendar.

The two holidays met in 1888, when Thanksgiving coincided with the first day of Hanukkah, and in 1899, when it landed on the fourth day of Hanukkah, according to several online calculations. Thanksgiving was also on the first night of Hanukkah in 1918, and will be again in 2070.


TV sticks to tradition on turkey day, beginning with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, airing at 9 a.m. on KCBS/2 and KNBC/4. The National Dog Show takes over KNBC at noon (followed by a repeat of the parade at 2 p.m.). “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” makes its annual visit at 8 p.m. on ABC/7, while pop culture icons team up in the “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” at 9:30.

The glut of football kicks off at 10 a.m., with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions on KTTV/11, followed by the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys at 1:30 p.m. on KCBS and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens at 5:30 p.m. on KNBC.

Want marathons? Syfy will show nonstop James Bond films from 10:30 a.m. Thursday through 5 a.m. Friday, AMC alternates “The Godfather” and its sequel from 11:30 a.m. Thursday through 4:30 a.m. Friday, and KTLA/5 will run its “Twilight Zone” marathon from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Four new wide-release movies will be vying for holiday movie-goers’ dollars. Opening Tuesday evening are the Disney animated feature “Frozen,” the Christmas musical “Black Nativity,” the James Franco-Jason Statham action thriller “Homefront” and Spike Lee’s graphic novel-based “Oldboy.” Despite these new arrivals, the holiday week’s biggest box-office hit is likely to be “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” still going strong in its second week.


Haven’t thawed your turkey yet by Wednesday morning? It will be too late to defrost your turkey in the refrigerator. Instead, use the cold-water method: Thaw the frozen bird breast side down, in an unopened wrapper, with enough cold water to completely cover the turkey. Change water every 30 minutes to keep the turkey chilled. Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per pound. Do not defrost at room temperature. You should never thaw a turkey by letting it sit out at room temperature. If your turkey is still frozen Wednesday morning, you might consider buying a fresh turkey.


Here are some suggestions for wines that cost $20 or less to pair with the appetizer, main dish and dessert. For your appetizers, consider Byron 2011 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay ($16), Argyle 10 Brut sparkling wine ($20) or Six Grapes Graham’s Reserve Port ($13). For the main course, you might try Tablas Creek 2011 Patelin Rouge Proprietary Red ($17). And for a sweet dessert wine that works after the meal, go for Prager Wine & Port Works 2008 Sweet Claire Late Harvest Riesling ($20).


Most agencies have all the volunteers they need by the time November begins. But here are two places you can show up on Thanksgiving without signing up ahead of time:

Placentia Presbyterian Church: Volunteers are needed at 9 a.m. for food prep; 5:30 p.m. to serve and 6:30 p.m. to clean up. No children, please. 849 N. Bradford Ave. 714-528-1438.

Operation Warm Wishes: Organizer TyRon Jackson needs volunteers to help feed 500, including the homeless, troubled youth, seniors and anyone who does not want to face the holiday alone. Volunteers will set up, cook and serve. Parents are welcome to bring their kids. Wear casual clothes. Plastic gloves and all else will be provided. The program begins at 9 a.m., serving starts at noon and the last shift starts at 5 p.m. Show up at Peppertree Park, 230 W. 1st St., Tustin. Call 714-363-6621,