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How to host a friendsgiving

Are you interested in shaking up your Thanksgiving celebration this year? Chances are you have a good number of friends who are in the same boat. This year consider celebrating Friendsgiving on or before Thanksgiving! Get started with these Friendsgiving ideas that will make it easy for you to create the ideal dining experience for your family of friends.

Prepare Your Guest List

One of the first steps to preparing an awesome Friendsgiving is to prepare your guest list. You will need to figure out how many people you are extending an invitation to. Once you get a head-count, you can start preparing your grocery list. You will want to take into account how many people will be attending your dinner and then prepare how much food you need to buy. We have included a graphic below to make it a little easier!

Make It a Potluck

Making your Friendsgiving a potluck style dinner, it will make your life a lot easier in the kitchen and your party fun! In your invites, tell everybody to bring one already prepared dish and one drink. Traditionally, the host will be responsible for cooking the Turkey so there is no mess when traveling, then the guests will bring the sides. This is ideal for a group of friends who have a wide variety of dietary restrictions, drink preferences, and dish desires. If there’s something specific someone absolutely must-have, they’re responsible for providing it. Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils and platters. If your friends are bringing sides, have them bring serving bowls too. If anyone doesn’t know what to bring, suggest ice, serving utensils or napkins. Those are always welcome! To keep things more organized, its a great idea to create and share a Google Document with all your friends. This will help the group to get a better idea of what to bring and avoid any duplicate food items!

Make It Festive

Decorating your home for your Friendsgiving dinner makes it fun and festive. You should set a formal table with enough room for all of your friends to gather around. Try adding a centerpiece made of small pumpkins or leaves! Then make your place settings as desired. It is also a good idea to have a separate station for drinks. You could even make a signature cocktail like an apple and gin drink or a sparkling cranberry.

Post-Dinner Activities

Just because dinner is over doesn’t mean that your Friendsgiving has to be! After dinner, you can pack up the leftovers to send home with your guests. You can find festive to-go containers on Amazon! After dinner, you should have some activities planned to keep your party going. It might be fun to play board games, cards, or a Thanksgiving drinking game with your guests.

Enjoy

The most important part of hosting your Friendsgiving is to enjoy it! Make sure that you spend your day having fun with your friends. After you finish dinner, you could build a bonfire or play fun Thanksgiving games to keep the party going!

Hosting your first Friendsgiving Dinner will be a fun addition to your holiday traditions! As long as your table is full of friends and your friends are full of food, you can consider your Friendsgiving a success!

If there’s one thing we love, it’s an opportunity to gather and eat. That’s why rallying your group of friends in the weeks leading up to November’s feast seems like a no-brainer. Of course, we do understand that there’s a certain intimidation in hosting your own Thanksgiving-style dinner: Do you have to roast a turkey? Do you have to make everything, all by yourself? How will you fit all the dishes in the oven? How will you fit everyone around your tiny table? Since you’re the domestic leader within your group of friends (you’re reading this story, after all), we do suggest you take charge of the shopping and prepping. But rather than planning a potluck-style Friendsgiving—it can lead to repetition, and not all Thanksgiving dishes travel well—send a Venmo request for the groceries, and let joint cooking be part of the bonding experience. We’ll tell you which tasks you’re better off tackling before your guests arrive and which ones you can happily outsource.

This is the time to step outside the box when it comes to recipes. Since you’ll likely have a more traditional feast with your family to scratch the nostalgic itch, we suggest you welcome the opportunity to try some new riffs on your Thanksgiving favorites. Read on for our picks, including a turkey recipe that won’t take hours to cook and a cranberry sauce with a sweet secret ingredient. The most important thing to remember is that Friendgiving isn’t Thanksgiving, but rather a Thanksgiving-inspired dinner party. You’ll have much more fun along the way if you release yourself from the obligation to make a traditional feast and instead look to the namesake holiday as a starting point. By all means, borrow the classic ingredients—turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries—but make them your own. It’ll make your feast not only less stressful, but also more memorable for your guests.

What to Make Ahead

If you want to serve a hot dinner, you’re going to have to navigate a stressful few minutes of musical chairs with the oven and stovetop. That said, we strongly suggest at least prepping most things in advance—chopping the vegetables, peeling the potatoes, and assembling hot dishes to pop in the oven. Safe bets include anything with “casserole” in the name (sweet potato, green bean)—which will taste even better if the flavors get a chance to meld over time—and cranberry sauce, which can be stored in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat.

What to Take Off Your Plate

No, not your literal plate—it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without dessert. But since you’ve got an eager crowd of willing helpers, it would be a shame not to use them…and dessert is the perfect thing to outsource. We know, we know: You’re famous for your apple pie but making it can cause you a lot of stress, especially if it gets lost in the shuffle at the end of a full dinner. You can bake a pie anytime. Today, let your friend who loves to bake bring two pies or your friend who doesn’t cook pick one up from a local bakery.

What to Make Together

This is a trick question, since it will depend on your personal cooking and hosting style. Some will feel more comfortable doing most of the work alone, while others will love the addition of a sous chef (or seven). However, since this is Friendsgiving, we strongly suggest you leverage the extra hands and embrace the opportunity to bond with your crew. True, too many cooks can spoil the soup—but they can also make for light work and wonderful memories.

The Menu

Remember, there’s no need to replicate a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Instead, let the classic dishes and flavors associated with the holiday inspire your menu. Our picks are not only easy to make in a small space, they’re delicious and a little bit unexpected, too.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Some choose to forego the bread course on Thanksgiving, arguing that the holiday doesn’t need another starch. We beg to differ. Festive popovers that can be made in an array of flavors—like Gruyere-Thyme and Bacon & Black Pepper—will set the tone for the feast. We love that this bread recipe doesn’t require any yeast, making it easy to whisk together in minutes.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Yes, you could roast a whole bird, but you don’t have to. While we firmly believe in having turkey at Thanksgiving dinner (it’s just not the same without it!), if you’re working in a small space, opt for a breast-based dish for Friendsgiving. It’s a fresh take on the classic holiday meal that’s far easier to perfect. Plus, this recipe lets you knock out the turkey and stuffing in one go, leaving you that much more time to socialize.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Remember what we said about new riffs on Thanksgiving favorites? This cranberry sauce recipe incorporates pomegranate arils for added texture and sweetness. As an added bonus, it takes just 20 minutes to make, and can be prepped in advance for less stress in that final power hour before dinner.

If your crew loves snacking on sour cream and onion potato chips at parties and tailgates, they’ll love this tart twist on mashed potatoes, which incorporates scallions and goat cheese. This is a recipe to make day-of, though you can peel and cut the potatoes in advance.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Take a load off your prep work by simply roasting a batch of small sweet potatoes for a DIY potato bar. Set out toppings like blue cheese, pecans, bacon, sour cream, chives, brown sugar, and—of course—mini marshmallows, which you can finish with a quick trip under the broiler.

It might seem odd that this green bean casserole has the longest prep time of any of these dishes, but much of it can be done in advance (plus, you’re already making bacon for your sweet potato bar). Feel free to take shortcuts—frozen green beans, Funyuns instead of home-fried shallots—to make it your own.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

You’re more than justified in outsourcing dessert, but if you insist on serving something homemade, this pumpkin icebox pie (with an easy graham cracker crust, no rolling pastry dough required!) feeds a crowd and can be made up to two days in advance.

With style, a stuffed turkey breast, and some help from your sous chef pals, you can pull off a feast in your small space

If there’s one thing we love, it’s an opportunity to gather and eat. That’s why rallying your group of friends in the weeks leading up to November’s feast seems like a no-brainer. Of course, we do understand that there’s a certain intimidation in hosting your own Thanksgiving-style dinner: Do you have to roast a turkey? Do you have to make everything, all by yourself? How will you fit all the dishes in the oven? How will you fit everyone around your tiny table? Since you’re the domestic leader within your group of friends (you’re reading this story, after all), we do suggest you take charge of the shopping and prepping. But rather than planning a potluck-style Friendsgiving—it can lead to repetition, and not all Thanksgiving dishes travel well—send a Venmo request for the groceries, and let joint cooking be part of the bonding experience. We’ll tell you which tasks you’re better off tackling before your guests arrive and which ones you can happily outsource.

This is the time to step outside the box when it comes to recipes. Since you’ll likely have a more traditional feast with your family to scratch the nostalgic itch, we suggest you welcome the opportunity to try some new riffs on your Thanksgiving favorites. Read on for our picks, including a turkey recipe that won’t take hours to cook and a cranberry sauce with a sweet secret ingredient. The most important thing to remember is that Friendgiving isn’t Thanksgiving, but rather a Thanksgiving-inspired dinner party. You’ll have much more fun along the way if you release yourself from the obligation to make a traditional feast and instead look to the namesake holiday as a starting point. By all means, borrow the classic ingredients—turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries—but make them your own. It’ll make your feast not only less stressful, but also more memorable for your guests.

What to Make Ahead

If you want to serve a hot dinner, you’re going to have to navigate a stressful few minutes of musical chairs with the oven and stovetop. That said, we strongly suggest at least prepping most things in advance—chopping the vegetables, peeling the potatoes, and assembling hot dishes to pop in the oven. Safe bets include anything with “casserole” in the name (sweet potato, green bean)—which will taste even better if the flavors get a chance to meld over time—and cranberry sauce, which can be stored in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat.

What to Take Off Your Plate

No, not your literal plate—it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without dessert. But since you’ve got an eager crowd of willing helpers, it would be a shame not to use them…and dessert is the perfect thing to outsource. We know, we know: You’re famous for your apple pie but making it can cause you a lot of stress, especially if it gets lost in the shuffle at the end of a full dinner. You can bake a pie anytime. Today, let your friend who loves to bake bring two pies or your friend who doesn’t cook pick one up from a local bakery.

What to Make Together

This is a trick question, since it will depend on your personal cooking and hosting style. Some will feel more comfortable doing most of the work alone, while others will love the addition of a sous chef (or seven). However, since this is Friendsgiving, we strongly suggest you leverage the extra hands and embrace the opportunity to bond with your crew. True, too many cooks can spoil the soup—but they can also make for light work and wonderful memories.

The Menu

Remember, there’s no need to replicate a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Instead, let the classic dishes and flavors associated with the holiday inspire your menu. Our picks are not only easy to make in a small space, they’re delicious and a little bit unexpected, too.

The only thing better than Thanksgiving dinner is two Thanksgiving dinners. Here’s how to double your fun – and give thanks for great friends – with a Friendsgiving dinner this year.

Related To:

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — gotta have that green bean casserole that’s been in the family for generations — but Friendsgiving? It’s the perfect time to start a new tradition. Want to roast a pork belly? Confit the turkey thighs? Add Chinese sausage to the pigs in blankets? The world is your oyster (stuffing).

Scheduling Your Friendsgiving
Earlier in the month works well if you’re also using it as a trial run for actual Thanksgiving. Pros are that people are usually around, no one has turkey fatigue yet and you get to fine-tune your party game plan without burning out.

The same weekend of Thanksgiving is awesome if you’re into stretching out the holiday. Pros: You can strategically repurpose leftovers into new dishes, turkeys are on sale and you’re already hyperaware of the one thing you really needed to have this year.

Either way, save yourself a little prep time by picking at least one make-ahead recipe, doubling it, then freezing it so you’ve got less to do for round two.

Planning Your Dishes
Friendsgiving was made for potluck. Assign people a general category (potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, dessert), and, if you think it’s necessary, a theme (Korean, Italian, farm-to-table, deep-fried). Make your friends RSVP, then figure out amounts from here.

That said, you (as the host) should make the turkey and gravy, because nobody wants to transport 20-odd pounds of piping-hot poultry anywhere. Here’s a rundown of our favorite turkey recipes, from traditional to you-did-what-with-a-turkey?

If you’re not an old hand at big dinner parties, have plenty of snacks and apps on hand just in case dinner gets delayed. This can be as simple as a cheese plate or veggies and dips, or you can have one of your more skillful friends prep something from here.

Are all your friends vegans? Or paleo? Use this cheat sheet to strategize.

Depending on who your friends are, you’ll probably also want to have alcohol on hand. You can either go wine and beer only, or plan on one of these awesome cocktails to have as your house drink.

Setting the Scene
Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils and platters. If your friends are bringing sides, have them bring serving bowls too.

If anyone calls and doesn’t know what to bring, suggest ice, wine or napkins. Those are always welcome.

If you’re serving dinner buffet style, wrap flatware in napkins and put the bundles at the end of the buffet line so people can grab them when they’re done loading their plates. If you’re doing family style, consider scooping popular sides (like mashed potatoes) into two bowls so people don’t have to pass things too far.

You can definitely go full tablescape if you want — what are friends for, if not to appreciate your decorative gourd collection? — or minimal. As long as your table is full of friends (and your friends are full of food), you can consider your Friendsgiving a success.

Family time is a given when celebrating Thanksgiving. Yet, while it can be great to see your relatives, Thanksgiving is all about togetherness and being grateful for everyone and everything in your life.

This means your friends, too. Make way for the rise of “Friendsgiving,” a Thanksgiving celebration with your chosen family – your close friends. If this is the year for you to host a Friendsgiving celebration, take a look at our tips for how to host a frugal but fabulous dinner fit for a king.

Make It a Potluck

The easiest way to save on your Friendsgiving dinner is to have everyone bring a dish to pass around. This way you won’t have to go through the trouble and expense of buying and preparing everything yourself.

Instead, send out a guest list and when people confirm, ask them to bring a particular type of dish. Tia Chambers, a blogger at Financially Fit and Fab loves potluck-style Friendsgiving dinners because it helps everyone save money by splitting costs with money transfer apps.

“I’ve participated in a few Friendsgivings before and they’ve all been potluck style where the host provides the main dish,” says Chambers.

Take Advantage of Food Discounts

Depending on how many people you’re having at your Friendsgiving dinner, food costs can still add up – even if you split your menu items with other people.

One thing you can do to stay within budget is take advantage of food discounts and deals around Thanksgiving. Start by saving coupons and comparing deals found in the local store circulars that come in the mail. You can also use apps like Flipp and GroceryIQ to find the best deals at stores in your neighborhood. Keep in mind that some grocery stores even offer BOGO deals on turkey and ham.

One year for Thanksgiving, for example, I was able to buy a turkey and get a whole ham for free. Of course, there were some weight and brand restrictions, but it was still a decent-sized turkey for the price (with a free ham to boot).

Another tip: If you are enrolled in a rewards program through your grocery store, see if you can get a free or discounted turkey or ham for Friendsgiving. For example, Weis Markets offers holiday rewards for Thanksgiving foods.

Send E-vites Instead of Printed Invitations

Unless it’s a wedding or baby shower, there’s really no reason to wow your friends with fancy paper invites. It takes time to design them, and money to print and ship them.

Instead, opt for free digital invitations that you can send via email or through social media This way, friends can easily respond or RSVP for the event. Facebook, for example, has a great events feature where you can create a custom private or public event and invite others.

Another thing you might want to do with your e-vite is include a sign-up sheet so guests can know which foods and items to bring to the potluck. This can help people avoid overspending or buying too much of the same thing.

“For my first Friendsgiving, we didn’t have a sign-up sheet so we ended up with four variations of mac and cheese,” Chambers cautions.

DIY Your Decor Using What You Have

If you want to decorate your home for the occasion, consider going the DIY route or just making use of items you already have on hand.

Financial writer Lindsay VanSomeren recalls when a friend of hers did this for her frugal Friendsgiving.

“My friend invited us to a Friendsgiving when I lived in Colorado. We were all students (or recent grads) who were broke, so we didn’t have much to spend. My friend got decorations from outside like pine needles, cool twigs, pine cones, etc. and used them to decorate the space. It was nice and festive for the gathering,” says VanSomeren.

For some decoration ideas, just look outside. Pine cones, for example, can be used to create beautiful table centerpieces and other decor for your Friendsgiving event.

Keep It Simple and Delegate

When it comes to your Friendsgiving, you don’t want to be the party host who is so overwhelmed that you can’t even enjoy your own event. So, keep things simple so that you can pull off a frugal Friendsgiving.

Cut yourself a break by delegating tasks to your friends (it is Friendsgiving, afterall). If each person has one dish to bring and one additional task to handle, you can focus on being the host with the most (or hostess with the mostess).

Final Word

After you have a solid plan and budget set, focus on enjoying the evening with good food and great company. And just think: The money you’ve saved on your Friendsgiving feast can be added to your savings account for your Christmas spending. Now that’s worthy of a celebration!

Ideas and Tips for Planning a Perfect Potluck

Is it your year to host your group’s Friendsgiving? SignUp has got you covered – here’s all you need to know to throw an amazing celebration they’ll be talking about long after the holiday season!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

What is Friendsgiving?

According to Merriam-Webster, Friendsgiving is a blend of the words “friend” and “Thanksgiving”, and it refers to “a large meal eaten with friends either on or near Thanksgiving”. It’s a more informal version of Thanksgiving, usually occurring on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving Day – but because of the casual nature of the day there isn’t a strict set of guidelines. Want to host a Friendsgiving weeks before Thanksgiving? Then go for it!

How do I Plan Friendsgiving?

Make it a brunch, lunch, or dinner. Don’t cook or don’t want to? Have your friends pick up their favorite take-out and everyone shares a big family meal – a cornucopia of ethnicities and flavors to relish.

Craving something simple? Grab your Thanksgiving leftovers, some fun holiday movies, and head over to your bestie’s house for a relaxing day of togetherness.

Want something a little more structured, but still low stress? Then use SignUp.com for your Friendsgiving potluck needs! With just a few clicks organize who is bringing what, send reminders, and keep track of the menu – so you can relax and actually enjoy Friendsgiving. Participants sign up on their smartphone or computer, choose their contributions, and receive automatic reminders.

PRO TIP: Remember to add spaces for volunteers to help set up and clean up so you aren’t stressing about doing it all yourself.

What do I Serve at Friendsgiving?

Mix it up/Start a new tradition – avoid turkey burnout by choosing a different theme for your Friendsgiving meal (Asian-themed, Italian-themed, farm-to-table, etc.) or a different main dish (pork belly, Prime Rib, tofu for your vegetarian friends). A fun idea is to choose a specific cookbook author or cookbook and have everyone pick a recipe to make.

PRO TIP: Remember your friends with allergies and dietary restrictions – print these free food-allergy meal tags and when your friends arrive, ask them to fill one out for each dish they brought.

Tell guests to bring wine or their favorite drinks.

Include snacks and appetizers on the SignUp in case dinner gets delayed.

Friendsgiving Games & Activities

Here are some suggestions for entertainment at your Friendsgiving celebration.

  • Ask for a volunteer or assign a guest as the DJ (make a playlist) to provide music.
    • PRO TIP: Create a playlist and burn to thumb drives or CDs to give out to guests so they have something fun to remember the day.
  • Host a movie marathon. Play all of the Star Wars or Fast & Furious movies, or ask your guests to bring their favorite holiday movie.
  • Play Friendsgiving Bingo. Check out SignUp’s printable Bingo cards for a slight twist on a classic game.
  • Set up a Thankful Jar: Spray paint some small rocks and have your guests write what they’re thankful for with a permanent marker. Read them out loud before you eat.
  • Create a photo booth with fun props. Think up a hashtag so everyone can share on social media.
  • Have friends bring their favorite board games and host a game day.
  • Pick up some 2x4s (or something similar), cut them in a uniform length, sand the edges, and play a game of Giant Jenga.
    • PRO TIP: Check with the lumber department of your local hardware store to see if they offer free cutting when you buy your 2x4s from them.

Tips for Friendsgiving with Kids

If friends are bringing their kids, schedule your Friendsgiving for lunch or an early dinner since bedtimes come into play, or hire a high school or college-aged kid to babysit so the adults can have fun and not worry about their kids.

Snacks and appetizers are especially important if children will be attending. Plan on including kid-friendly foods like chicken nuggets, chips, ham and cheese roll-ups, mini-corn dogs, cheese and crackers, popcorn, cookies/brownies, etc. along with your more grown-up selections.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have kids around the same age as your guests, ask parents to bring age-appropriate toys that can be shared. Be sure to label everything so it goes home with the correct person.

Check out SignUp’s printable coloring place mats to give the kiddos a fun activity that will keep them happily busy while the adults have a moment to visit with each other.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Looking for more ideas? See our Potluck Planning Center for SignUp sheets, event reminders, checklists to ensure your Friendsgiving runs smoothly.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

‘Tis the season for friends, family, and stretchy pants! Who’s excited?! 🙂

Around this time last year, my girlfriends and I decided to start a relaxed style Cookbook Club. We meet at the beginning of each month and rotate between houses. While the initial intent was to all cook from the same cookbook, we decided that it would be best for our group to cook whatever from our favorite cookbooks. The host cooks the main dish and the rest of the group fills in the gaps. It’s a great excuse to consistently wine and dine with your friends. Highly recommend.

This year we decided to turn November’s club meeting into Friendsgiving, which just so happens to be my turn to host. I’ve hosted plenty of parties, but Friendsgiving?! Now, that’s a lot of pressure. I thought I would share my best tips on how I survived cooking my first ever turkey as well as tips on how to host a killer Friendsgiving that will leave your friends impressed AF.

Plan, Plan, Plan

The easiest way to reduce the stress involved with hosting a killer Friendsgiving is by planning ahead.

The very first thing you should do is start a shared Note or Google Document with your friends. This will help divvy up the work involved and figure out who is bringing what. (Don’t judge our list, haha, we wanted to go all out!)

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Create a Timeline

Once you know exactly what you are making, it is imperative that you create a timeline. Creating a timeline for yourself will allow you to make as much as possible in advance, therefore reducing your stress significantly on the day of the party. Below is the timeline I created for myself.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

The easiest way to tackle this timeline is by working backwards. How long does your turkey need to thaw, brine, and dry? When do you want to take your turkey out of the oven? How long does it need to rest? How long does something need to chill in the fridge before serving?

The Turkey

Lots to cover here. If you host Friendsgiving in late October or early November, you might have trouble finding fresh whole turkeys. I had to purchase a frozen one. FYI – it takes ETERNITY to thaw.

Allow 24 hours per 5 pounds of turkey to thaw!

After 66 hours of thawing, mine was still pretty frozen. I ended up filling my sink with cold water and giving it a cold water bath. Remember to change the water every 30 minutes! After and hour of doing this, I decided to just wet brine my partially frozen turkey – Google said it would be fine. 🙂

Wine & Brine

While researching, I came across this brining kit by Urban Accents. It has insane reviews!! I purchased mine at Whole Foods, but I think Costco & Amazon sell the kit as well.

A few things to note about wet brining a turkey…

  1. It takes one hour per pound to soak.
  2. It is recommended that you allow the turkey to dry for about 24 hours after wet brining. (I found this tip on Pinterest, but the kit doesn’t require this.)

Watch the video below to learn how to brine a turkey with the kit I used. Once you are comfortable with the process, grab a glass of wine and start brining!

The Ambiance

I recommend you set your table the night before. One less thing to do the day of. Keep your decor simple with just a few pumpkins on the table and some festive plates from Pier1. We have plain white dishes that are perfect to accent with holiday salad plates. It’s a budget friendly way to change things up for special events.

With that said, cloth napkins and name placement cards are other nice touches to make your guests feel special.

Don’t forget about the music! Find a playlist on Spotify in advance. The last thing you want to do is be searching for a good play list as your friends are arriving. I received compliments on this playlist all night long!

If your lights dim, dim them! Light some candles! Light a fire. Make your place as welcoming and cozy as you can. It’s a special night after all.

Recipes

If you would like the recipes to the dishes I am making, please follow the links below:

Hot Tips

  1. Have a backup plan! Mine was a ham from Honey Baked Ham Co.
  2. Add a container of turkey broth or stock to your shopping list for gravy. My turkey didn’t produce enough juice for my gravy recipe.
  3. Assign bartending duty to the first friend that arrives. You will be so busy dealing with the turkey/gravy situation that having a friend help out with something easy is KEY.
  4. Provide take away bags and containers for leftovers! My friends loved that I had this available for them and they all took food home.

I am confident that if you follow these steps, you will host a killer Friendsgiving that your friends will not forget. Lastly, if you are looking for more Friendsgiving inspiration, follow my Friendsgiving Pinterest board!

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #GiftACoke #CollectiveBias

If hosting Friendsgiving sounds intimidating, you’re going to love having this list of ideas to make planning for the day easier!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving is one of the greatest ideas in the history of holiday ideas. Whoever came up with it deserves some kind of prize. The thought of having a Thanksgiving dinner with my closest friends and celebrating that friendship just makes me happy. My friends and I love getting together, so a Friendsgiving would just be icing on the cake! Hosting any kind of event can be a little overwhelming and stressful. Today I’ve put together a list of ways to make things easier on you as the host while still creating a fun and festive Friendsgiving. Here’s how to do it! (And for even more Friendsgiving and holiday ideas, click here!)

SERVE AN EASY AND DELICIOUS DRINK

My friends and I don’t mess around when it comes to drinks. We are all about our Coca-Cola® products and any tasty concoction we can make. I’m so excited to share this excellent Coca-Cola® drink recipe with you! My mother-in-law was the first taste tester and she absolutely loved it. And it starts with Coca-Cola® and Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

My friends and I have conversations about Coca-Cola® on a semi-regular basis because we love it so much. Having it as part of our Friendsgiving is just so right! As you’re at Walmart picking up everything for your Friendsgiving, grab some Coca-Cola® and Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar for your drinks! I think back on the polar bear commercials and the magic they always brought to the holidays when I was a kid, and continue to do through adulthood. Coca-Cola® and the holidays just go together!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Let’s get to the recipe! Your friends are going to love having a Cranberry Vanilla Coke-Tail at Friendsgiving dinner. I was so excited about this flavor combo and that it tasted so good. My mother-in-law absolutely loved it. I would never have thought to put cranberry juice in a soda drink. It’s just so darn good!

Cranberry-Vanilla Coke-Tail Recipe

  • Coca-Cola® or Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar
  • Simply® Cranberry Cocktail
  • 2 to 3 drops of Imitation Vanilla Flavoring

Fill a glass 3/4 of the way with Coca-Cola® or Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar. Add 2 to 3 drops of imitation vanilla flavoring and top it off with cranberry juice. Give it a good stir, then serve.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

This drink is super easy to make and your friends can make theirs as big or small as they’d like.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Have Enough Food to Serve

There’s nothing worse than running out of food when you have guests over. We don’t want to happen, so I created a guide for you to follow based on how many people are coming over for Friendsgiving. It also includes what kinds of food to serve. One less thing to have to think about!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

Guess what. You don’t have to cook all the food yourself for your Friendsgiving! Say whaaa? Asking your friends to contribute to the meal and brings some sides and desserts is going to relieve a ton of stress and make your preparations a ton easier. Here are some yummy ideas for you to delegate!

My little brother loves Green Bean Casserole and could probably polish off a pan himself. They’re a very flavorful side dish for a friend to bring for dinner! Every Friendsgiving table needs a dinner roll. My recipe for Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls is the perfect one for someone to make and bring.

Another great bean recipe is Three Bean Salad. This recipe reminds me of my grandparents and holiday celebrations as a kid. If you’re not keen on mashed potatoes, Ranch Roasted Potatoes are a great option. They’re easy to make and everyone loves them. And finally, a bowl of Green Beans and Bacon is a fresh and flavorful side for Friendsgiving. And so pretty! This recipe also reminds me of Grandma and Grandpa.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Be Prepared!

You’ll soon realizing during your Friendsgiving planning that there are all kinds of little things to remember to be ready for your guests. This list below will work as a guide for you to make sure you have everything you need for your guests:

  • Tables and chairs with a place for everyone to sit
  • Plates
  • Silverware
  • Napkins
  • Glasses
  • Serving bowls, platters, serving utensils for each
  • A place to put everything
  • Space in the fridge
  • Containers for leftovers
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap
  • Hand towels

Give Your Guests a Way to Share What They’re Thankful For

How to Host a Friendsgiving

This one is going to make my dad laugh because he always jokes about going around the room saying what we’re thankful for – with 50+ people. Ha! That comment makes me laugh every year. For your Friendsgiving, you can cover the table(s) with packing paper, draw some lines at each setting, and give everyone a pen to write a few things they are thankful for. It’s a great way to not only add to the day, but the packing paper looks great and makes cleanup a breeze!

Send Guests Home with a Parting Gift

What’s one thing my friends would absolutely love to take home with them after Friendsgiving? Coca-Cola® and Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar so they can make their own Cranberry-Vanilla Coke-Tails at home! Coca-Cola® is the perfect gift for all my friends.

Click here for even more Friendsgiving and holiday inspiration!

Before you pack your bags and head home for Thanksgiving/Winter break, a Friendsgiving is in order!

What better way to celebrate friends (and food) than with this cherished unofficial holiday?

Whether it’s just another excuse to party or you are trying to impress your friends with your cooking and/or baking skills… Friendsgiving is a must, and we are here for it!

So get comfy, take out your phone and jot this down.

Here are our top tips to host a Friendsgiving that will be hard to beat, until next year of course:

1. Start that group chat!

Ok, odds are if you are reading this, you’re heavily invested in hosting a Friendsgiving, so congrats!

You are now pronounced the host(ess) with the most(ess).

Your job as the host is to coordinate everyone you want to invite together, secure a date on the calendar, and then make it ridiculously easy for them to not forget.

Which leads me into number…

2. Google Drive is your friend

Alright, this one is easy.

Use a Google document to help you keep track of who is coming or not, and make sure to leave a spot for guests to share what they plan on bringing. No one can say you never asked them to contribute!

The best part of Friendsgiving is there is no pressure on one person to buy and make all the food: a potluck is the way to go.

A great way to try some new traditions you may have never heard of!

3. RULE: No pre-made food

Yup, you heard it.

You’re stuck eating on-the-go pre-made food all of the time.

When do you ever eat a home-cooked meal? That’s right, at home.

So why not show off your cooking skills or put them to the test. Get down and dirty in the community dorm kitchen, and put all those hours you spent watching Tasty videos to good use.

Unless the store-bought pie is world famous… it’s a no from me, dawg.

4. Declare a theme for the day

Since Friendsgiving is yours for the making, the formal Thanksgiving rules can be broken!

Suggest some ideas amongst your friends and then go with whatever has been voted on the most. Or if you’re type A, just pick yourself and then order everyone to participate (hint: much easier option).

Just to name a few ideas: Pajamas, ugly sweaters, ‘dress like a pilgrim,’ Gatsby Thanksgiving, all hail the 80’s.

5. Appoint someone to make the playlist/DJ

We all have that one friend who is obsessed with music, so why not put them to good use?

In fact, no Friendsgiving (or any college party for that matter) is complete without a solid playlist.

We know Spotify has pre-made playlists, but sometimes you want a mix of all different types of things, and just holiday music can get pretty lame.

So rally the troops, appoint a DJ, and make sure to critique their music choices. Make sure you have a good/reliable speaker charged up and ready to go. This one is my favorite!

6. Get a roll of brown wrapping paper and some Sharpies

This is a great one to make a tradition for your Friendsgiving celebration.

Buy a roll of brown wrapping paper and get some markers. Use the roll of brown wrapping paper as a tablecloth on all of your tables, then set a marker down for each couple of people. We suggest one marker per two people so that no one has to wait too long to start writing.

Don’t forget: Saving money is a year-round sport.

Then follow these steps:

  • Pre-write:
    • “I’m thankful for _____”
    • “My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is_____”
  • Encourage people to draw or write whatever they want
  • Set up grids to play tic-tac-toe
  • Give everyone the format to write a Haiku then share them around the table.
    • The traditional format for a haiku is 3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, respectively

This is a really fun way to share around the table and make dinner more fun. And you’re sure to get a few laughs from some of the Haikus that are made.

7. Celebrate what makes you happy with some bonus carbs

For another activity, buy a few tubes of Pillsbury crescent roll dough.

When everyone walks in, have them write down something they’re really happy about.

Lay those pieces of paper on top of your crescent roll dough before you bake it, roll them up and bake them just before you’re about to eat.

Pass them around, and everyone can go around and read the one they got out loud.

Try and guess who wrote it!

8. College party 101: Start a drinking game

Get out the cards, it’s time for a drinking game (with a little spin, this is Friendsgiving after all).

Something my family plays at Thanksgiving as a tradition is Cards Against Humanity (We finally graduated from Apples to Apples and my Grandma had something to say about that).

Here’s a couple of rules to turn this (almost) family-friendly card game into a drinking game:

Bonus points if you get the College expansion pack; it’s only $7 and hysterical

Rules:

  • 1st place: Make a player chug ½ their drink
  • 2nd place: Make a player chug ¼ their drink
  • Everyone else has to take an additional sip on top of what they received from the 1st and 2nd place winners

9. Set up a photobooth spot

Head to the party store and pick up some fun photo booth props, or you can order some here.

Then set up a spot in your dorm/apartment where you can take photos. This can be as easy as hanging up strings of leaves on the same brown paper you bought for the tablecloth.

Simply tape up the paper big enough to cover a section of the wall, and then string the leaves over that. Then set up some form of camera on a tripod.

The tripod is essential if you want to take a group photo, which I highly suggest.

(Hint: Ask around, someone is bound to have a tripod, hello photography majors in your friend group!)

10. Don’t tell anyone in your family that Friendsgiving is way more fun than Thanksgiving

To be honest, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

Do all these things right and you’re bound to have a successful Friendsgiving san the family drama – or boredom!

If any friends cause drama, the good news is they aren’t family – so next time they won’t get the invite.

But that’s unlikely to happen because Friendsgiving is a time to eat good food, drink good drinks, and share the love with the people you spend every day with.

Family depends on how you define it after all!

I remember hosting my first Friendsgiving quite well.

The year was 2010, and I was living in a tiny “three bedroom” apartment (one of the rooms was a glorified closet) in Bucktown. The building was old, with walls so thin turning on the single living room heater was an exercise in futility, as the heat escaped outside in minutes. It was the height of the Recession, and my roommates and I were post-grad millennials suffering the brunt of the non-existent job market.

Too broke to afford travel to our respective families for Thanksgiving and with newish friends visiting from London and Austria, we decided to cobble together a little Friendsgiving meal to at least have a taste of the most American of holidays.

I was on poultry duty and got the biggest chicken (ahem) I could afford, plus threw together an unmemorable citrus-y salad. The European contingent baked some treats — I remember a terrific streusel — and my roommates handled the sides (the usual green bean casserole, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes). We all squeezed in on the couch and ate from mismatched dishware, watching with wry glee a fireplace playing on the TV.

Friendsgiving — which seemingly first appeared on Urban Dictionary in 2009 — has been growing in popularity over the years, fueled by social media, hashtags and the number of young people looking to gather with friends in addition to their own family units. These days, it’s almost a shadow holiday to the Big One, much like Black Wednesday, a night of debaucherous drinking with pals also visiting home for the holiday.

And unlike the main holiday, Friendsgiving is whatever you want to make it, as far as formality goes. In the years since my first foray, my traditions have shifted along with those of my friends. A full spread, including turkey, one year. Just a table of pies another. An array of wine bottles to pair with a number of sides, with no bird. It’s all good, as long as everyone is together.

If you’re stressing out about how to plan your own Friendsgiving, fret not. Below are some tips for putting together a spread with little-to-no fuss, but maximizing your time with friends.

Divvy up dishes

Friendsgiving is not a one-person, one-kitchen show. Breakdown what you want the meal to look like and assign guests to dish duty so that you don’t end up with a table of hummus and crackers. Make sure you’ve got an equal proportion of starch (stuffing, potatoes, mac and cheese) and vegetables (salad, casseroles, green beans etc.). As a host, I’ve always at least volunteered the bird and thrown in some surprise additions, usually a cheese course or some cocktail hour bites. As a guest, don’t back out on your dish or risk looking like a real pill in front of all your friends.

The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner…

The weeks leading up to turkey day are perfect for inviting your friends over for a Friendsgiving. This feast is sure to be your new favorite tradition. It tends to be more casual than the typical Thanksgiving dinner that is crowded with out of town family that you may not have seen in years. Friendsgiving is an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving exactly the way you want to & make it your own. Here are some helpful tips & tricks for hosting a perfect Friendsgiving dinner:

How to Host a Friendsgiving

People always say, the more the merrier…but when you’re hosting a Friendsgiving that’s not necessarily the case. A shorter guest list provides for a more casual & intimate dinner. It also means less stress & less dishes to clean after you party. Having fewer attendees will allow yourself quality time with your chosen family a.k.a. your closest friends.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is the official kick-off to the holiday season. So your Friendsgiving is the perfect excuse to go all out and decorate your home. Whether you only put up Thanksgiving decorations and/or have a few Christmas items on display, it will be sure to make your home look fun & festive.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Buying the full Thanksgiving spread for you friends can get super expensive. An affordable & fun option is to have each guest bring a dish to share. By having a potluck-style Friendsgiving, you can focus more on having a perfectly cooked turkey. Just make sure that you help coordinate what everyone is going to bring so that you don’t end up with 3 pumpkin pies.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Chances are you may have more guests than your dining table can fit. Consider renting some tables, chairs & linens to be able to comfortably fit all of your guests. Giving everyone a little elbow room will give everyone an overall better experience.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

If you are having a ton of guests at your Friendsgiving, you may need some extra dishware, flatware & glassware. Don’t get stuck doing the dishes after your party by renting your dinnerware. Most rental companies will pick-up the dirty dishes after your event is over. Additionally, by renting the dinnerware you need, you are guaranteed to have a matching set & look like the hostess with the mostess.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

If your short on space in your home, consider having a food buffet in your kitchen. Chaffers & other serving dishes/utensils will definitely come in handy here. Your food will keep warm & you’ll have more room at your table for some smaller dishes such as the gravy.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

The absolute best part about having a Friendsgiving, is the fact that you get to have a more laid back version of a Thanksgiving with your favorite people. Additionally, everyone can share their family traditions & your friend group can form your own traditions. These are memories that you will cherish forever!

The word around the block is that you’re officially moved into your first apartment. Your coats and boots are in the closets, and your kitchen is fully unpacked and ready to have a dinner party with your best friends. However, you may not be entirely sure how to host Friendsgiving like an adult, and serve a dinner with all that glitz and glam.

When you have friends over, you may typically make pasta or order pizza. You might pull out a bottle of wine if you’re going to watch a movie, or stay in and have a chill night with your buds. There are no cheeseboards, casseroles, or place settings required. That’s all well and good, but Friendsgiving can be a special adventure and rad way to learn valuable lessons about #adulting.

Being a beginner in the hosting and cooking game means you get to learn how to properly lay out appetizers for your guests, or coordinate a potluck with your BFFs. You get to try out different utensils, serving dishes, and pans in your new kitchen, and invest in some entertaining essentials. Here’s how to host Friendsgiving like an adult in your first apartment. (Spoiler alert: It’s easier than you may believe.)

1. Create The Ultimate Cheese Board

Appetizers are necessary when you’re hosting a dinner party. They prep your guests for the delicious food they’ll be having, and make sure your friends don’t become #hangry while waiting for the turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce to be ready. So, create the ultimate cheese board before they arrive. It can include multiple kinds of cheese, crackers, salami and prosciutto, olives, and fruit.

2. Decorate Your Place With Festive Decor

As much as your friends might not admit it, they want to take a lot of Instagram pictures at your Friendsgiving dinner. Some of your BFFs want to get pics of their colorful plate, while others may want to pose in front of festive decor. Be sure to get pumpkins at the grocery store that’ll look good on social media, as well as a garland of fake leaves or a felt sign that reads “Friendsgiving.” They’ll complement your event and spread.

3. Set Up A Drink And Coffee Station

When you’re cooking and preparing your Friendsgiving meal, you won’t want to be running around getting everyone drinks. Instead, you’ll want to give your guests a chance to pour their own wine, soda, tea, coffee, or water at a perfectly-designed drink station. When you’re prepping it, make sure to put plenty of ice, glasses, and mugs out so your friends don’t have to dig through your cabinets and freezer.

4. Ask Everyone To Bring Something

Being an adult means realizing you might not be able to do everything. You need your friends to pitch in and lend a helping hand at times, especially when it comes to Friendsgiving.

If you’re hosting the event at your first apartment, ask everyone about a week or so in advance to bring a dish, dessert, or kitchen utensil you don’t have but need. This will take the pressure off of you a bit, and make it a more collaborative event.

5. Prep Your Place Settings

In true adult fashion, you’ll want to prep your place settings before your guests arrive. This requires pulling the nice dishes out of your cabinets, along with the proper amount of utensils your friends will need during dinner.

6. Turn On Some Chill Music

Friendsgiving is a time to turn on some chill music that’ll set the tone for an epic and #adult dinner. This may be the latest album from The Lumineers, Bon Iver, or Hozier, or a playlist of music from the ’90s that everybody knows and loves. That’s totally up to you to decide.

7. Check In With Everyone Every Once In A While

Part of being a good host is checking in with your guests. Even if they’re your best friends who have been over your new place before Friendsgiving, you want to make sure they have everything they need. You may ask your guests questions like, “Do you need a refill?” or “Can I get you anything else?” It’s simple, polite, and shows you care.

8. Give Everyone Leftovers At The End

Last but not least, to successfully host a Friendsgiving like an adult, don’t send your guests home empty-handed. Give them a container filled with leftovers and goodies so they don’t have to worry about making lunch or dinner the next day. Make sure they take a few extra cookies or slices of pie too.

5 tips for hosting a Friendsgiving (with recipes!) Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. The weather is that perfect crispness,

5 tips for hosting a Friendsgiving (with recipes!)

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. The weather is that perfect crispness, the leaves are still on the trees, and the entire country comes to celebrate around food.

The idea of an entire day devoted to a meal is magical to me. And it doesn’t hurt that the flavors are so quintessentially autumnal. So comforting, and so delicious.

And while Thanksgiving is officially November 24th, one of my favorite activities in the month prior is to host a Friendsgiving.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

The other week I had the absolute pleasure of hosting an outdoor Friendsgiving with our friends in Detroit. My sister was in town for the week, and she and I cooked all day in preparation (like a true Thanksgiving!).

It was one of my favorite nights I’ve had in Detroit so far. Everyone dressed up in their cutest fall outfits (my text to everyone was literally “dress like you’re in an L.L. Bean catalog”), and we all sat on the most perfect plaid picnic blanket while stuffing our faces with cheeses and cider sangria.

And I have to say, it turned out as well as I could’ve imagined. The weather was perfect, the conversation flowed, and we drank a lot of cider sangria.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

So interested in planning a Friendsgiving of your own? Here are 5 tips for hosting a Friendsgiving.

1. Plan things in advance so you know exactly what everyone is bringing. Don’t simply ask your friends to contribute, because you will inevitably end up with 5 different chips and salsas. Instead, ask if they can bring a salad, an appetizer, or a dessert. Talk through specific recipes with people and see what sparks individual interests.

2. On that note, ask everyone to bring their dish in some sort of tupperware or recyclable material. This way, when you’re done eating, you can easily re-pack up leftovers. And if you eat everything, you can ixnay the container!

3. Have 1 person be the “props” person. In lieu of bringing food, this person is responsible for things like blankets, cups, and utensils. If you want to go all-out, this person can also bring serving plates and bowls. But keep things rustic- we used pie tins, a galvanized tray, and metal plates for serving.

4. If you’re doing your Friendsgiving at a park or outdoor space, show up 30 minutes in advance. That way you can scope out the best location and get everything ready before people show up with their dishes.

5. Bring a camera. Because your Friendsgiving. is going to be the most photogenic thing ever.

How to Host a FriendsgivingHow to Host a FriendsgivingHow to Host a Friendsgiving How to Host a FriendsgivingHow to Host a Friendsgiving How to Host a FriendsgivingIn addition, I’m sharing 5 recipes we made for our Friendsgiving that are just as simple to prepare as they are delicious to eat. Each recipe was made by a different friend.

And a huge THANK YOU to my friends for making this the best Friendsgiving ever! I feel so grateful to have you in my life.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays we love and look forward to so much. Aside from the delicious food, it’s the people you’re with, and appreciating all that you have, that truly makes this celebration unique. If you can’t make it home for Thanksgiving this year, how about hosting a Friendsgiving? If you are home for Thanksgiving and want to make the holiday last longer, host a Friendsgiving just for fun. It’s a great opportunity for your friends to gather in gratitude and appreciate one anothers’ company. To help you plan for first Friendsgiving, check out this list of tips to get started.

1. Send Out Legit Invitations

Everyone loves getting snail mail, so why not make your friends’ day with a special invitation in the mail? You can get some lovely Friendsgiving invitations on Amazon that will show up at your doorstep extremely quickly.

Photos By: Amazon

2. Friendsgiving Decorations

Deck the halls with some fun banners, autumn themed linens and a touch of love. These are just a couple examples of amazing decorations Amazon has to offer for your Friendsgiving.

Happy Friendsgiving Banner ?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2k4s9sU
Autumn Tablecloth?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2fBBMya

Photos By: Amazon

3. The Host Makes The Turkey

When inviting your crew over for Friendsgiving, treat them to your finest delicious turkey and stuffing. When your guests arrive and they smell that bird cooking in the oven, their senses will take them back to their childhood and they will be so thankful for your cooking skills!

4. Reliable Friends Bring Side Dishes

We all have that friend that we really hope the best for, and try to help them contribute but they always underdeliver. Don’t ask those friends to contribute to Friendsgiving. Instead, have your reliable friends bring the side dishes so no one misses out on cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes!

5. Go The Extra Mile

Create a side dish of your own that is a little out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving but is completely fantastic. Check out this incredible Thanksgiving Poutine!

6. Dessert: Pie Bar

Why just serve up pies when you can create a fun pie bar with all sorts of options?! All you need is a decorative tablecloth, cake plates, a banner and some pies!

7. Excellent Friendsgiving Soundtrack

Whether you turn on the Spotify Friendsgiving playlist, or delegate a friend to make a sweet soundtrack, you will definitely need some music playing in the background to bring some festive cheer to your gathering.

Photos By: Shutterstock

8. Make It Cozy

Add a few extra blankets to your couch and light some candles to create a cozy glow in your home. And, of course, make sure those candles are Pumpkin Spice!

White Knit Blanket ?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2wZcbqf
Pumpkin Spice Candle ?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2x03hJb

Photos By: Amazon

Product Summary

1. Send Out Legit Invitations?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2yae8QI

2. Friendsgiving Decorations?Happy Friendsgiving Banner ?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2k4s9sU

Autumn Tablecloth?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2fBBMya

8. Make It Cozy?White Knit Blanket ?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2wZcbqf

Pumpkin Spice Candle ?Buy it: http://amzn.to/2x03hJb

Forkly.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Forkly.com

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband’s sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

Way less stress than dinner, but you can still have turkey and cranberries (and pie).

Getting everyone together for Friendsgiving is a lot of fun, but it’s not always easy—people have kids and extended families they have to eat Thanksgiving dinner with, besides which, you may not want to take on an entire turkey. Thanksgiving brunch may be the perfect answer, then!

It’s more casual, it happens earlier in the day (which is handy when everyone has so much going on, and might have family meals to get to in the evening), and it’s just more fun! Plus, you don’t have to deal with a big bird and a dozen sides jostling for space in your oven—but you can still indulge in the season’s coziest flavors (and in booze, of course, if you want).

Just decorate a little bit to make your space more inviting, queue up some music, and set out a fantastic Thanksgiving brunch spread that no one has to know was ultra-easy. Or, go all-in on the potluck ethos and have your guests bring the various parts of the morning meal while you just take care of drinks. There’s no wrong way to do it, as long as everyone’s having a good time.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Hand Hemstitched Table Runner, $16.99 on Amazon

Don’t have a sideboard? Drape this over your kitchen counter or coffee table and it’ll still look chic.

Here are some ideas for food and drink to feature.

Make Mimosas Seasonal

The classic brunch drink (at least right up there with the Bloody Mary), mimosas are simple, sophisticated, and easy to dress up. Adding a few fall flavors makes even the cheapest bottle of Cook’s taste like something special.

It’s that time of year again, so gather your friends and host the best Friendsgiving ever.

Maggie Fischler

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Thanksgiving break is the only time you’ll get before Christmas to try to see all of your friends from home, so why not try to bring them all together for a Friendsgiving potluck?! It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s delicious.

Pick The Perfect Date

The first things you’ll need to do are pick a date and make a guest list. Since you’ll all be coming home from college, picking a date might be complicated. My friends and I have always had our Friendsgiving Potluck on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We normally come back from school on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, have the Wednesday to cook and eat our Friendsgiving potluck, and then spend the rest of the vacation with our families. I suggest you try this date too since there’s a good chance your friends will be available and the whole point of Friendsgiving is to see your friends!

Make The Menu

When you make the guest list, you also have to decide who will bring what. There are numerous ways to assign people dishes for your potluck, but the best way is to have your friends tell you what they want to make based on your general menu. Your menu should include appetizers, side dishes, and desserts that you’d like to have at your potluck.

Tina Simpson

Some delicious potluck sides you can ask your friends to bring include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables, gravy, green bean casserole, croissants etc. (Check out this list for more ideas.)

If you have ambitious friends, provide a list of dessert options too, and don’t forget the pumpkin pie! While you’re the host and you want your event to go perfectly, dictating what your friends need to bring can be both bossy and complicated. By giving your friends some options of what to bring, they can make something that they feel good about. Friendsgiving should be fun, so keep it light-hearted and let your friend who can’t even make cereal correctly bring that store-bought bread from your local bakery.

Maggie Fischler

Turkey is a staple of a Friendsgiving feast, but it is also the most difficult, complicated aspect of the meal, so as the host, you kind of have to do it. Here is a very simple recipe you can try.

Decorate

Once you have your menu down and the event is getting closer, you need to start getting decorations. Your table is what truly needs decorating (but if you’re willing to decorate your whole house too, then go for it!). You should get some centerpieces, like pumpkins or other fall decorations from a local craft store. Fake foliage and candles also add a very pleasant touch to the table.

You can add elegance to your table by creating a simple, yet festive place setting by including a charger plate, which is a decorative plate under the dinner plate. This alludes charm and elegance, making your potluck feel like a fancy dinner without all the hassle and stress. The most important decorations, however, are the name tags. Creating a special place for each one of your friends lets them know you care.

Maggie Fischler

Before your guests arrive, make sure you know where you’ll put their dishes for serving. Then, its time to get out your serving spoons, put on your best outfit, and enjoy your company. Make sure to take tons of pictures for the ‘gram, so you remember what will surely be an incredible Friendsgiving Potluck.

Friendsgivings are all the rage these days. Want to give it a shot? Here’s where to start.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

With the holiday season coming up, it’s time to think about embracing old traditions and starting some new ones for yourself and your friends. In several weeks, you will gather around the dining table with your family and celebrate gratitude for one another while stuffing your bellies with delicious food. But while Thanksgiving with family is awesome, there’s a new tradition that’s taking over college campuses: celebrating Friendsgiving.

Friendsgiving is exactly what it sounds like: Thanksgiving with your friends! It’s often held on a day other than Thanksgiving, but can be the main event for those who don’t have a family dinner to attend the day of. (Timing is really up to you!)

To host the perfect Friendsgiving, you can either embrace a traditional dinner style held during the afternoon or a party style held in the evening. Either way, your Friendsgiving will be a crowd pleaser with your close friends.

Never hosted Friendsgiving before? Learn from someone who has! Here are my top eight tips for a killer Friendsgiving celebration:

Top 8 Tips for Friendsgiving Success

How to Host a Friendsgiving

1. Pick a location with a BIG table and kitchen

Whether you have five friends or 15, choosing the perfect location is crucial. Make sure you have plenty of room for all guests and the food of course. This is pretty non-negotiable and should be the first step of your planning. If no one has an available house (and it’s warm enough where you live), one idea is to go to an outdoor park and turn Friendsgiving into a potluck picnic (make sure to bring some blankets to bundle up!).

2. Send out some form of invitation

If you are heading down the more traditional Thanksgiving route, mail out invitations on a holiday themed card or send out an E-vite to all of your besties. For the less traditional event, make a group text or Facebook group with all of your friends to get the word out.

3. Pick out your best Friendsgiving outfit

The holidays are all about spending time with loved ones while dressing warm and cute, and the perfect Friendsgiving outfit combines all of these things into one. Pull out the fuzzy sweaters and tights for those friend group photos. For bonus points, organize a theme with your friends so that you have a consistent color palette in photos. Try wearing warm fall colors or jewel tones!

4. Make your house/apartment festive with decor

Who says you can’t go all out for Thanksgiving? Take a trip to Michael’s and scout out festive decorations to place on your dining table and around the kitchen. Your friends will love them! For more on this subject, see our post on choosing the perfect Friendsgiving decorations.

5. Pick out a perfect playlist to get the holiday vibes going

Maybe there aren’t really Thanksgiving songs the way there are for Xmas, but you can still put together a fall-themed playlist. Add some chill Indie hits or stick with pop music that everyone will know. Regardless of the type of music, keep the volume low so that you can have great conversations!

6. Make lasting memories with your besties

Friendsgiving is an event where you can truly express to your friends how much they mean to you. So be sure to tell your friends how you feel. And put in the extra effort to make some memories and create new inside jokes that will last for many more future Friendsgivings. Be sure to take pictures so you can reminisce in the years to come!

7. Organize a clean-up crew

Unfortunately, your delicious feast will come to an end at some point, and then it will be time to clean up. Divide and conquer amongst your friends so that cleanup is a quick and easy process. Make sure to wrap up all the leftovers and send some home with each guest!

8. Schedule next year’s Friendsgiving

Even though Friendsgiving may be over for this year, you can start planning out next year’s event to make it bigger and better. Maybe next year you will do an entirely vegetarian Thanksgiving or tackle this list of ultra-impressive Thanksgiving recipes. The ideas are endless!

Have you hosted Friendsgiving before?

If so, how did it go? Any tips for your fellow CF readers? Comment below your ideas on how to make Friendsgiving the best friend group event yet!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

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How to Host a Friendsgiving

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Friendsgiving has become a popular event to hold in November the past few years. It is like a big Thanksgiving meal but it is only you and your closest friends gathered together (no family members at all unless you and your siblings have a lot of mutual friends). At Friendsgiving, you all show how grateful you all are for each other. This gathering is laid-back, fun, and full of delicious food.

If you are the one hosting your friend group’s Friendsgiving this year, there are a lot of ideas to consider from in every aspect of the party. However, if you are on a tight budget, this can either be a negative thing or great way to become more innovative, depending on how you handle the situation.

While being on a budget may lead to you (as the host) being worried about your friends not having a good time due to your budget, don’t worry! There are still several ways to make your Friendsgiving a blast despite the money issues.

For those of you hosting Friendsgiving this coming November, listed below are 6 ways for how to do so on a budget:

1. Make Your Friendsgiving a Potluck:

If you are the friend hosting Friendsgiving and on a budget, one way to still pull off a great gathering is by making Friends giving a potluck! As the host, you are likely going to be stressed from setting up decorations to the tableware and silverware to the food. By making your Friendsgiving dinner a potluck, it not only helps you save money, but it also helps eliminate the stress that you, the host, don’t need.

All you need to cook as the host is the turkey while the rest of friends need to bring their favorite side dishes. The side dishes each of your friends opt to make for Friendsgiving can be either the traditional ones served for Thanksgiving Dinner or their favorite side dishes in general such as macaroni and cheese, Caesar salad, and fried chicken wings, to name a few. As host, don’t forget to mention via group text or on the invitation that Friendsgiving will be done potluck style!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

2. Skip The Traditional Turkey:

Although having a turkey is the most important aspect for Thanksgiving and/or Friendsgiving, not serving one for the latter event could save you (the host) tons of money, especially if you are on a budget. While it might be controversial to not have a turkey at your gathering, it also saves you from having to prep and cook the bird, a process which takes several hours to do.

If you are considering skipping the traditional turkey for your Friendsgiving, poll all your friends who are going to the gathering to see whether each one prefers to have turkey or not. If the majority don’t want a turkey, consider other proteins to serve as the main meat item. Options include roasted chicken, barbequed baby back ribs, beef and/or pork, to name a few.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

3. DIY Decorations:

As host, you won’t have to worry so much in terms of party decorations as the food will be the main centerpiece and the talk of your Friendsgiving dinner. However, you should still dedicate a little bit of your money 0n decorations to make your house look amazing for Friendsgiving.

One way you (the host) can get amazing decorations despite being on a budget is by using DIY Decorations. Collect the colorful fall tree leaves from your front yard and backyard and use them to decorate the center of your table. You can also use the leaves to create custom place cards (see photo below) by writing each of your friends’ names in black or gold sharpie. Another creative DIY Decoration is to get some pumpkins (way before the gathering) and paint them in Thanksgiving colors and with unique patterns.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

4. Pool Money For Buying Alcohol:

Another piece of advice to consider if you are hosting Friendsgiving on a budget is for you and all your friends to pool money together to use for buying the booze. This can help you (the host) not have to stress about how much of your own money you going to need to spend on alcohol for the gathering.

Communicate to all of your friends attending Friendsgiving that money every has to chip in for the alcohol is due either a week or a few days before the event. Collect the money in person from your pals, via PayPal, Venmo, or some other money-sharing app and/or method. By having everyone chip in for the booze for Friendsgiving, it can often lead to you purchasing bulk items or better-quality alcohol (that people could afford on their own dime) for everyone to really enjoy.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

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5. Host Your Friendsgiving as a BYOB+ (Bring Your Own Booze) Event:

If you are hosting the gathering on a budget, another way to save money regarding alcohol is to host your Friendsgiving as a BYOB+ Event. The acronym “BYOB” stands for Bring Your Own Booze.

Hosting your Friendsgiving as a BYOB+ Event means that all attendees are responsible for bringing whatever they want to drink (and a little bit extra to share with everyone else). This can lead to everyone discovering new brands of certain alcoholic beverages which they enjoyed. As host, besides providing a few options of booze for your guests, fulfill your hosting duties by also supplying water and other non-alcoholic beverages such as soda for people to drink too.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

6. Party-Proof Your Home:

If you are hosting Friendsgiving at your home this year, one thing to take into consideration is making sure the party doesn’t get too rowdy that things in your house don’t get destroyed. Whenever someone hosts any kind of party at his or her own house, accidents can happen easily. Therefore, it is necessary to party-proof your home.

Either on the night before the event or hours before all your friends arrive, put all expensive items and/or nice rugs and blankets in one room of your house. Designate this one room as “Off-Limits” to everyone and be sure to let all your friends know about this as they arrive.

Another way to party-proof your home before Friendsgiving is to use disposable table coverings to protect your dining room table as your friends scoop up portions of each food item that is being served. As host, you can also use table coverings which can easily be washed to protect your nice counter tops and surfaces.

November 14, 2019

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is about spending time with family – both the family you were born with and the family you’ve chosen. That’s why Friendsgiving celebrations have become more popular in recent years. They give adults a chance to sit down and share a meal with friends they may not get to see much throughout the year.

But these gatherings aren’t always such a blessing for the host. The holidays are already an expensive time, and putting together a feast for a large group isn’t exactly cheap. So how can you throw a Friendsgiving celebration without breaking the bank?

Ask for Help

When you start planning your Friendsgiving, the key is to pitch the idea as a potluck. If you can get your friends to each bring a side or dessert, your costs will be reduced significantly.

Asking for help will also make the experience more enjoyable for you since you won’t have to cook five dishes for 15 people. Plus, your friends may have their own Thanksgiving specialties. One may have an old family recipe for pecan pie, while someone else may be a mac and cheese expert.

You can use a free site like SignUpGenius to decide who’s going to bring what. Insert the dishes you’d like people to bring, including appetizers, sides, and desserts. Friends who are a disaster in the kitchen can sign up to bring alcohol, plates, silverware, cups and other beverages.

Have the Event After Thanksgiving

To really save money on Friendsgiving, host the event a couple days after Thanksgiving. Many grocery stores will have major sales to push their pies, sides, and turkeys. Instead of shopping for TVs or clothes on Black Friday, you can hit up the grocery store.

Before you decide on this idea, make sure your friends will be around after Thanksgiving. This may work better if you go home for Thanksgiving and want to host a Friendsgiving for all your hometown friends.

Opt for Chicken

Turkey is the standard on Thanksgiving, but many of your guests will be fine with chicken. Ask your guests beforehand if they care if you serve chicken instead of turkey this year.

Chicken is usually cheaper than turkey, especially because turkey prices often spike right before Thanksgiving. You can also save time by buying a rotisserie chicken instead of roasting one yourself. Costco has a daily $4.99 rotisserie chicken deal, for example.

Ask about Dietary Restrictions

Dietary restrictions and special diets are more common these days, and it’s wise to ask your guests beforehand if they can’t have a particular kind of food. Not only is it thoughtful, but it could also keep you from having too many leftovers or wasting money making something only a couple people will eat.

Dietary restrictions can also change your budget, so it’s important to plan ahead if this will be the case. For example, if you have a friend who eats gluten-free items, let her bring the gluten-free rolls.

Freeze Food Correctly

Depending on how many friends come to your event, you may end up with a bunch of leftovers. Instead of throwing them away or putting everything in the fridge, you can freeze dishes to save for later.

Before freezing items, divide them into individual serving sizes. For example, instead of putting all the turkey into a gallon bag, divide it into several sandwich bags. That will make defrosting easier and faster, and will make it more likely that you’ll actually go through your leftovers.

Make sure to label the food with the date so you know how long it’s been in the fridge. Every couple weeks, defrost a new small batch of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Compare Fresh, Frozen and Canned

Brussel sprouts are priced differently, depending on whether you’re buying a fresh stalk or a frozen bag. The same goes for most types of food.

Before you buy what you need for Thanksgiving, make sure to compare the cost. Are frozen cranberries cheaper than fresh ones? Look at the price per ounce to compare things correctly.

Use Grocery-Saving Apps

Apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 and BerryCart give money back when you scan the receipts from a shopping trip. You can also save money beforehand by checking the available offers before shopping.

Make sure to check for coupons and read the weekly ads before you go shopping. The differences may seem minimal, but they can add up quickly – especially if you’re the one buying most of the food.

Shop in Bulk

Some grocery stores have a bulk section where you can pick out spices, nuts, and grains from containers and jugs. You can measure out only as much as you need.

This is an easy way to make a recipe without wasting money. Here’s an example: You need to make the stuffing, and you have to buy sage and thyme. You never cook with sage and thyme, so buying a couple bottles of dried sage and thyme would be overkill.

Instead of buying a full bottle that will go stale by the time next Friendsgiving rolls around, you can buy it in bulk and measure out exactly how much you need.

Bring the right measuring spoon with you to the grocery store. For example, if you need a teaspoon of nutmeg, bring a teaspoon along so you can measure out exactly how much is required for the recipe.

Shop at Different Stores

Start hunting for deals a few weeks before Thanksgiving so you can get the best discounts possible. Many items will be fine in the fridge, the pantry or the freezer. For example, butter, pie crust, a frozen turkey and cans of green beans will all keep until the day of the event.

You can also save even more by shopping at discount chains like Aldi or at a scratch-and-dent store. Make sure to compare prices before you buy. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that one store has better prices, but it’s always best to actually compare costs.

Compare Ingredients vs. Prepared Foods

It’s almost always more frugal to make a dish from scratch, but there are exceptions. For example, making homemade stuffing means you need to buy a couple loaves of bread, celery, butter, onions and more. If you buy a box mix, you’ll spend a lot less and won’t waste any food.

A box mix may not taste as good, but it’s better than a Friendsgiving with no stuffing at all.

Related

Zina Kumok (79 Posts)

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

GATHER round, y’all…. because I’ve got some of the most gorgeous Thanksgiving inspiration ever to share with you today! Let’s just call it a feast for your eyes. 😉

Tara Berger of One Stylish Party recently hosted this dreamy, blush-and-bordeaux Friendsgiving Dinner Party, and it looks like such a fun excuse for a girls night! She started with a gorgeous outdoor setting (a.k.a. her neighbor’s backyard) and filled it with rustic-glam decor, cozy pillows, chic Thanksgiving inspired appetizers and desserts, and wine-a-plenty. S o, in other words, LOTS to be thankful for if you’re a guest at this party, right?! And even though it was designed with girlfriends in mind, many of these ideas would translate beautifully to a family Thanksgiving celebration or wine-inspired bridal shower too.

Speaking of getting inspired, don’t miss Tara’s 7 Tips for Hosting a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving below. They’re super helpful and on point, and I’m especially loving numbers 5 & 6 myself!

Party Highlights to look out for:

  • “Gather” wreath featuring balloons, wood, and fresh florals (I. LOVE. THIS.)
  • Lush greenery garlands on the chair backs and table
  • Eclectic mix of risers used on the dessert table (vintage tins, books, wood, etc.)
  • Dip-dyed napkins + sparkly painted fall leaves at each place setting
  • Rose gold velvet table runner + hand-lettered apple place cards with gold names

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays. It is an excuse to gather together with some of your favorite people, similar to Thanksgiving, but without all of the stress! Here are a few tips if you are thinking about hosting a Friendsgiving dinner party this year.

1. Pick your location.
Friendsgiving tends to be a little less formal than Thanksgiving, so feel free to get creative with your location. When planning my Friendsgiving, I wanted it to have a feminine, yet cozy vibe to it, so I decided to host the party on my neighbor’s patio. The outdoor space allowed me to setup the tablescape in front of a stone fireplace that provided the perfect amount of warmth on a cool fall evening.

2. Set the Tone.
Don’t feel pressured to stick with traditional fall colors or decor. I used an unexpected color pallet of bordeaux and blush tones, which contrasted beautifully with the natural stone and wood elements on the patio. I set the dining table with vintage china and glass goblets paired with hand dyed napkins, custom menus and gold flatware. A hand lettered apple served as the placecard for each guest and a rose gold velvet table runner added the perfect pop of color and texture to the table.

3. Incorporate Fresh Florals.
Greenery and flowers can quite literally transform a space and elevate a party to a whole new level. When I hosted my Friendsgiving dinner party, I focused most of the decor on floral elements including a lush greenery garland, deep red and café au latte dahlias placed thoughtfully around the space and amaranthus draped from the fireplace and behind the serving tables..

4. Serve a Signature Drink + Classic Wines.
Get creative and whip up a fun seasonal drink, but also make sure you have all of your bases covered. I greeted guests with a honeycrisp apple sangria upon arrival and selected three wines to serve at the party, including a chardonnay, a pinot noir and a sparkling rosé. I also served apple cider for guests who wanted to skip cocktails all together.

5. Create a No-fuss Menu and Delegate the Rest.
Turkey doesn’t have to be the star of the show at Friendsgiving. I wanted the evening to be less formal, so there was no actual sit-down dinner. Instead, I created a heavy fall-inspired appetizer menu and asked each guest to bring a pot-luck dish to share. The appetizers included cranberry brie bites, polenta crostini with butternut squash and prosciutto wrapped apples with blue cheese.

6. Let the Desserts Shine.
If it were up to me, I’d probably skip the dinner and go straight for desserts! Just kidding. But I do think Friendsgiving is a fun event to serve up an array of sweet treats, such as pumpkin spice cake, gourmet donuts (which are super on trend right now), turtle cheesecake and fresh pies.

7. Leave a Lasting Impression.
As a parting gift for each guest, I created a small DIY greenery wreath that doubled as decor on the backs of the chairs during the party. My friends also surprised me with an amazing fall-themed gift basket including a bottle of wine, gourmet chocolates and an adorable fall print that I can’t wait to display in my house. Whether you are hosting an event or attending one, party favors and hostess gifts are a great way to leave a lasting impression.

I hope you enjoyed reading my tips for a throwing a Friendsgiving dinner party. The party I hosted was such a fun evening spent sharing delicious food, sweet treats and laughter with a great group of ladies. I can’t wait to make this all-girls Friendsgiving an annual tradition each year!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Try out something different this Thanksgiving and share it with your closest friends!

It may sound like more fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with a bunch of friends rather than driving home and dealing with family. Few things beat a table of great food surrounded by your closest friends, which is why Friendsgiving has become such a popular tradition in recent years.

What Is Friendsgiving, Exactly?

The name Friendsgiving is a mashup of “friends” and “Thanksgiving,” and the idea is to spend an evening with the holiday’s classic dishes and your best buds. While the show “Friends” is known for popularizing the idea, there isn’t a strict set of rules or guidelines. This freedom means that Friendsgiving is totally customizable, so here’s 10 tips to make sure yours is a success!

1. Have someone take the lead

Do you have a “mom” in your friend group (you know the one!) or someone whose organizational game is truly on point? These folks are your best bet for hosting a good party—or, at the very least, ensuring Friendsgiving runs smoothly. Appoint someone (or volunteer yourself) to send invites and coordinate food and drinks.

2. Let friends pick their dishes

This is the first step after choosing a host and a date. A Google Doc or other shared spreadsheet (with categories like appetizers, side dishes, veggies and desserts) will make planning so much easier: Friends can simply add their name and what they plan to bring.

3. Remember your friends with allergies

Chances are someone on the invite list is vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free. So ensure that there are alternatives for allergy-conscious options if any guests require them. Ask guests to tell you if they have any special diet restrictions when they RSVP, and make sure those people have at least three things to put on their plate that make a good meal.

4. Assign turkey duty to the host

Try googling “transporting a turkey.” Nope! Transporting a fully cooked turkey all but guarantees a cold supper, so the bird and gravy should be made at the host’s place. This also means the host is pardoned from making or preparing anything else. If you or your host needs some tips, don’t worry–we’ve got you covered with this handy turkey how-to from Taste of Home. Just remember to allow time for buying, thawing, cooking, and making gravy.

5. Do NOT plan to cook/prep/assemble in the host’s kitchen

Don’t. Even. Think. About. It. Your hosts are trying to get a 14-pound bird on the table, and make gravy, and answer the door, and make sure everyone has a wine glass, and stay calm because “OMG we didn’t defrost this thing early enough!” Don’t you dare show up with baking pans and a request 450°F oven.

6. Everyone should bring (and share) wine

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Everyone throws a bottle in (or two) and you’re set. But keep in mind a little organization (aka the Google Sheet) is helpful here, too, lest everyone arrive with a California Cab. Plan for a few bottles of (pre-chilled) bubbly before the meal and a mix of easy-drinking whites & reds to accompany the feast. Also, dry hard cider is a great wine alternative. If you want things to get wild and crazy afterward, that’s up to you.

7. Make sure to have enough food for everyone

This super-handy chart breaks down how much food you’ll need depending on the number of people you’re having over. I know what you’re thinking: Only three bottles of wine to split between five people. OK, so have a few extra bottles just in case.

How to Host a Friendsgiving

8. Assign snacks & hors d’oeuvres to the most reliable friend.

Assign this to people who can be trusted to arrive early. Snacks are essential while the rest of the meal is being heated up, otherwise people might freak out from hunger or black out from booze. BuzzFeed has a great list of 30-Minute Thanksgiving Hors D’Oeuvres to choose from.

9. Have a nice place setting for each guest.

Real napkins, a tablecloth, wine glasses, water glasses. Maybe even make place cards and separate couples (because that’s proper etiquette and more fun). Flowers and candles are also a nice touch. Putting the food your guests worked hard to make into a nice bowl or on a platter makes it look infinitely better and is such a nice gesture.

10. Enjoy having so many desserts.

Classic pie is essential. But when you consider that you could have a SPREAD, aim for some variation on top of the pies like cheesecakes, cupcakes, crisps, cobblers, bread puddings, bars and cookies, as well as a variety of flavors (pumpkin, apple, pear, cranberry, pecan) and you will be very happy.

Bonus Tip: To-go containers are a must!

Don’t let the leftovers go to waste! Ask someone to bring to-go containers for the group or remind guests to bring their own to make sure everyone gets a serving for the road.

With these handy tips, you’re ready to get the gang together, dig into some great food and enjoy your new favorite holiday…Friendsgiving!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

GATHER round, y’all…. because I’ve got some of the most gorgeous Thanksgiving inspiration ever to share with you today! Let’s just call it a feast for your eyes. 😉

Tara Berger of One Stylish Party recently hosted this dreamy, blush-and-bordeaux Friendsgiving Dinner Party, and it looks like such a fun excuse for a girls night! She started with a gorgeous outdoor setting (a.k.a. her neighbor’s backyard) and filled it with rustic-glam decor, cozy pillows, chic Thanksgiving inspired appetizers and desserts, and wine-a-plenty. S o, in other words, LOTS to be thankful for if you’re a guest at this party, right?! And even though it was designed with girlfriends in mind, many of these ideas would translate beautifully to a family Thanksgiving celebration or wine-inspired bridal shower too.

Speaking of getting inspired, don’t miss Tara’s 7 Tips for Hosting a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving below. They’re super helpful and on point, and I’m especially loving numbers 5 & 6 myself!

Party Highlights to look out for:

  • “Gather” wreath featuring balloons, wood, and fresh florals (I. LOVE. THIS.)
  • Lush greenery garlands on the chair backs and table
  • Eclectic mix of risers used on the dessert table (vintage tins, books, wood, etc.)
  • Dip-dyed napkins + sparkly painted fall leaves at each place setting
  • Rose gold velvet table runner + hand-lettered apple place cards with gold names

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Friendsgiving

How to Host a Chic and Cozy Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays. It is an excuse to gather together with some of your favorite people, similar to Thanksgiving, but without all of the stress! Here are a few tips if you are thinking about hosting a Friendsgiving dinner party this year.

1. Pick your location.
Friendsgiving tends to be a little less formal than Thanksgiving, so feel free to get creative with your location. When planning my Friendsgiving, I wanted it to have a feminine, yet cozy vibe to it, so I decided to host the party on my neighbor’s patio. The outdoor space allowed me to setup the tablescape in front of a stone fireplace that provided the perfect amount of warmth on a cool fall evening.

2. Set the Tone.
Don’t feel pressured to stick with traditional fall colors or decor. I used an unexpected color pallet of bordeaux and blush tones, which contrasted beautifully with the natural stone and wood elements on the patio. I set the dining table with vintage china and glass goblets paired with hand dyed napkins, custom menus and gold flatware. A hand lettered apple served as the placecard for each guest and a rose gold velvet table runner added the perfect pop of color and texture to the table.

3. Incorporate Fresh Florals.
Greenery and flowers can quite literally transform a space and elevate a party to a whole new level. When I hosted my Friendsgiving dinner party, I focused most of the decor on floral elements including a lush greenery garland, deep red and café au latte dahlias placed thoughtfully around the space and amaranthus draped from the fireplace and behind the serving tables..

4. Serve a Signature Drink + Classic Wines.
Get creative and whip up a fun seasonal drink, but also make sure you have all of your bases covered. I greeted guests with a honeycrisp apple sangria upon arrival and selected three wines to serve at the party, including a chardonnay, a pinot noir and a sparkling rosé. I also served apple cider for guests who wanted to skip cocktails all together.

5. Create a No-fuss Menu and Delegate the Rest.
Turkey doesn’t have to be the star of the show at Friendsgiving. I wanted the evening to be less formal, so there was no actual sit-down dinner. Instead, I created a heavy fall-inspired appetizer menu and asked each guest to bring a pot-luck dish to share. The appetizers included cranberry brie bites, polenta crostini with butternut squash and prosciutto wrapped apples with blue cheese.

6. Let the Desserts Shine.
If it were up to me, I’d probably skip the dinner and go straight for desserts! Just kidding. But I do think Friendsgiving is a fun event to serve up an array of sweet treats, such as pumpkin spice cake, gourmet donuts (which are super on trend right now), turtle cheesecake and fresh pies.

7. Leave a Lasting Impression.
As a parting gift for each guest, I created a small DIY greenery wreath that doubled as decor on the backs of the chairs during the party. My friends also surprised me with an amazing fall-themed gift basket including a bottle of wine, gourmet chocolates and an adorable fall print that I can’t wait to display in my house. Whether you are hosting an event or attending one, party favors and hostess gifts are a great way to leave a lasting impression.

I hope you enjoyed reading my tips for a throwing a Friendsgiving dinner party. The party I hosted was such a fun evening spent sharing delicious food, sweet treats and laughter with a great group of ladies. I can’t wait to make this all-girls Friendsgiving an annual tradition each year!

this post contains affiliate links.

Learn how to host an unforgettable Friendsgiving that is
easy, stress-free and filled with easy recipes and simple decor ideas!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Do you want to host an unforgettable Friendsgiving with your nearest and dearest who are the family we choose?!

This post is filled with easy recipes and simple decor ideas that will have you savoring the season and clinking all the glasses!

What is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving: a day to give thanks for our friends who are practically family.

Y’all. It’s the time you can have thanksgiving with your friends! And, it’s just about the best.

Besides the people gathering around your table, you’ll need a menu!

What should I serve at Friendsgiving?

The host should make the turkey and gravy, and that’s it! You have the responsibility of hosting, so delegate the other dishes and focus on your home and the main dish!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

Grandma’s Roasted Turkey is super easy to prepare, and if it’s your first rodeo, follow the step by step instructions, and it will be fabulous!

How to Host a Friendsgiving

You could send your friends these recipes to make. They pair super well together, and are also simple to make!

Ask your friends to pick up a pumpkin pie and call it fine!

For me, I’d rather have a cocktail and you can find all kinds of recipes on this post.

How should I decorate for Friendsgiving?

For an unforgettable Friendsgiving, shop your house for items you could use on your table!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Mason Jars for unscented candles
  • Books
  • Kraft Paper
  • A basket of oranges

How to Host a Friendsgiving

This table setting was made from TONS of candles in all sizes in the center of the table. Mom’s china was the place setting and cloth napkins.

If you don’t want to deal with the china and cloth napkins, you could also order bamboo plates from Amazon! They’re environmentally friendly, so no one will get their panties in a bunch over disposable items.

October 22, 2019

With Halloween just a week away, the Holiday Season is basically here, I mean soon we will be creating our Holiday Photo Cards! How is it already almost November?!

While I’m a Christmas girl all the way – I also think Thanksgiving is super special. In my childhood my Mother hosted around 20 people every. single. year. I had literally never had Thanksgiving Dinner at someone else’s house until after I moved out, so Thanksgiving was always full of that “hustle bustle” excitement and energy that holidays and hosting brings.

This year I wanted to do something special. FriendsGiving!

*This post was sponsored by Basic Invite – All opinions about the product and photos are honest, and my own.*

I know many of my friends will either be traveling or have family in town for Thanksgiving so I wanted to set aside an evening

even if it was an entire month in advance

for us to join together and celebrate being friends!

So let’s get to it!

HOW TO: Host a FriendsGiving Dinner Party

i n v i t a t i o n s

First things first. If you’re going to have a party of any kind, you have to Invite people. And let’s face it, there’s just NOTHIN like a good old fashioned paper Invitation.

For FriendsGiving we got our invitations from Basic Invite, here’s why they were so amazing:

– they have pretty much unlimited color selections

– they send a sample for you to approve before you purchase so you an be absolutely sure they created what you want.

– they have over 40 different color options for envelopes, so there is pretty much no way your envelopes have to be white, and they will for sure match!

– sending invites is SO easy with Basic Invite’s “Address Capturing Service” – you just request your recipients addresses on social media and once your friends reply it is stored in your personal Basic Invite account, then you can just select them when ordering your invites. So easy!

– they are offering 30% off with code holi30

How to Host a Friendsgiving

d e c o r a t i o n s

This is the part I always stress about! The decorations! I feel like they are somehow the easiest and hardest thing to do!

inspiration: our giant maple tree and it’s changing leaves

color story: browns, rose gold and a pop of burgundy

textiles: butcher paper, pine cones and ever green branches as well as real wood accents

t a b l e s c a p e

How to Host a FriendsgivingHere you can see I used the heavy butcher paper instead of a table cloth and I added wooden mats across the table in place of a runner. And over these I added natural elements from our yard that I painted Rose Gold. I wanted to keep the table scape SUPER SIMPLE because I knew we would have tons of kids eating at the table!

a g l a s s o f r o s e g o l d

How to Host a FriendsgivingThese were a fun and almost secret way for me to add a little more Rose Gold to our FriendsGiving Party, because let’s be real – you can NEVER have too much Rose Gold! These are toss away wine glasses, they come with a detachable base, so before putting the “glasses” together, I simply spray painted the bases. Adding small touches like this helps something as simple as a cup, feel like decorations, and is so easy to do!

d i n n e r a n d d r i n k s

c i d e r s t a t i o n

How to Host a FriendsgivingFor the Cider Station I used a wooden crate to create a rustic vibe, as well as add an extra “layer” to the table. This extra “layer” allowed me to put the flutes right at the station without overcrowding the table. Everyone LOVED being able to Spike their own Cider! We had Chilled Apple Cider, Champagne, Apple Brandy, Maple Whiskey, Cinnamon Rum and a few other Liquors for people to choose from as well as Orange Slices, Cinnamon Sticks to garnish with!

f i l l y o u r p l a t e

How to Host a FriendsgivingOk I have a MAJOR CONFESSION – I forgot to take photos of the wonderful food everyone brought before it was all gone! Sorry! This is what was left of the turkey and gravy though! We had a Pot Luck Style dinner, and it was such a hit! Everyone brought their own side dish and dessert! We had everything from the traditional Turkey, Gravy and Stuffing to Buffalo Chicken Dip and Fresh Fruit!

How to Host a FriendsgivingFor dessert I wanted to have sort of a Pie Bar situation going on, everyone brought a dessert to share. But with so many desserts we just didn’t have enough counter/table space for all that fancy stuff! So we literally had Pies, Cakes and Dessert Toppings crammed on our tiny little breakfast bar! So many desserts, so little plate and stomach space!

t h e k i d s t a b l e

As a mom I always try to make sure there are activities for kids to do at parties we have! We recently went to a party thrown by a couple that doesn’t have children, and the hostess (hey amanda. ) was so amazing and had pumpkins and paint for the kids! I mean what an angel right!? I wanted to do something different at our party so I came up with two easy activities for the kids, aside from playing on the swing set!

l i t e r a l l y t h e k i d s t a b l e

How to Host a FriendsgivingFor the Kids Table I wanted to do something fun, that they didn’t have to worry about messing up or not spilling their food/drinks on. I found this coloring book “table cloth” at Michaels as well as little wooden ornaments they could color and take home with them! As you can see it was a hit! I’ll be keeping an eye out for these coloring table “cloths” from now on just for my own kids as they didn’t want to take this one off their table once the party was over!

p i c k s o m e p e a r s

How to Host a FriendsgivingIf you keep up with my Instagram and watch my InstaStories y’all know we have Pear Trees! They are SO GOOD, they are perfectly sweet and drip down your face like a Peach does. Seriously the best Pears EVERRRRRR. We have MORE than enough for ourselves this year (and about 12 pounds in the freezer from last year) so I wanted everyone to pick some of their own! The kids had a blast and I know the parents were glad to get that “apple picking” feeling without having to pay for the fruits!

If this post gives you all the Thanksgiving Feels here are a few other Thanksgiving Posts you can check out!