Who needs a holiday fraught with family drama when they could have a fun and stress-free Friendsgiving meal instead? Whether it replaces the main Thanksgiving meal, or just becomes a welcome addition to the long weekend, planning a Friendsgiving potluck is the perfect way to truly enjoy the holiday festivities.
Not sure exactly how to host Friendsgiving? Just follow these 10 Friendsgiving ideas designed to minimize the work, maximize the fun and, most importantly, make sure that everyone has a seriously great time.
1. Friendsgiving Ideas: Create a Theme
Unlike a traditional Thanksgiving meal, hosting Friendsgiving means it’s ok to think outside of the box. Pick a Halloween theme and create a built-in excuse not to take down the decorations from last month. Or get a head start on the December rush and go with a Christmas theme, instead. Either way, rolling two fun holidays into one celebration is how to do Friendsgiving with flair—and with a little lighter workload.
2. Make it a Friendsgiving Potluck
When sending out invites, get organized and include a link to a potluck sign-up. Ask guests to bring items like side dishes, salads, drinks, desserts or even extra dinnerware. Make sure to use a platform, like Google docs, that automatically includes real-time updates for everyone. That’s the best way to avoid dish repetition or to arrive at the Thanksgiving meal and realize no one brought the wine!
3. How to Host Friendsgiving: Create a Bond
Merging friend groups or hosting pals who’ve never met before? Help them avoid awkward introductions and stilted conversations by planning some ice breaking activities for the evening. Whether that means playing Cards Against Humanity, or simply forcing each guest at the table to say his or her name and a favorite food that begins with the same letter, this is one way to create an instant bond among a disparate crew.
After the meal is over and friends head back to their own homes, no one wants to be stuck with a ton of cleanup. Consider using pretty disposable dishes and utensils to avoid endless hours of washing and to reduce the countless dishwasher cycles. Better yet? If hosting a large group of guests, consider hiring a small crew to arrive as the Thanksgiving meal is winding down, to help with clearing, packing up leftovers and to do any washing that has to happen.
5. How to Do Friendsgiving: Stock up on Liquor—and Split the Cost
Good friends having a good time together will likely want to share a toast…or 10. Make sure to stock up on wine and spirits, and set out enough drinkware to keep the beverages flowing all night long. Not blessed with a fully stocked home bar? Not to worry: simply add glassware—and multiple varieties of beverages—to the Friendsgiving potluck sign up. This will help fill the void and offset some of the expense of hosting.
6. Craft a Fun and Manageable Menu
Especially for people who are attending Friendsgiving as well as a traditional Thanksgiving meal, turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes can get pretty old, pretty fast. Instead, add fun new recipes to the list of traditional dishes. Work with the theme. Or ask each guest to bring a dish that elicits a favorite childhood memory or represents their cultural heritage, since that can also double up as an ice breaking activity. Whatever the method, the goal is to create a Friendsgiving meal that’s fresh and interesting. Be sure to include a blend of stove top and oven-cooked dishes, to simplify the prepping. And include dishes that can be served at room temperature in addition to warm items, since this will make it easier to get everything ready for the actual meal.
7. Consider Safety at the Friendsgiving PotLuck
From gluten and dairy-free diets to nut and egg allergies, the odds are high that several guests will need to avoid certain dishes at the Thanksgiving meal. Show consideration—and spare everyone from constant queries about ingredients—by ensuring that all dishes are labeled for known allergens. It may even be worth asking guests to highlight their allergies when they RSVP to the initial invitation.
8. How to Host Friendsgiving: Go with A Different Kind of Decor
Instead of trying to create a Pinterest-worthy table runner in the midst of all those other hosting duties, pick décor designed to give guests a great time. Live in a place, like Chicago, where Thanksgiving Day will likely be chilly? Get cozy with decorations, scattering plush pillows and yummy blankets in strategic resting spots around the Thanksgiving table. This creates an inviting atmosphere, and offers guests an easy solution when the turkey-induced sleepiness hits them hard. After that? Grab some paper goods or tablecloths in classic fall colors, add in a strategically placed gourd or two, and the atmosphere will be spot-on for a fun and low-key Friendsgiving gathering.
9. How to Do Friendsgiving: Expand That Shopping List
One of the best tips for hosting any kind of Thanksgiving meal is to pre-plan the menu and create a shopping list well in advance of the gathering. But it’s important to add more than just meal ingredients. Because, when all those guests come into the house, support items like paper towels, toilet paper, soap and garbage bags will start flying off the shelves. To avoid an awkward encounter, stock up on these basics well ahead of the holiday, so that guests can toss trash and use the facilities without fear of missing products.
10. Relax and Tune in to Round Out the Day
One of the best Friendsgiving ideas in existence is to create a designated playlist for the Thanksgiving meal. This kind of gathering is meant to have a more relaxed vibe than a traditional, family-filled dinner. So, to fuel that vibe, get creative and playful with the playlist: pick a favorite decade, or make an unexpected genre choice like country-crossover hits. There’s no such thing as going too wacky here: the kookier the choices, the more fun—and memorable—the meal becomes!
Do you have plans for Friendsgiving this year? Share any other Friendsgiving ideas for a fun meal in the comments below!
SHOP ITEAMS FOR A FUN FRIENDSGIVING MEAL