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
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.
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!