Throwing a Friendsgiving feast can be one of the best times of the year, full of good food, good drinks, and great conversation. Instead of gathering with family members you only see once a year, you get to spend time eating great food with all your friends that you love! While hosting a big get together can seem daunting, we have a few tips up our sleeves to make your Friendsgiving get together a celebration that your guests will talk about through the year to come.
TIPS FOR HOSTING A WONDERFUL FRIENDSGIVING
- Consider what kind of gathering you want to have. Would an intimate evening of conversation be more your speed, or an evening of lively music, bustling guests, and large dinner portions be more appropriate? This will set the mood for the evening and invitations you share. Don’t forget to consider the size of your space.
- Create your guest list. Think of all the amazing friends in your life that you’re thankful for, then stick to either your dearest companions for a small dinner or a “more-the-merrier” approach for a lively feast. Don’t forget to consider new friends or friends who won’t be able to travel back home to their family’s Thanksgiving meal, as they will greatly appreciate a Friendsgiving invitation.
- Create the menu. Keeping in mind any dietary restrictions and preferences that your friends may have, creating the menu is where you can truly put a personal touch on your Friendsgiving event. This is the perfect time to share your family traditions with friends who may not have experienced them before or bring out a recipe for a new dish you’re dying to try. The menu should be balanced across all food groups. A wide selection will make sure that all your friends will be able to completely fill their plates.
- Send out invitations. Notifying your friends of the event in advance is always a good idea and the best way to make your event truly feel special and warm is through a physical invitation. Make sure to include an RSVP date and the list of dishes and drinks needed so that guests can RSVP with their preferred choice. You’ll likely have to contact some of the guests to tell them their preferred dish has already been claimed, but that will also encourage your friends to RSVP early!
- Deliver instructions for dishes guests should bring. Friendsgiving is all about friends coming together, and thus the tradition dictates that each friend should bring a dish to the event, potluck-style. As turkey (or an alternative main dish depending on preference) is typically the most work, the host should be responsible for cooking it. Beyond the turkey and gravy, ask your confirmed friends to bring a variety of side dishes, appetizers, and desserts.
- Gather supplies and prepare. Consider the items that you may need extras of: plates, side plates, napkins, silverware, cups, and even items like paper towels. Try to stay away from cheap-looking paper or plastic plates and go with higher quality options, like silverware if you have enough. This can elevate a gathering from a casual meal to an exquisite event.
- Don’t forget extra drinks (and ice). While most of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages should be covered from the menu, it never hurts to have extra on-hand just in case. Don’t wait until the last minute to request someone pick up a bag of ice on the way to the dinner! Prepping one fancy cocktail for everyone is a fantastic way to welcome them in.
- Start setting up in the morning. You will be busy in the kitchen all day, so before that happens, set the table with care. By doing so, you will be able to identify if there are any items missing that you may need your friends to bring last minute!
- Keep the decorations simple and elegant. Friendsgiving is all about spending time with people you are grateful for and those people will feel the same way. Don’t stress over the decorations; choose simple, subdued colors for all napkins and plates, only add a few small decorative items to the dinner table, and use votive candles in the surrounding area to make the setting feel warm and calm. For an extra personal touch, table place cards are ideal way to take the guesswork out of where everyone will sit at the table while also adding a touch of elegance.
- Find a unique way for people to share what they are grateful for. Going around the table and asking everyone to say what they are thankful for is a classic tradition, putting a fun twist on this can make it more fun and heartwarming. One option is to have everyone anonymously write down what they are thankful for on a notecard and put it into a bowl. The host can then pull these notes out one by one and have everyone guess who wrote it. Another option is to create a keepsake to remember the event by. You can pick out an item, like a decorative pumpkin or a large printed group photo, on which everyone can write what they are thankful for.
- Include Friendsgiving games. Adding games to the event is an easy way to make sure your guests are entertained throughout the day. Simple games and activities work best, as your friends will likely want to spend time chatting and catching up and may be too distracted to focus on a complex game.
- Thank you cards. Within the week after your Friendsgiving, send out thank you cards to all your attendees to show them exactly how much it meant to you for them to spend a fun day together. They’ll certainly appreciate the thought you put into the event up until this final touch.
By now, you’ve made it. Friendsgiving was a success! Next on your schedule is your holiday party! Find out how to choose a holiday party theme with these tips from Crane.