How to Host an Epic Friendsgiving
One of my friends posted the other day asking what everyone’s favorite holiday was, and I jokingly responded “National Donut Day.” Well, maybe it wasn’t entirely a joke…but! The more I thought on it, the more I realized that, although not a nationally recognized holiday, Friendsgiving was my favorite day to celebrate.
Here’s why Friendsgiving is great:
You can pull one off without too much effort
It doesn’t involve the travel you might typically endure over the holidays
It’s a great way to gather with friends and ease into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season
Are you ready to plan your first Friendsgiving? I’m going to show you how. Let’s do this!
You don’t have to invite everyone you went to college with! Extend an invite to a few friends, some coworkers, or your church small group. Last year, we hosted Friendsgiving at our house and invited our neighbors. We crammed 6 of us and our dogs into our tiny kitchen, and it was so much fun! Remember: it doesn’t have to be a large gathering to be impactful.
Pick a Date
If you’re hosting a larger group, this would be your first step. But if you’re having a smaller gathering, ask around first to figure out what day is ideal for everyone. We did a weeknight dinner because our guests could all walk to our house. If some of your guests have kiddos and an evening is too hard to accommodate, maybe host a weekend lunch! Friendsgiving brunch also has a nice ring to it. Apple cider mimosa, anyone? Yessss, please! It doesn’t even have to be the week of Thanksgiving. You can do it the week before or 2 weeks before or after. Just get your people together!
Plan out Your Meal
If you’re a culinary wizard, this part might not stress you out. If you’re the rest of us, you might be reconsidering this whole idea. But there’s a very easy way to do this, and that is by making your gathering a potluck! Ask everyone what they’re comfortable cooking or bringing. I think it goes without saying that the turkey is the most stress-inducing part of the meal. Our neighbor immediately volunteered to cook the turkey, and I appreciate that kind of confidence, so I told her to go for it. And it was delicious! And no one was stressed! If no one has the time, resources, or skill level to commit to preparing a turkey, grab some rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and call it a day! If you don’t know how to cook (like me!) or are coming straight from work, pick up supplies to make a cheese plate and grab a bottle of wine on the way. Easy peasy!
Add Some Personal Touches
This is my favorite part! The extra little details you put into something always make the biggest impact! Here are some of my favorites:
A Signature Drink
It could be mulled wine, a seasonal cocktail, your favorite chai tea, cranberry and orange infused water…the options are endless! Think about what your guests would enjoy and get creative! Depending on how much space you have, you may be able to have a few different options.
A Party Playlist
Music is a quick way to set the vibe for your gathering. My husband loves to make a party playlist, and he will make one for ANYTHING. He made a few for our wedding. He made one for our neighbors’ Halloween party. We had one for our dog’s birthday party. Whether we host an event or not, Justin is making a playlist for it. If someone in your group is always the one grabbing for the aux cord, ask them if they’d like to make a playlist! There are also tons of options online. The Davines Supper Playlist on Spotify is great for a chill, casual environment.
Decorate the table
Oh man, I love a good tablescape! Last year, to cover up our ugly Ikea dining table that I’d had since college (WHICH I HAVE FINALLY REPLACED!!!), I bought a cream and silver tablecloth from Target. I had a “living” runner made out of eucalyptus. I purchased votives, votive holders, gold rimmed glasses (which they have again this year!), and dark gray napkins from World Market. I don’t think I spent over $100! I used our existing plates and flatware and rounded up some crystals from around the house. Our neighbors brought their themed salt and pepper shakers. It was perfect! This year, I’m going to try to work up some calligraphy skills so I can make cute little place cards!
A photo op
Everyone has gifts they bring to the table (PUN MOST DEFINITELY INTENDED), and if you know me, you know that has nothing to do with food. It’s for everyone’s benefit - trust me! Whipping up a photobooth is my spiritual gift. People (except my husband) love a photo op! You can get as creative with this as you’d like. Maybe you have a blank wall in your house that you can stand in front of with a letterboard that has the date of your event and a special hashtag. Maybe you make a giant, festive Polaroid frame for your guests to snap a pic with. Maybe you already have your Christmas tree up for people to pose in front of. It’s a fun way to remember your gathering, and can also help kill time if the food isn’t quite ready yet!
A dose of gratitude
I know, I know — it sounds super cheesy, but there’s something special about hearing what your loved ones are grateful for! You could go around the table before your meal and share with the group. A fun twist would be for everyone to write theirs down and see if people in the group can guess who wrote what!
A parting gift
Because you want to remember your Friendsgiving forever! Or at least when you’re trapped in the parking deck at the mall with 700 other people the week before Christmas trying to find a gift for that one family member you kiiiind of forgot about. Think of the good times! A parting gift could be something small. Take home containers so you can divvy up the leftovers from your meal (no one needs to take home 12 servings of green bean casserole, amiright?)! The Polaroids from your photo booth adventures! The recipe for your signature drink and some of the ingredients! Treats for them to take home to their pups! A small thoughtful gesture to thank them for coming is always appreciated and doesn’t have to be too costly.
What do you think? Are you going to host your own Friendsgiving? Or is this a tradition you already celebrate?