Most singles spend Thanksgiving with family. Or you get invited to someone else’s family celebration. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to get invited to spend the holiday with a group of friends. This is affectionately known as “Friendsgiving,” and it can be a wonderful way to spend the holiday.
Even if you’re spending the holiday with your family and haven’t been invited to a Friendsgiving celebration, you could still host one yourself the weekend before or after the holiday. And if you have no plans for the holiday or you’re actually trying to avoid family this year (it happens) then hosting a fun Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving Day may make it one of the best holidays ever – for both you AND your guests!
Not sure how to host a Friendsgiving celebration? No worries, I’ve put together some planning tips for you that will make your event one for the memory books.
Choose the date: Obviously it would be great to host your event on Thanksgiving Day, but if most of the people you’re planning to invite already have plans then a good day to have your Friendsgiving might be the Saturday before or the Friday after. Whatever day you choose, try to maximize attendance by your friends.
Guest List: Find out who has no plans, and who’s trying to avoid their plans by making alternate plans.
Invitations: Create an Evite or similar digital invitation with a Thanksgiving or Fall-themed template.
Food/Beverages: You don’t have to do all the cooking yourself! Let’s face it, a lot of cooking goes into Thanksgiving dinner, and if you want to do it all yourself you certainly can, but making it a group effort actually makes it more fun (and less work!). Make sure you create a way for guests to sign up for a dish so you don’t get all mashed potatoes and no turkey.
Or if you want to do the cooking yourself, have guests sign up for wine, other beverages, or desserts. If you’re more of a baker, you could even provide a dessert buffet yourself and ask guests to bring the dinner dishes. There are all kinds of options and variations, but just know you don’t have to do it all yourself.
If you’re doing a buffet table, make sure everything is labeled so guests know what things are. You can fold index cards in half for this and have guests fill them out with the names of their dishes. Including allergen information (gluten, nuts) is not a bad idea, either.
Make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on hand. Water and soft drinks are a must. Also make sure you have enough serving pieces in case guests show up without one, and of course enough plates, glasses and flatware.
Decorations: You don’t have to go all out here, but having the dining and/or buffet tables decorated is a must. Some easy and inexpensive centerpiece options are votive candles in glass holders, bouquets of fresh herbs in drinking glasses, small pumpkins and gourds purchased in a bag from the grocery store, and fall leaves you’ve cut or gathered yourself outside. Inexpensive placemats and cloth napkins from a discount store will make your table feel sophisticated and festive. Little name cards go a long way, as well.
Music: Set the mood. Create a playlist or find a station on Pandora or Spotify that’s appropriate to both the holiday and your crowd.
Activities: The main activity is, of course, to EAT! But you can also plan a little pre-dinner game while guests are enjoying their appetizers. Divide your guests into two or three teams and ask Thanksgiving trivia questions that you find online. The winners get a little bag of candy or a scented candle.
For after dinner, board games are a huge hit and there are no prizes required since the winners will have bragging rights.
- Prep as much as you can in advance, from food to decorations to shopping, so that you’re not frantically running around the day of the event.
- Ask guests to help with anything you don’t want to do yourself. People love to be involved so you won’t be over-stepping your bounds.
- Invite guests to bring Tupperware containers so they can all share in the leftovers. After all, what’s the best part of Thanksgiving? Plus, it doubles as a party favor. 😉
Follow the planning tips above and you’re on your way to hosting the best Friendsgiving celebration ever! Who knows, it may even become an annual event.
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