Whether you are a seasoned Friendsgiving host or you are trying it out for the first time this year, this step-by-step guide tells you everything you need to know in the planning process for how to host Friendsgiving.
Everybody celebrates each holiday differently, but whatever your situation is during this holiday season, the best way to make the most of Thanksgiving is to celebrate it with your friends. It's the perfect excuse to enjoy each other's company, eat good food, play games, and celebrate together. Hosting a Friendsgiving can be a delightful and heartwarming experience, and with a bit of planning and creativity, you can make it a night to remember and cherish for all of your friends in years to come.
My family lives in several different places, so I have become quite the expert in recent years on how to host the best Friendsgiving. In this post, you will find tons of amazing and unique Friendsgiving ideas to have the best night of food and laughter with your closest friends. This tradition has quickly become one of my favorite events every year, and I am so excited to share this how to host Friendsgiving step-by-step guide with you.
This post is all about how to host Friendsgiving at home.
1. DECIDE ON THE DATE, GUEST LIST, AND LOCATION
First things first for how to host Friendsgiving is deciding where and when you want it to take place. Make sure you start thinking about this far enough in advance so that everyone you want to make it will be able to.
Especially if you have friends who live in different cities or states, make sure they know far enough in advance so they can make it.
Booking flights or driving to another state this time of year can be challenging!
I like to have Friendsgiving about a week before the actual Thanksgiving. Most of my friends are usually home around that time, making inviting them automatically easier.
If I host before Thanksgiving it doesn't quite work out, you can always have it after Thanksgiving, too.
The Thanksgiving spirit may have died down, but it can still be super fun if this is the only time that works for you.
You also need to decide where you want to have it.
The simplest location is to have it at your house, apartment, condo, etc., but if that isn't an option, you can totally get creative.
If you live in a warm state, you could host Friendsgiving outside! How fun would this be?
The last major decision to make is who you would like to include on the guestlist for Friendsgiving.
Depending on the size of the dinner you would like, the guest list could be extensive, or you could only have your few closest friends. Either way, make sure you decide this as early as possible, as it is crucial to know your party size and who is coming for the rest of the planning and food preparation.
There are many different ways to invite your friends to your Friendsgiving party:
- Create physical invitations or
- Create e-vites and send them via email or snail mail if you have addresses for all your friends.
- There are so many online shops to create and purchase cute and cheap party invitations that would ultimately elevate your dinner party!
- Or, if you want your Friendsgiving to be more relaxed, you can always send your friends informal text messages, which works just as well.
*Etsy is always a great place to look for invitations of any occasion.
2. PLANNING THE FEAST
Let's be honest: the most essential part of the entire Friendsgiving is the Friendsgiving menu. Isn't that the main reason we all go?? 😉 Just kidding, I know it's to see and celebrate with your friends, but the food and drinks are super important and take more planning than you probably think.
This section will tell you everything you should know about the food portion of how to host a good Friendsgiving dinner.
The first thing I do every year is put together a list of the classic Thanksgiving dishes and the things I usually cook or bake for the meal every year.
You want to cover every base and not miss anything that may be someone else's favorite dish.
My main meal list always includes:
- turkey (obviously)
- mashed potatoes
- sweet potato casserole
- green bean casserole
- bread rolls
- corn & other veggies.
Then, I offer a small appetizer and, of course, 2-3 pies for dessert. And don't forget Friendsgiving drinks!
You don't want your guests to be thirsty, so stock up on soda, alcohol, or whatever else you and your friends love to drink for the night.
Friendsgiving is also not the time to try cooking everything on your own.
When your friends RSVP to the party, ask them to contribute to the spread (like a potluck) by cooking something on your list or bringing something they may have every year on Thanksgiving that is unique to their family's celebration. This dinner is such a fun time to see what other people do on Thanksgiving and get new Friendsgiving food ideas!
Make sure to note what everybody is planning on bringing so you end up with about one of everything. I always cook the turkey and a few other dishes, then leave the other dishes up to my guests.
Once you know what you are making and what your friends are making, create a timeline for making all your dishes. A timeline can be frustrating and meticulous, but planning this much in detail will save you a lot of time and stress later on, trust me!
3. HOW TO DECORATE
One of the most critical parts of any party is the decor!! It makes a party feel so much more festive and put together, and if the party's prettier, then the food will taste better! I love finding cute decorations, and I am good at finding unique decor for different occasions.
If you're like me and love to put together decorations, this section about how to organize Friendsgiving is for you.
Some significant decor pieces to consider for Friendsgiving:
- table decorations
- table settings for your guests
- a photoshoot backdrop
I love flowers in vases or a bowl with fruit or squash for centerpieces. You can find seasonal flowers at a local grocery store or Trader Joe's (they have the BEST flowers for super cheap), or I like to use fake sticks, leaves, or dried flora, which would look great for Friendsgiving. Pumpkins and squash are classic fall decorations and would make an excellent centerpiece or other table decoration around the centerpiece.
SHOP FRIENDSGIVING TABLE DECOR IDEAS
Get creative with table settings, too! I love making little name cards for my friends and placing them where they should sit at the table.
These pumpkin place card holders are to die for.
I always roll up napkins and get napkin rings for the holiday (you can find cheap ones pretty much anywhere, and they will make your dinner look very professional).
To make it look even more professional and put together, I set out everybody's glasses, plates, utensils, etc., making the table look beautiful and like I really know what I'm doing, lol.
SHOP FRIENDSGIVING TABLE DECOR IDEAS
If you would like to make a photoshoot part of your night, you need to make sure you have an excellent spot to take pictures, too! Garland, streamers, balloons, and funny props to hold during a photo are just some ideas to make a super simple yet cute photoshoot backdrop. These balloons are my favorite decoration, and these props would look super cute in photos or as decor on the table, too!
Last but not least, you should think about if you want to play music throughout the night.
Spotify has so many dinner playlists that would fit the Friendsgiving vibe perfectly. Make sure you have a way to play it throughout your house or apartment, and remember to play it, too!
4. CONSIDER GAMES OR ACTIVITIES
At this point, you should have a good idea of how to host Friendsgiving, but there are a few more things to consider about the planning process before you begin.
I always enjoy planning a couple of games or activities to do throughout the night.
I love going around at dinner and having everyone tell us what they're thankful for this year, but you can play so many fun games with any size group, too.
Board or card games would be fun after dinner, or there are so many good game ideas for Thanksgiving on Pinterest, too.
5. GO SHOPPING!
The most important part of the Friendsgiving checklist is to buy all the groceries and decorations ahead of time!
Make sure you're going shopping with a shopping list! Check the list over several times to ensure you have everything you need.
I recommend going shopping at least 2 or 3 days before the day of your Friendsgiving dinner. This way, you can ensure you have everything you need for the party, and if you forget anything, you have plenty of time to return to the store.
If you need to order anything online, like decor from Amazon, I recommend doing that about a week in advance. Even with Prime shipping, you never know when something is actually going to arrive. And if you realize you need more of something, you'll have plenty of time to get it.
Another thing I would consider getting when you go grocery shopping is paper towels, plastic utensils, plastic cups, plastic plates, etc. It makes cleaning up and washing the dishes 10x easier, which no one wants to do after cooking a huge meal anyway.
6. EXTRA TIPS & TRICKS
- Precut veggies and make easy dishes the night before so you can focus on the more important dishes the day of.
- Make your life easier by buying canned beverages, making a pitcher of sangria or another fall-themed cocktail, or allowing your guests to make their drinks at a drink station throughout the night.
- Keep appetizers simple. Nobody wants to get full before the feast begins!
- Make sure you have serving dishes/utensils for all the food. Ask everyone to bring their own serving dishes and utensils, too.
- Remember how many people you are hosting and tell your guests so that you don't end up with too much food or not enough.
- Offer to-go boxes! To-go boxes are such a cute idea to ensure everyone takes home a little bit of each dish.
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