Long considered a replacement for a family-based Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving has recently emerged as a preferred alternative. Learn about why Friendsgiving is the best thing since candied sweet potatoes and how I keep mine low key and fun.
For the past few years we’ve had two November turkey dinners. One is the traditional Thanksgiving with extended family. The other is a pre-thanksgiving weekend meal with a group of friends that I used to work with. It’s so fun that we’ve kept in touch for all this time and whenever we get together it’s like we just left the office and no time has passed at all. We’ve all gotten married, had kids, and moved on to different careers. But we’re still friends, and we still love to eat together. I look forward to Friendsgiving all year long for both the food and the great company.
Hosting a feast like Friendsgiving could potentially be very stressful, but follow these Friendsgiving tips to keep it low key and enjoyable for all!
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Now, On to the Friendsgiving Tips!
Make it a Potluck
There is NO reason that you need to cook the entire meal yourself. Your friends will be glad to bring a vegetable side dish, dessert, or bottle of wine, and they may even insist upon it. Don’t just leave it up to them though, delegate a dish to each person or couple invited so you know what’s coming and what you’ll need to make to fill in the meal.
For my turkey dinners, I prepare the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I might also make a pie or two. Everything else comes from my friends: Green bean casserole, more pies, squash, cranberry sauce, rolls, etc.
Need a turkey roaster? I love this one from Calphalon
Set a Pretty Table, Not a Perfect One
It’s totally OK if you don’t have china service for 16. Most people don’t, and you don’t have to go out and buy new plates and silverware. Use what you have, and supplement with thrift store finds or inexpensive plates from a department store. With a little bit of creativity, a mismatched table will look eclectic and trendy, and I’ll bet you get complements on it.
Don’t discount disposable tableware either. There are many fancy looking options for dishes and plastic ware that will save you from having a giant pile of dishes to do at the end of the night.
Serve a signature cocktail
I always have beer and a few bottles of wine to share at dinner, but when it comes to drinks you really don’t have to have a full stocked bar with mixers and garnish. Create one or two seasonal signature drinks for the occasion and make up a batch ahead of time for convenience.
Try Hard Cider Sangria or a Cranberry Cocktail for a fall inspired cocktail that everyone will like. Whip up a non-alcoholic Autumn Chiller for those who’d rather not imbibe and you’ll have everyone covered.
Do Something Different
Who says you have to eat dinner at the dining room table? Put up tv trays and eat while watching your favorite sitcom if you want. Or get some pillows out and have dinner on the floor!
Maybe there should be a before or after dinner activity, like a board game, or a group photo shoot. Try asking your friends to write down thank you notes to each other and throwing them into a basket. Take turns reading them out loud during dinner.
The details of your Friendsgiving are what will make it memorable, so don’t try to make Friendsgiving just like a normal Thanksgiving. Be unique and give your friends a night to remember.