If your friends are like family, or you don’t have family living close by, this holiday season you might consider hosting a Friendsgiving feast! Think of this as a laid back version of Thanksgiving, but with friends, neighbors, and anyone else who isn’t an “official” relative! Anything goes with Friendsgiving—you can certainly follow Thanksgiving’s lead, but if you’re new to the fun, here are a few tips on how to host a memorable day:
Start with cocktail hour. Nothing welcomes guests like a festive drink. Try something cranberry infused like a fruity martini, cider-based drink, or a pumpkin cocktail of some kind. You could serve a few light appetizers or a charcuterie plate as well. This “thankful hour” is meant to catch up with friends and make them feel at home, so make sure you prep your food ahead of time so you’re part of the conversation as well.
Consider doing some prep together. There is something special about cooking with your guests, as long as it doesn’t feel too laborious. If your friends are happy to pitch in, you might give each of them a job that helps you out with a few of the side dishes or other hosting duties. Tossing a salad, chopping up a few final ingredients, or filling glasses with ice water for the table are all easy tasks to assign, and you can do these things together while visiting and drinking wine.
Create a beautiful centerpiece. A lovely tablespace grabs your guests’ attention and brightens up your dining room. Try a large vase filled with small gourds on a table runner. Go traditional with fall florals in a vase flanked by tapered candles. Or try something totally different like colorful leaves in a bowl of water.
Jazz up your menu. Feel free to break from the traditional Thanksgiving menu of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie for your Friendsgiving. Give your meal a modern twist—fried turkey, Cajun turkey, or turkey tenderloin with traditional and alternative side dishes. Or, go unique with your favorite international cuisine, all small plates, or a main dish like ribs or seafood.
Take time to give thanks. Like Thanksgiving, the whole point of Friendsgiving is to celebrate your loved ones, so incorporate an activity during your meal that invites guests to share what they’re grateful for. This could be as simple as going around the table or you could put a small sheet of paper and pen at each place setting and have guests write three things they appreciate about the past year.
Don’t forget the dessert. If you don’t want to burden your guests with side dishes or appetizers, dessert is a great course to outsource! Pick a theme—chocolate, fruit, or pie, maybe—or do something creative like an ice cream sundae bar with all kinds of toppings. Put the sweet spread out on the kitchen island and make a pot of coffee.
A final tip: finish your night doing something you and your friends love doing together. What do you and your friends like? Dancing? Playing board games? Curling up for movie night? Relaxing in the great room by the fireplace and visiting? Make this holiday your very own! It’s meant to be celebratory and fun—so, do what you love to do with the people you love. That’s what Friendsgiving is all about!