Friendsgiving: [noun] A Thanksgiving gathering with your friends, instead of family.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for a few reasons; the amazing food, spending time with family, and knowing Christmas is right around the corner. But sometimes you don’t have family nearby or dealing with family is a lot and you enjoy spending time with your friends. Maybe you have both Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving. We started the Friendsgiving tradition in law school since there were a few friends who couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving. If you’ve never celebrated Friendsgiving, I encourage you to try it. Invite a few friends over for some good food and it’s got all the fun of Thanksgiving and tends to be a little less stressful. Here are a few suggestions on how to host Friendsgiving and enjoy it!
I know some people don’t love planning ahead, but this is very necessary if you’re hosting Friendsgiving! The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Each one of your friends will have commitments that fill their weekends very quickly! Traveling, holiday pictures, family get-togethers, sports, the list goes on and on. The more people, the more complicated selecting a date can get. If you are considering a large group of friends, reach out as early as possible and try to find a date that works best for everyone. Decide beforehand if this will be an adult-only Friendsgiving or if kids will be attending too. This will make a big difference in everyone’s availability!
The key to a (much less stressful) Friendsgiving is to make sure everyone brings a dish or drinks. If you end up hosting and doing all the cooking, you’re going to be exhausted and not enjoy yourself. Usually, the hostess will cook the turkey since it is the main attraction and definitely most difficult to transport! Send out a group message to your friends asking them to bring some sides and dessert. Most people have a go-to Thanksgiving dish and are happy to bring and share! This way, no one person is overwhelmed with cooking and everyone can participate. And despite what (the queen) Ina Garten says, store-bought is okay too! Make sure to double-check if anyone in your group has allergies. If they do, you have options!
A few suggestions for side dishes are green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, corn, and stuffing. Of course, salad, bread, and wine are also necessary! A fall-themed cocktail is always a favorite for me. Coming up with a special drink for the night is always fun.
If you need some inspiration for what to take to your Friendsgiving, check out this post.
Have fun with this! You can set the tone for Friendsgiving by sending out invitations (digital or paper). There are plenty of templates on Etsy and Pinterest that you can customize for invitations, menus, and more. It’s always a cute idea to set a little card at each place setting so every guest can share what they are thankful for. Don’t feel like you have to spend days decorating or spend a ton of money on decor. I have been at Friendsgiving gatherings that went all out and others that took a minimalist approach. The verdict: they were both incredibly fun and had delicious food.
Depending on how many people you host, you might want to take the party outside! Miami weather tends to be cooperative around Thanksgiving.
Hosting Friendsgiving can feel intimidating, but I hope this has helped you realize it doesn’t have to be. All you need are friends, food, and a place to eat! And a cocktail in hand never hurts. I know as moms we feel like we can tackle everything, but make sure you don’t take on every single little thing. This way, you can host AND enjoy yourself.