1. What is Friendsgiving?
Did you know that Friendsgiving is an actual legit word now? According to dictionary.com, Friendsgiving is “a gathering of friends to celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast, falling near or on Thanksgiving Day.” On urban dictionary you can find it to mean “a holiday for people who resent their real family.” Whatever your reasons for hosting Friendsgiving, the main purpose is to eat, drink, talk, and have fun with people you love like family.
2. Who Should I Invite?
Friendsgiving usually works best with a group of people who all know each other. No one wants to spend additional time answering questions about their life and participating in small talk all night. We get enough of that at Thanksgiving with Grandma and Great Aunt Mary. ;o) We have done Friendsgiving with friends who stayed in town during residency training, and also with our church small group.
3. Who Cooks the Turkey?
Typically the host is responsible for the turkey and gravy, mainly because it is quite difficult to transport hot poultry with no casualties. Of course, this can be amended if your friend has an awesome turkey fryer and offers to bring the bird.
4. What Should Guests Bring?
The easiest way to make sure you don’t have a table full of mashed potatoes is to have a food sign up. You can do this over group text, email, a group messaging app, or whatever your preferred method of communication is with your friends.
Some ground rules to remember:
- The first one to claim a dish gets it
- All cooking and prep should be done AT HOME before Friendsgiving
- Make sure friends with food allergies or dietary needs have something to eat
- All guests should also bring wine to share or leave with the host
5. When Should We Have Our Feast?
If you are having Friendsgiving instead of Thanksgiving, then obviously you would choose Thanksgiving Day. If your Friendsgiving is an additional feast, it is probably better to choose a date before Thanksgiving. This way people won’t have tired of turkey and are probably still in town. Also keep in mind that while Thanksgiving is typically a whole day event, Friendsgiving can also occur on an evening which makes scheduling a bit easier.
6. What Do I Wear?
Whatever you decide you want the dress code to be, make sure you communicate it to your guests. No one likes to show up in heels when other people are in their “turkey pants.” I think that part of the Friendsgiving fun is making the feast a special occasion, so I prefer to go with a dressy casual theme.
7. How Do I Set the Table?
You can go one of two ways here, depending on how fancy you want your Friendsgiving to be. If you have been itching for a chance to use your “nice” dishes (because goodness knows those things don’t come out with the kids around), then by all means go all out. Make place cards, use real silverware, and brush up on your etiquette rules about fork placement. Just remember someone has to clean all of those dishes!
The other choice would be to use nice but disposable plates and silverware. This is almost always the way I go, because I would much rather spend time socializing than washing dishes. Last year for Friendsgiving I found some festive plates on Amazon that looked like real dishes, and I got lots of compliments on them!
I also like to cover the table with brown paper. It’s great for painting some festive décor on the table, labeling dishes, and assigning seats. Then when dinner is over all you have to do is throw it away and your table is still clean!
8. Who Cleans Up?
Most likely scenario: People will clear their plates, and some of your friends will step up and offer to wash the dishes. If you used disposable plates this job is minimal and you will be patting yourself on the back. If not, you will be patting your friends on the back and thanking them for being awesome.
If no one offers to help with dishes, resign yourself to doing them later and enjoy your friends. And do not feel bad for a second about sending your friends home with a dirty serving dish to wash later.
9. Who Gets the Leftovers?
The host gets first dibs on leftovers, since they have a cabinet of Tupperware on hand. Anyone else wanting to take some home should bring their own containers or plastic bags to put it in. Mention this ahead of time so people can be prepared.
10. Do I Need to Plan Activities?
Part of the fun of Friendsgiving is starting your own traditions. But I caution you to know your audience. If your friends will roll their eyes at sharing what they are thankful for around the table, have them answer a different question. “What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” or “If your life was a TV show, which one would you want it to be?” can provide some lively dinner conversation.
What you do after the meal can become tradition too. Do you play charades? Watch football? Go outside for a cornhole tournament? Whatever it is, make it a tradition. Unless it bombs, then start a new tradition next year. ;o)