Holidays tend to revolve around families, but for so many of us, our friends are like family. That truth, coupled with the reality that it can be hard to make it to family gatherings when we live in different cities, means that hosting a Friendsgiving celebration can be as special and meaningful as a traditional Thanksgiving with family. In other cases, Friendsgiving can be a pre- or post-Thanksgiving event that allows us to celebrate the holiday with both friends and family – win-win!
For those planning on hosting a Friendsgiving this year, here are a few tips and tricks to ensure it’s a memorable, celebratory occasion (filled with delicious food – a MUST!).
This can be tricky, because it’s natural to want to include all your friends in this celebration. But instead, think about how many people you can comfortably seat in your home (ideally, with access to some sort of table, too). You can always borrow tables and chairs from friends to supplement your own assortment, but be mindful of how many people you’ll be able to have in your home without it feeling too cramped or hindering meaningful conversation. This “magic number” will be a bit different for everyone – just pick what it is for you.
Realize not everyone can make it.
The holiday season brings with it obligations, parties and more that make for full calendars all around. As much as you’d like a 100% attendance rate among the folks you invite, it’s helpful to acknowledge that it’s likely not everyone can make it – and that’s okay! Pick a date that works well for you and stick with it, rather than shifting things around to try to accommodate for schedules. (Tip: The farther in advance you plan your Friendsgiving, the more likely you’ll be able to get on friends’ calendars early, ensuring their attendance.)
Pick a menu theme.
Just because Thanksgiving calls for turkey doesn’t mean you have to go that route, especially if your Friendsgiving is a complement to actual Thanksgiving and your guests will be enjoying the traditional meal there. No one will be disappointed if you take the classic turkey-and-all-the-trimmings route (and it can be a good time for your friends to share their favorite holiday family recipes with this group), but you also have liberty to mix things up a bit. A taco bar, BBQ or Mediterranean meal could be the perfect fit this year!
Let the food, friendship, conversation and laughter be the true centerpiece of your meal. Feel free to brighten your tables with flowers or autumnal vegetables for decoration, but don’t stress about going all out on that front. There are plenty of better ways to spend your energy (and your dollars!).
Sure, you can do it all, but you don’t have to.
Though it can be tempting for the Type A among us to want to shoulder the whole load when hosting an event, let your guests take ownership of this celebration as well. Ask them to bring side dishes, bottles of wine, even centerpieces to keep your stress level low (and to keep the event from getting too expensive on your end).
Introduce a tradition.
Maybe this year is your first Friendsgiving celebration, or perhaps it’s something you’ve been doing for years with this group. Regardless, it can be fun to create a tradition for this annual event. That tradition might come about organically, or it can be something you initiate, but it can make this event even more special.