Friendsgiving is when you and your closest friends come together and enjoy a Thanksgiving-style dinner. It’s an evening to get together to celebrate the year, rejoice in gratitude with one another, and enjoy a delicious feast. It’s often a more relaxed and casual vibe than traditional Thanksgiving.
Friendsgiving doesn’t have an actual date. It’s just a time when you and your closest friends can come together to have dinner and give thanks for your friendship. But it is usually celebrated around the Thanksgiving holiday.
I love Friendsgiving because it is more casual and relaxed than your traditional Thanksgiving. And it still boasts all the delicious meals as a traditional Thanksgiving.
Whether this is your first time hosting Friendsgiving or you’re looking for new ways to plan your Friendsgiving dinner party, here are some tips for hosting an incredibly fun and stress-free Friendsgiving Dinner:
Planning ahead will help to reduce some of the stress that comes with hosting a Friendsgiving dinner. And even if you plan a lot, I’m sure there are going to be moments when you might feel a little overwhelmed. However, if you plan, it will help to reduce some of those feelings of stress and feeling overwhelmed.
Go ahead and download my Friendsgiving planner page and grab a pen to jot everything down. Check things off along the way as you get them done. There’s also space for you to write down your additional notes.
Or you can use an electronic planner if you prefer to type everything out.
I have found that when I have everything written out in front of me, it’s much easier to see if I have everything I need or if there is still something missing. It gives me piece of mind and satisfaction as I check things off my list.
Keep reading for your free Friendsgiving Party Planning Checklist that you can download. You can use the checklist to help plan your Friendsgiving Dinner Party.
Send Out Invitations
Send out invitations to your friends. You can mail out paper invitations or send a virtual one. Whether you decide to go snail mail or send one virtually, get creative and have fun with your invitation design.
You can find some invitations on Etsy that are incredibly adorable or you can make your own using Canva.
Friendsgiving Dinner is meant to be fun, casual, and relaxed. Set the tone with a playful invitation. They’re sweet and much more thoughtful than just a text or email.
Pot Luck Dinner
Having a potluck for Friendsgiving Dinner helps to reduce some of the stress because you don’t have to prepare all the meals by yourself.
You can prepare a Google spreadsheet with all of the items that you would like to have at your Friendsgiving dinner and have people sign up for it. Or you can just designate one item for each friend to bring.
If you’re designating items for your friends to bring, just be mindful of their abilities. If you have some friends who are known for their skills in the kitchen and like to cook and bake, then you can designate them with a dessert or more complicated dish if they enjoy making it.
And if you have some guy friends who are not into cooking, you can just ask them to bring a bottle of wine or some simple store bought appetizers.
Potluck dinners are a great way for everyone to be involved, contribute to Friendsgiving dinner, and ensure that everyone brings something that they like.
Prepare As Much Food The Night Before
When I host Friendsgiving dinner, I like to be the one who prepares the bulk of the heavy meals. Since I’m hosting, I feel like that’s my responsibility. I prefer guests to bring more side items like mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and desserts.
I’ll prepare the turkey and ham and have a few extra items prepared. I will try to prepare everything days in advance or the night before. This will help to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done the day of.
You never know when there may be last-minute surprises or things that pop up that may need your attention. So try to get as much done as you can the night before; that way, you have extra time just in case anything may need your attention the day of.
Decorate Your Home and Set The Table
Decorating your home and setting the table will set the ambiance for the evening. It will wow your guests to have a nice table setting and festive fall decorations around your home.
You don’t need to break the bank to decorate your home.
You can find some great seasonal finds at Target or online at Amazon.
Having a nice tablecloth with a few pumpkins and autumn leaves scattered on top can look nice. You can also decorate your home with signs that say “Happy Thanksgiving, Give Thanks, Gratitude, and Thankful for you.”
Decorating your home can be done a few days before and setting the table can be done the night before the party. This helps to reduce the amount of work that needs to get done the day of and you focus your time and energy on any last minute cooking and preparing for your guests.
Fall-Inspired Charcuterie Board
I love charcuterie boards. I think they’re so fun, festive, and great for snacking.
Guests can graze on the charcuterie board while they’re waiting for everyone to arrive. They can also snack on the charcuterie board while they’re waiting for dinner to start.
Have a Buffet Style Set Up For Friendsgiving Dinner
A buffet-style setup allows everyone to grab food as they please and get seconds (and thirds!) when they’re ready.
A buffet-style setup is a lot less stressful than having to place all the food on the table and having to pass everything around. Or ask someone for the casserole on the far end of the table.
Set all the food on a table or your kitchen island with some tongs and allow your guests to serve themselves as they please.
Have extra plates and silverware readily available for guests to use.
Set Up A Self- Serve Drink Area
A self-serve drink area allows guests to freely grab drinks throughout the evening without having to hassle the host to top them off.
You can have a cooler with beer, bottled water, and small wines that are ready for guests to grab.
Another idea is to have one or two prepared cocktail drinks. I love mulled wine. It’s delicious, easy to make, and cheap as well.
To make mulled wine, grab a couple of two-dollar wines from Trader Joe’s, and put it in a pot with honey, a couple of orange slices, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, and spices. When you’re done making the mulled wine, pour it into a pitcher to keep it warm and have it on the counter ready for guests to serve.
You can also have a cocktail station with the recipe written out for guests to make as they please.
I’m more of a wine drinker. I like having a few wine bottles laid out with some wine glasses.
You can have washable glass markers so that guests can label their glasses or you can use these fine wine glass toppers that people can place on their wine glasses so that they don’t get them mixed up.
Decorate a Wall For Photo Ops
A photo wall is fun because it allows you and your friends to pose for photos.
My friends and I don’t see each other often and so when we do, we’re always taking pictures for memories.
Pick an empty wall in your home to use as a backdrop for your photo op. Put up some holiday streamers and a banner that says “Friendsgiving 2023 or Family is the friends we choose.”
Have fun accessories lying around that your friends can use to pose with in their pictures. You can have items like large sunglasses, crazy hats, wigs, and quote signs for guests to take pictures with.
It will be an awesome opportunity for everyone to take be silly, pose for pictures and make memories.
Plan 2-3 Party Games For The Evening
Games help bring everyone together and they’re great entertainment for the night. I like playing easy games that don’t require too much thinking and effort. We’re all here to relax and have fun right?
A couple of Thanksgiving-themed games can be:
- Thanksgiving Bingo
- Scavenger Hunt
- Thanksgiving Themed Family Feud
Some fun prizes can be:
- A nice bottle of wine
- A soft, fuzzy, fleece blanket
- Fall scented candles
- A boxed set of different teas
Karaoke is another fun thing that my friends and I love doing when we get together. We don’t have any fancy karaoke system so we just play songs with the lyrics on YouTube.
I found this wireless microphone on Amazon that has a speaker. It’s great because it’s wireless so you can do some fun dance moves, spin around, and get wild while singing and it won’t tangle you up.
Even if you have some shy friends, I’ve found that a couple of drinks will loosen people up and they’re more willing to sing.
Send Guests Home With Goodie Bags
Gift bags don’t have to be anything fancy. It can just be a couple of freshly baked cookies wrapped around in clear cellophane wrap, tied with a ribbon, and a message that says, “I’m thankful for our friendship.”
Those are some of my tips for hosting a memorable and stress-free Friendsgiving. Hopefully, you and your friends will have a fun time celebrating your friendship together.
Let me know in the comments below what are some of your favorite games to play at Friendsgiving and what are your favorite dishes to prepare. I would love to hear from you!