How to Host a Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and feeling grateful for all your good fortune this year. Sometimes, among the festivities, it can feel like something is missing. Friends are the family that you have chosen and not the one you were born into, but they can be just as important. This is where Friendsgiving comes in. Friendsgiving is a Thanksgiving gathering, usually held before the actual holiday, that consists of a group of friends getting together to celebrate the holiday.

If this is the year that you’ve decided to embrace this somewhat new tradition, the logistics can be daunting. To help things run smoothly we’ve compiled a guide of Friendsgiving basics to get you started.

Potluck Style

Sharing is caring, and that extends to food responsibilities when it comes to Friendsgiving. Have every friend sign up to bring some sort of dish to the gathering. That way the host is not responsible for the entire burden of providing dinner. A great way to ensure that you don’t end up with 4 pumpkin pies and no veggie dish is by creating a shared Google Doc. This way participants can log in, see what has already been signed up for, and bring a dish that hasn’t already been claimed.

This also helps to cutdown on stress over dietary restrictions. If you have a vegetarian friend, they can sign up for a dish that works for them and then encourage others to try it.

Turkey Duty

It is an unofficial rule that the host or hostess will provide the turkey. Nobody wants to lug around a 15-pound bird to someone else’s home. Be sure to educate yourself accordingly when it comes to cooking the main course. You’re going to want to do some research and figure out a timeline for the day. The size of the turkey is going to determine how much time you need to allow it to thaw. Some people start as early as four days before their dinner. Thirty minutes to an hour before the turkey needs to start roasting, turn on your oven and let the turkey sit out at room temperature while it’s heating up. It’s a good (although not required) idea to baste the turkey while it cooks.

One hour before you intend to eat, let the turkey rest. If you’re serving it carved, do it about 30 minutes before dinner and cover it with foil to keep warm.

Have Enough Food

Friendsgiving is all about spending some time with your chosen family and having a good time, all in the name of stuffing yourselves until you have to be rolled out. This can’t happen if you run out of food. Fortunately, there’s this handy-dandy chart to let you know exactly how much of each type of food you need. Now I know what you are thinking, only three bottles of wine for five people? You know your friends best, if you think you need a little bit more of something, stock up.

Make an Easy Cocktail

A great way to add some class to the event is with an easy cocktail. Nothing too complicated that consistently requires your attention, you’ll have other priorities after all. Something cider based is a great way to keep with the fall theme.  An easy recipe is 8-parts apple cider and 1-part dark rum, mixed in a punch bowl. Then add apple slices or a cinnamon stick, for aesthetics.

Have Snacks

I know it sounds a little crazy, you’re all getting together to eat food. But if it isn’t ready immediately, you don’t want people starving while waiting. People eat! It is surprising how much food can get consumed, especially at a gathering like Friendsgiving. Even if it is a bag of chips or some crackers, snacks are good to have on hand.

Stock Up on Dishes

Before the day gets started, make sure that you have enough dishes and utensils. This includes plates, dishes, glasses, silverware, and serving platters. You don’t want to wait till the day of the event to realize that you’re actually short a couple of settings, and you have no idea what to do about it. Get a head count a few days before and if you do find yourself short, take it as an opportunity to pick up a few more settings, or mix and match a little bit.

Incorporate an Activity

While the focus of the evening is hanging, eating, and drinking, planning an activity is a great idea if you have a few folks that don’t know each other very well. Break out one of your old board games or a deck of cards to help keep the good times rolling. Having alcoholic drinks readily available will also help with that.

For a more serious icebreaker, you can talk about what you’re thankful for. I know it sounds cheesy but losing the “thanks” in Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you can’t find a moment to express your gratitude. If you don’t already have a tablecloth in mind, consider covering your table with packing paper and drawing some lines at each setting for people to write down why they feel blessed.

Keep Your Priorities in Order

Your Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have over the top decorations and a dinner that Gordon Ramsay would approve of to have a great time. Take time to enjoy the meal and not worry about whether everything is going perfectly according to plan.

While it might be tempting to jump up right after dinner is finished to clear the table and start clean up duty, don’t. It is the quickest way to suck the life from a party and make everyone feel that they need to leave. Friendsgiving is not some stuffy affair, so perform your duty as host by eating, drinking, and being merry with your guests.


Since you are most likely a generous host who ended up preparing way more food than everyone had room for, you’ll have more leftovers than your fridge can handle. To continue with the giving spirit, give away your leftovers! You might want to purchase some disposable containers just for this. Nobody wants to worry about finding matching lids or getting their containers back. Especially when Amazon has some cute Thanksgiving themed options.

Ultimately, Friendsgiving is about celebrating the holiday on your terms, with the people you care about. With some organization, delegation of duties, and great food, a good time can be had by all.

Have any Friendsgiving tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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