How to Host the Best Friendsgiving Party

Here is how to host a Friendsgiving party that your friends won’t soon forget.

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This post is all about how to host an Friendsgiving party that your friends will talk about for years.

Thanksgiving may be one of the biggest holidays of the year, but Friendsgiving is great, too, because it gives you the opportunity to spend time with friends in a relaxed environment where you can spend time with friends and eat good food.

So why host Friendsgiving instead of Thanksgiving? Aside from spending time with friends that you may not get to see very often, Friendsgiving is a great time to try out new recipes and dishes that you may not get a chance to try otherwise.

Friendsgiving parties are often held a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday to allow friends to meet before traveling to celebrate with family. You can also hold a Friendsgiving celebration on the day of Thanksgiving if the plan is to have a family style meal with your friends.

This post will cover Friendsgiving ideas and tips to have a spectacular and fun Friendsgiving party with friends.

In This Post | How to Host the Best Friendsgiving

1—Make a plan.

Planning is the key to having the best Friendsgiving party. Make a list of who to invite and coordinate schedules with your friends to figure out the best time that the most people are able to meet.

It can be a good idea to schedule a Friendsgiving party before the actual Thanksgiving holiday, so that friends that will be traveling for the holiday can join the best Friendsgiving party there is in town. Depending on your group of friends and their schedules, you may find it to be the case that “earlier is better” when it comes to scheduling.

Scheduling Friendsgiving before Thanksgiving has several benefits. First, it gives you an opportunity to do a run through of Thanksgiving before the big day. Second, more people may be available for the event. Third, everyone will be excited about the party and no one will be tired of eating turkey yet.

Send invites with an RSVP date, so that you’ll have a head count to help you plan. A general rule of thumb is to plan to serve about 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. For example, if you plan to have 8 guests, then plan to buy a turkey that weighs at least 12 pounds—more, if you want to have leftovers.

Friendsgiving invitations can be as casual or as formal as you like, whether you choose to send paper invitations or to send a quick text message or email. These colorful Friendsgiving invitations would be sure to brighten anyone’s day.

Be sure to include important information like the location, date, and time of the Friendsgiving party, how and when to RSVP, and a request for guests to sign up to bring dishes if you’re planning a Friendsgiving potluck party.

Send invites by regular mail, email, or text messages about two to three weeks ahead of time. Earlier is better because it gives people time to plan. Don’t forget to send reminders; if you’re planning a Friendsgiving potluck, sending a quick message to remind everyone about bringing a dish is a quick and easy way to remind them about the party.

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2—Ask for help when needed.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving can be a big meal to plan, make, and serve, and it’s a lot of work for one person.

You can make things easier by hosting a Friendsgiving potluck meal (so that you don’t have to do all of the cooking by yourself) and asking friends to volunteer with helping to set up before the party and clean up after the party.

Disposable plates and flatware make it easy to serve food without worrying about having a ton of dishes. Eco friendly disposable plates and flatware are an option.

Plan your menu and recipes ahead of time. Look for easy recipes that don’t require a lot of difficult steps or preparation. If you’re preparing turkey, ham, or other meat or poultry, know how to use a digital thermometer to check the temperature of the meat for doneness (remember to wash the thermometer with warm water and soap after each use).

In general, low key is probably best for a stress free Friendsgiving, so keeping things simple is often a great way to have a good time with your friends.

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3—Choose your favorite foods.

The holidays are a great time to make and eat the foods that you love, and to try new recipes and dishes that intrigue you. Classic Thanksgiving dishes like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and casseroles, are always great. But Friendsgiving can be a great time to make recipes or dishes that you wouldn’t normally have at Thanksgiving dinner.

Friendsgiving doesn’t only have to be a dinner. You could also host a Friendsgiving brunch. Serve a roast turkey or turkey breast, to bring the feeling of a traditional Thanksgiving meal to the table.

Great Friendsgiving brunch menu ideas include dishes like:

  • Whole Roasted Turkey or Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Gravy
  • Bread Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Roasted Asparagus or Glazed Brussels Sprouts
  • Fresh Seasonal Greens Salad
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Cheese Plate
  • Mini Egg Frittatas
  • Waffles
  • Pastries, like Danish Pastries and Croissants
  • Apple Crisp
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Cookies
  • Drinks and Beverages

When planning a holiday menu, it can be a good idea to check with guests regarding food allergies or sensitivities ahead of time.

If you’re looking for vegan or vegetarian Friendsgiving recipes or options, dishes like butternut squash ravioli, stuffed acorn squash, or stuffed butternut squash are great choices. Just make sure that all of the ingredients that are used to make the dish are plant based.

Or you could try new recipes to start a new tradition for Friendsgiving. Here are some more ideas on how to plan a Thanksgiving menu.

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4—Have a potluck.

One of the easiest, and most cost efficient, ways to host Friendsgiving is to have a Friendsgiving potluck party. To host a potluck meal, ave each guest bring a dish to share with the other guests.

Make a list of what Thanksgiving potluck dish each guest will bring, to help prevent duplicates and to keep things organized. Have a few easy to make dishes in mind that you can suggest to guests who aren’t sure of what to bring.

In general, the host usually cooks the turkey, a big item, if turkey is on the menu. Remember to allow time for thawing the turkey if it’s frozen (the process can take 2 to 3 days, depending on the size of the turkey). A roasting pan with rack makes it easier to roast a Thanksgiving turkey to perfection.

Of course, you could always ask someone else to make the turkey, if turkey is not your forte.

Make sure to have enough serving bowls and platters for food. Ask your friends to bring extra serveware, if needed. Label each dish, so that guests will know what’s available.

Having the perfect serving bowls and platters makes it easy to dish up your favorite foods, like roast turkey, stuffed winter squash, mashed potatoes, and pies.

It can help to set a theme for the Friendsgiving meal, so that guests have a better idea of what type of food to bring and what type of food to expect. Examples include choosing a specific type of cuisine to highlight, such as American, Italian, Korean, or Mexican.

You could also give people a general category of dish or course to bring, such as vegetarian main dish, side dish, or dessert. Or give people a category of food to bring, such as green beans, potatoes, or stuffing.

Here are some ideas on Friendsgiving side dishes for guests to bring.

  • Bread Stuffing
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Roasted Asparagus
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

Your guests can also bring Friendsgiving desserts to the party. Things like apple pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, and cookies make great desserts for a Friendsgiving meal.

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5—Set the scene.

Decorate for Thanksgiving to create a festive feel. This could be as simple as covering the dining table with a table cloth or making a fall floral arrangement to display.

Thanksgiving themed dinnerware and serve also helps to set the scene. Look for items with Thanksgiving decoration themes or in great fall colors, like orange, brown, beige, or gold.

A dining table set with place settings creates a more formal feel, while a buffet table that is covered with a table cloth or table runner and set with a great food display is perfect for more casual, mix and mingle style holiday meals.

For a fancier dining table scene, use real cloth napkins and charger plates at each place setting.

For a buffet table, wrap flatware in napkins ahead of time, so that it’s easy for your guests to pick up a bundle after making their plate. To make a bundle, place a fork, spoon, and knife at the center of a dinner napkin. Wrap the napkin around the flatware, secure it with a napkin ring or tie, and place the bundles in a flat serving bowl or jar that is easy to reach.

For a minimalist Thanksgiving decor scene, consider displaying a leaf garland or arranging a large bunch of artificial flower stems in a vase. Line pumpkins along the center of the table for unique, warm rustic decor. If using real pumpkins, just be sure to wash and dry the pumpkins before placing them on the table.

While decor is important, don’t forget the basics. Here is a list of basic items to have for a Friendsgiving meal or party.

  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Flatware
  • Napkins
  • Serving Bowls and Platters
  • Serving Utensils
  • Cooler / Ice Bucket for Drinks
  • Extra Ice for Drinks
  • All Purpose Cleaners
  • Paper Towels
  • Dish Detergent or Dish Washing Soap
  • Trash Can Liners
  • Hand Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Towels

Don’t forget to make space in the refrigerator to store Friendsgiving food and drinks. Also, make sure to have plenty of cozy seats for your guests.

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6—Serve plenty of appetizers.

One key to having a great Friendsgiving party is to serve plenty of appetizers. These don’t have to be fancy—vegetable trays and chips and dip are often good enough.

Friendsgiving is a great time to make a fall charcuterie board or cheese plate.

Set out plenty of appetizer plates, appetizer forks and spoons, and tongs and serving utensils for your guests to use.

A recent popular trend has been to serve appetizers in individual cups. This makes it easier for your guests to mix and mingle. Examples include shrimp ceviche cups, vegetable and dip cups, and of course, charcuterie cups.

Good Thanksgiving appetizers may include things like bacon wrapped dates, figs stuffed with pecans and cream cheese or other fig appetizers, baked Brie cheese, and a cheese plate served with a variety of cheeses and crackers.

An appetizer tray with dividers is the perfect way to display different types of Friendsgiving party foods, like olives, grapes, almonds, and cheese cubes.

Be sure to keep cold appetizers cold before, during, and after serving, by keeping them refrigerated. You may also be able to serve some cold appetizers over ice for a short period of time.

Keep warm foods warm by using a warming tray or slow cooker with a warm food setting. You can also use a slow cooker to make Thanksgiving side dishes.

Keep your guests hydrated with water and other beverages. Cold water with sliced lemon (remove the seeds) is often a good choice. Iced tea is also popular. Seasonal drinks like warm apple cider and flavored sparkling water are also great Friendsgiving drinks to serve.

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7—Keep your guests entertained.

Entertainment is an important part of a Friendsgiving party, whether it involves playing games, listening to music, or watching your favorite holiday movies after brunch or dinner.

Easy games, like Thanksgiving trivia, can be a fun way to get the party started while you’re setting up for the Friendsgiving meal. If you’re bringing together a group of friends who don’t know each other, then an icebreaker is a must.

Make a Thanksgiving playlist, filled with songs about food, gatherings, and being thankful, to play in the background while your guests chat and get to know each other.

A favorite holiday tradition is to watch a movie after finishing a big Thanksgiving meal. Fall themed movies and favorite holiday movies are almost always a good bet, since Thanksgiving is the unofficial start to the gift giving season for many. Take a poll among your guests to find out their favorite holiday movies.

Before the meal starts, go around the room to ask each person what they are thankful for this year. Now is the season of Thanksgiving, and we can all find something to be thankful for.

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8—Plan for leftovers.

One Friendsgiving party tip that can set you apart from all the rest is to make a plan for leftovers. Have some food storage containers ready for guests to take food home in case there are leftovers and the decision is made to let guests take a small part of their favorite dishes home.

Having a set of Thanksgiving leftover containers for guests to use for taking leftovers home is a small thing that can make your Friendsgiving party one of the best that your friends have ever attended at the holidays.

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This post was all about how to host the best Friendsgiving party.

  • Featured photos by RDNE Stock project / Pexels
  • Photos and images are for illustration purposes only.

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