The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people, because it often includes some sort of family showdown. Cue “Friendsgiving,” the drama-free Thanksgiving we all deserve.
While Friendsgiving doesn’t have to replace Thanksgiving altogether, having dinner with your closest friends during the holiday season is a great way to show appreciation for the people who offer emotional support without the obligation of familial ties.
Friendsgiving is also a great way for people who live far away from their family to participate in the holiday season.
The term is new, but the concept has been around for years. NBC’s “Friends” showcased a crew who celebrated Thanksgiving together so much that Buzzfeed decided to rank the episodes a few years ago.
The entire point of Friendsgiving is to be the chill, low pressure companion to Thanksgiving with your family. So, to ensure that everything goes smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of five dos and don’ts to ensure you eat well and have a great time with the “family” you chose for yourself.
… send out invitations as soon as possible
If you want your friends to actually show up, you’ll want so send an invite as early as possible. If most of your friends travel during the holiday season, find out what their plans are and pick a date that works for most of the group.
Websites such as Paperless Post are easy to use, feature cards that can be customized and, most important, typically allow first-timers to use the service for free (or cheap).
… require an RSVP
Make sure you’re prepared for the number of guests you’ll be hosting by requiring an RSVP by a certain date. This will also make sure everyone has time to think of their dish and plan ahead.
… plan entertainment activities
Whether you’re watching sports, or playing cards or board games, you’ll want to make sure to keep your guests entertained before and after dinner. This is almost as important as having great food and company. Unless, of course, you plan to kick everyone out as soon as dinner is over. Which is fine, too. (Just make sure they at least stick around to help clean up!)
… utilize holiday-themed or party playlists from your favorite music streaming service
If you have a friend that creates amazing playlists, great! Put them in charge of music. If you don’t, that’s OK, too. Spotify, Apple music, Tidal and other music streaming services have great holiday-themed and party playlists. Pick your favorite one and you’ll be good to go.
If you don’t subscribe to a music streaming service, Spotify is your best bet. The streaming service offers free listening, as long as you don’t mind the occasional commercial.
Decorating for Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be extravagant. Whether you make personalized Thanksgiving-themed name tags for your friends, or just purchase fresh flowers for the table the day of, make your space look festive and inviting for the special occasion.
… cook everything yourself
Make Friendsgiving a potluck style dinner to alleviate some of the stress. After everyone RSVPs, send out a spreadsheet to make meal planning easy. (This is also a great way to ensure you don't accidentally end up with three types of meat and no vegetables!)
… forget to ask about special dietary requests
Be sure to include a place on the RSVP card or the spreadsheet for your friends to list any dietary restrictions they might have. If anyone has allergies or other restrictions, you’ll want to make sure there are options for them, too.
… forget items such as ice, napkins, utensils, etc.
Dinner will be a disaster without the necessities. Be sure to assign those to someone, too.
… skimp on dessert or alcohol
This isn’t your mom’s Thanksgiving. Make sure there’s enough booze and dessert for the festive occasion by including those items in the spreadsheet.
… invite too many people
Friendsgiving isn’t for everyone in your extended circle. Keep things intimate for the best results. Everyone doesn’t have to know each other, but the smaller the gathering, the easier it is for everyone to interact with one another.