Between crazy flight costs, busy schedules and winter weather, it’s not always possible to travel home for Thanksgiving. And even if it is, sometimes you want to celebrate with your friends, too.
That’s where Friendsgiving comes in. This new holiday lets you share a meal with friends in lieu of family, or as a supplement to traditional Turkey Day feasts. We’ll show you how to plan the perfect Friendsgiving menu, set a casual holiday table and embrace the true meaning of the season.
How to Plan a Friendsgiving Menu
The key to a successful Friendsgiving party is two-fold: good food, and lots of it. Ideally, all guests will bring a dish (or drink!) to pass. But if you’re hosting, we suggest supplying the main dish and a few sides, then let your friends fill in the gaps.
Editor’s Tip: Even if you love green bean casserole, you don’t want six dishes of it showing up at your Friendsgiving. Make sure to send around a potluck sign-up sheet before the big day so everyone knows what to bring. This way you’ll avoid duplicate dishes and make it easy to cater to dietary restrictions.
When planning what you’ll serve, aim for simple recipes that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. (Need some ideas? These Thanksgiving recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less!) After all, you want to be able to enjoy your friends, not spend the whole party scrambling in the kitchen. Opt for slow cooker or make-ahead dishes, and don’t be afraid to buy a few things pre-made, too. We’re particularly partial to this slow cooker turkey breast and a batch of easy-peasy biscuits. When combined, the duo makes a delicious sandwich! Find these recipes (and more!) in our collection of Friendgiving party ideas.
How to Set a Friendsgiving Table
When setting the table, simplicity is key. Remember that you’re here to have a good time, not impress your mother-in-law. Stick to a fun color scheme—such as navy, orange and gray—and don’t be afraid to buy disposable dishware or cutlery.
Keep the casual feel of the party going by serving the meal potluck-style. Guests can get up whenever they’re hungry or need a refill, and all you have to do is relax. Whenever you opt for a buffet, it’s a good idea to label all of the dishes. Old wine corks and cardstock make for pretty labels (plus, you now have an excuse to drink more wine). To make the labels, simply cut a groove in the cork with a utility knife, write the dish name and any allergens on the card and secure in place. If you’re not up for a crafting project, find out where to buy pre-made place cards (and all of our other amazing Friendsgiving decor) here.
Get the LookHosting pals for Thanksgiving is such a wonderful way to celebrate good friendships. It’s also a perfect time to enjoy delicious food and drinks (like these Friendsgiving party menu ideas). If you’re hosting the Friendsgiving feast, here are some decor ideas to adorn your space in style!
Baking DishServe any main or side out of this chic white porcelain square baking dish ($15). The handles make it easy to carry from oven to table so you can bake and serve. Perfect for the bird, stuffings, casseroles (like this rich butternut squash mac and cheese) and desserts. Buy here. Don’t miss our step-by-step guide on how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey.
Dinner PlatesYour hungry friends will love heaping these Instagram-worthy dinner plates ($23 for 4) with a mountain of Thanksgiving foods. Choose from one of seven hues (we’re partial to Light Grey) or mix and match for a multi-colored arrangement. Buy here.
Metal Serving TraysPut your most beautiful hors d’oeuvres, sweets, drinks and drinkware on display with these pastel aqua serving trays ($32 for 2). The dainty gold-embellished handles add a dash of glam and glimmer. Buy here.
Wine Cork Place Card HoldersUse these handmade wine cork place card holders ($6 for 15) for labeling dishes or as a way to introduce guests to others. When the Thanksgiving party is done, you can easily repurpose the corks to hold photos around your home. Buy here.
Rectangular Serving PlatterIt turns out “plain and simple” doesn’t need to be dull and boring. This satiny white serving platter ($5) is easy on the eyes and adds a pearly pop to any surface. It can be used to serve everything from apple cider jelly shots to fancy-schmancy cheeses, crackers and charcuterie. (Here’s how to build a cheese board!) Buy here.
Serving BoardThe driftwood finish of this beautifully detailed ash serving board ($70) matches any kitchen color scheme. The leather handle allows for easy carrying. It’s awesome for finger sandwiches, spreads, charcuterie, cheese and nuts. (In our spread, we used the board for these Easy Peasy Biscuits.) Buy here.
Bamboo UtensilsBamboo is a great material for so many reasons. It’s made from a sustainable and renewable resource, and bamboo fiber has greater strength than steel. That makes this set of super-strong bamboo utensils ($7 per set) perfect for guests to use on Friendsgiving. Buy here.
Bottle OpenerPop the bubbly! Uncork the wine! Crack open the craft beer! This sleek bottle opener ($40) can do it all with ease, regardless of your skills as an at-home bartender. It also makes the perfect gift for Thanksgiving hosts, new homeowners or anyone celebrating a special occasion. Buy here.
How to Give Thanks: Gratitude Board
It’s easy to forget how thankful we are for our friends. Set up a reminder with a gratitude board. All you need is a chalkboard and some chalk. As guests arrive, have them write down a few things that they’re grateful for. After the party, take a photo of the board and send it out in a group text message or email so that you can always remember the good times.
Want More Ideas? Find Your Thanksgiving Style.
Transform your table this holiday by planning your Thanksgiving feast around one of our fun (and delicious!) themes. Take our quiz to find the perfect menu, stunning tablescape decorations and more—all based off of your personality.