This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive commission for purchases made through these links. Price at time of publish date may change.
If Thanksgiving is about showing appreciation for grandmas and in-laws, Friendsgiving is a celebration of those who are like family, minus the shared DNA. If you’re hosting, there’s a lot more to keep in mind than just delicious food and tasty drinks. Here’s our checklist for wining and dining your “framily” to celebrate our favorite unofficial holiday.
1. Plenty of Food
Yes, we’re stating the obvious here. But there’s a twist: Since this isn’t a traditional family Thanksgiving meal (i.e., the exact same menu year after year), turkey and stuffing aren’t 100% essential. Mix things up and design a creative menu that will please every person—and every palate—on your guest list. Or you can go the potluck route, because more chefs means more variety. Don’t forget to share who’s bringing what ahead of time so you don’t have recipe redundancies; a group text is an efficient way to get this sorted out.
2. A Big Table
Make sure you have enough square footage and adequate seating for hosting your whole crew. If space is a bit tight, consider setting up dishes buffet-style on a kitchen island or bar. Guests, friends, or neighbors might be able to lend stools or folding chairs if you’re running short on seating options.
3. Festive Decor
In addition to incorporating timeless Thanksgiving decor standbys like candles, pumpkins, leaves, and turkeys, get creative as you’re setting the tone for your gathering! Pinterest can be a real lifesaver here, especially for DIY table settings. But don’t stress too much over these details—it’s a party, after all.
4. A Holiday Playlist
You can’t have a good party without the right tunes. From mellow to lively, a custom soundtrack can help set the vibe for your festivities. Choose softer sounds for the dinner portion of the evening (so you can, you know, actually hear each other) and save the more energetic songs for after dessert. Get started with these Spotify playlists or Pandora’s Friendsgiving station.
5. Paper and Pens
Set aside 15 minutes before dinner for guests to write out what they’re thankful for and share with the group. This is also a great opportunity to start your own Friendsgiving traditions! Tell jokes, share stories, or go around the table and introduce any guests who might not know each other very well.
6. Fun Thanksgiving Drinks
Create a custom cocktail to wow your guests (may we suggest this autumnal bliss from our cocktail expert, Charles Joly?). Make a few batches ahead of time so you’re not playing bartender all night. Wine—at least one white and one red—is standard to have on hand for your meal. And don’t forget a few non-alcoholic options, like sparkling water or a mocktail.
7. Pie, Pie, and More Pie!
Apple pie! Pecan pie! Pumpkin pie! Sweet potato pie! No Friendsgiving (or Thanksgiving) meal—or any meal, really—is complete without several decadent dessert options. Whip up your personal specialty, stock up on whipped cream, and remind your guests to save room.
8. A Cute Hashtag
Take your celebration from an entertaining social event to a social media event with a unique hashtag. Even if you don’t care about likes and follows, a custom hashtag can help you track and organize all the photos posted by your guests.
9. Modern Takeout Containers
Thanksgiving might as well by synonymous with leftovers. And like the traditional holiday, you’re bound to have extra food after your Friendsgiving feast. Keep some recyclable takeout containers on hand so your guests can take scurry home with the surplus goods. More treats for them, less cleanup for you? That’s a win-win.