A guide to hosting the perfect Friendsgiving

A guide to the perfect Friendsgiving

Don't let a fun gathering of friends become a stress-inducing nightmare
Published: November 15, 2022

In the last decade, the popularity of Friendsgiving celebrations during the Thanksgiving season have exploded. It’s a tradition that transcends age, race, and gender. Whether you’re a Friendsgiving veteran or looking for tips on how to plan your very first one, read no further.

Friendsgiving is a fun thing to do with friends

The guest list

The guest list is the first obstacle to tackle. Parties and guest lists are bound to create drama. People are upset they weren’t included, and the people you did invite suddenly want to bring a plus one. The troubles seem to be endless. In the end, drama might be unavoidable, but you can minimize it. Figure out how many people you can comfortably host. This will already narrow the list tremendously.

Next, think about the vibe you want for your party. Do you want to invite friends who aren’t as close with each other as they are to you? By doing this, the burden of entertaining will be mostly on you, and you’ll find yourself bouncing from group to group. If you’re more of an extrovert with many different friend groups, this reality might appeal to you more. Or you can make the celebration more intimate by inviting just one friend group, putting less pressure on you as a host. Though with fewer attendees bringing fewer dishes, this might leave more work for you and your guests to prepare for the actual meal.

What should you prepare?

Keep your group organized. Create a spreadsheet with sign-ups so you can make sure all your bases are covered. At the end of day, Friendsgiving is a “faux” version of Thanksgiving, so many of the foods will overlap. Some staples are mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, cranberry sauce, and turkey of course.

But there are always ways to put a twist on the classic recipes. For your mashed potatoes, try out this garlic parmesan recipe paired with vegetarian gravy. If you’re nervous about preparing a turkey for the big day, check out Food Network’s list of 92 different turkey recipes to put your mind at ease. For dessert, you might want to play it safe and prepare a traditional dish — in which case I would suggest you follow this pumpkin pie recipe. If you’re feeling more adventurous, bake some butter pecan cookies for your group. Is there a vegan on your guest list? Check out this apple pie recipe.

The list of recipes for Friendsgiving is endless. Though it depends on the size of your group, ensure everyone is bringing at least one or two things. As the host, you’ll want to figure out if it will be a family-style meal or a buffet. Strive to create a fun ambience by decorating the house with fall-themed décor, and make sure to discuss a dress code for the celebration.

What’s the timeline?

A good Friendsgiving celebration will happen before the “real” Thanksgiving holiday, but you’re going to want to give your guests plenty of time to prepare for the festivities. If you’re a college student planning on celebrating the holiday with your hometown friends, aim for the weekend before Thanksgiving. This time frame is the unofficial time to celebrate Friendsgiving, and it’s still far enough from the official holiday.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to enjoy the celebration with your college friend group, make sure to pick a day the week before Thanksgiving break. This builds up the anticipation for the break while also giving everyone one last chance to see each other and say a few tearful goodbyes before reuniting a week later.

Because Friendsgiving is such a new holiday, there aren’t many traditions to keep or mistakes to be made. All Friendsgivings are different, and there is not one perfect formula to the holiday. Enjoy creating memories, and hopefully you’ll repeat the celebration for many years to come.