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Event Inspiration/Articles/Planning/Host a Happy Friendsgiving: A Thanksgiving Dinner with People You Actually Like!

Host a Happy Friendsgiving: A Thanksgiving Dinner with People You Actually Like!

Terri Zimmer


Friendsgiving is the way less stressed, slightly more drunken cousin of Thanksgiving. This festivity has all the deliciousness of the real holiday, without the forced family togetherness.

Throw your own Friendsgiving this year! Get in some fun quality time with your nearest and dearest friends before holiday obligations take over your life until January 2nd.  

altPhoto Credit: Devin McCloskey

Pre-Holiday Weekend

The last Thursday of November is still reserved for familial obligations for most of us. Even the tightest knit group of friends is bound to have separate plans on turkey day. The weekend before is the unofficial Friendsgiving timeframe.

“Always on a Saturday,” says Devin McCloskey, of Los Angeles, “so we can prepare all day and people can get toasted on spiked apple cider and recover on Sunday.”

Send Invites

A holiday with a silly name might not get the recognition it deserves. Send invites so everyone has the details. The team at Little Miss Party Planner recommends Paperless Post for evites, and Mint for traditional invitations. Or, you could get silly like McCloskey and her roommate, and make your own invites to set the right tone for your Friendsgiving.

altPhoto Credit: Devin McCloskey

altPhoto Credit: Devin McCloskey

Prime for Potluck

The only real rule of Friendsgiving: Host cooks the turkey, everyone else brings the rest. Spreading out the cooking duties means less stress on everyone. But don’t leave the dishes to chance. Assign everyone a specific side or dessert. You could even suggest specific recipes, like these amazing dishes from FoodNetwork.com

Spinach Almond Crustini 

Photo Credit: FoodNetwork.com

Butternut Squash Apple and Onion Galette with Stilton

altPhoto Credit: FoodNetwork.com

Upside Down Pear Cranberry Tart

altPhoto Credit: FoodNetwork.com

Let everyone know what to bring, and how much. Food Network has a great portion planner that can help you plan how much of everything you will need.  


Seating & Set Up

Even though Friendsgiving is more relaxed, it’s still civilized enough to be a sit-down dinner occasion. If your dining room is tiny or non-existent, rent tables and chairs to transform your home.

“We don't have a dining room nor table so we clear out the furniture in our living room and put it in our rooms,” said McCloskey. “We rent two 8-foot tables and chairs and generally host around 18-24 people each year.”

A Fancy (Enough) Table

Set a nice table, but be realistic about it. Don’t feel compelled to use the fine china. Use plastic plates and paper napkins for easy cleanup (see note earlier about the focus on drinking), but break out real wine glasses and silverware so you’re not completely roughing it. Search for elegant disposable plates on Amazon or Posh Party Supplies for place settings that look like the real thing.

Photo Credit: Posh Party Supplies

Delicious Décor

Just because you don’t want to clean up, doesn’t mean you can’t set a pretty table. Pin these elegant-yet-casual ideas from Seri Kertzner of Little Miss Party Planner.

“Take a cue from the season when decorating! We LOVE working with seasonal produce when cooking and always build it into our décor,” said Kertzner.

altPhoto Credit: Little Miss Party Planner

Photo Credit: Little Miss Party Planner

Cheers! Drink Up!

Alcohol seems to be a key component of Friendsgiving. Free from the judgey commentary and passive aggressive family fodder, you are free to raise a glass (or two) in the most joyous way.

“When decorating the table, make sure to save room for bottles of wine so that guests do not have to get up to get a fresh glass,” said Lexi Stolz, owner of South Fork and Spoon food concierge service in Bridgehampton, NY.

She also recommends making a delicious cranberry syrup as a versatile base for cocktails.

“It makes the house smell scrumptious and is a beautiful and great way to let guests make their own cocktails using the syrup,” she said. Stolz suggest adding it to vodka and soda, sparkling wine, or even to plain ginger ale for a seasonal Shirley Temple.

1 Bag Cranberries
¾ Cup Sugar
2 Cups Water
Optional: Fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary

Boil until cranberries break apart and the sugar dissolves completely, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and let cool before serving.

If your guests have dietary restrictions and you need to provide low-sugar or low-cal options, Zevia zero-calorie soda suggests these elegant but diet-friendly cocktails.

Zevia Ginger Sparkler

altPhoto Credit: Zevia 

Ginger Garland 


Photo Credit: Zevia 

Enjoy a fabulous Friendsgiving! Share your best shots of Friendsgiving with marketing@gigmasters.com and we might feature you!