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  • Christina Hubeli

7 Tips for Planning the Perfect Friendsgiving

thanksgiving table setting
Photo: Jasko Omerovic Photography

It’s November, and the sun is setting at 4 PM now, which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And we of course cannot forget about Thanksgiving’s more relaxed and communal cousin, Friendsgiving.

If you’ll be hosting this year’s Friendsgiving, it can be an exciting but stressful responsibility. From making grocery lists to prepping food to being a wonderful host, you’ve got a lot on your plate (haha, get it?). Check out our tips below for planning and hosting a Friendsgiving that will be a relaxing and delightful gathering for all.

Tip 1: Select a point person, but…

Don’t take on the responsibility of planning an entire Friendsgiving on your own! Accept help from the friends and family who will be joining. If you’re going to be cooking up a whole turkey for your celebration, it’s easiest for this job to be assigned to the host since it will be all happening in their own home. But for appetizers, sides, and desserts, look to your guests to help with preparing or providing those.

If you’ll be doing a potluck-style dinner, coordinate with everyone to ensure there isn’t overlap in the dishes that are being brought. The easiest way to do this is to send out a Google Sheet for your guests to write down the dish they’ll be bringing. Also check in with your guests to see if anyone has dietary restrictions or allergies that may require some alternative dishes to keep everyone full and happy.

Tip 2: Get prepared

If the majority of cooking will be done in your home, ensure you have the proper cooking ware and serving utensils on hand, as well as a large enough quantity so that you’re not having to constantly rewash dishes throughout the day. And of course don’t forget about plates, forks, and knives for your guests!

You’ll also want to confirm that you have an appropriate number of tables and chairs for everyone to sit and eat comfortably, as well as a table (or tables) to display your delicious spread of food.

Tip 3: Offer guests appetizers

If guests will be arriving prior to when dinner is served, consider offering up some appetizers to keep hungry stomachs satisfied. These don’t have to be anything extravagant -- think cold dishes that you can prep in advance or simple recipes that only call for a few ingredients. Guests will be happy to have something to tie them over until dinner (and have something in their stomachs besides wine, which leads me to my next point...).

Tip 4: Don’t forget the drinks

Food is the star of the show at Friendsgiving, but don’t forget about the drinks! Wine is a staple for a classic Thanksgiving meal, so offer guests at least one red and one white. If you want to have an open bar, ensure you have the alcohol, mixers, garnishes, and ice that you’ll need to create a variety of drinks. Want to kick your bar up a notch? Consider offering a signature drink or two that features flavors of fall.

For those that don’t drink or would like an alternative to alcohol, have some coffee and tea on hand. You can also crack open some sparkling cider to keep the festive spirit alive! Or, create an alcohol-free version of your signature drink so that all guests can enjoy.

thanksgiving signature cocktail
Photo: Jasko Omerovic Photography

Tip 5: Play some background music

Set up a light and enjoyable playlist to play before and during dinner. This will help to create a warm and welcoming environment, as well as set the mood for the overall experience. Keep the volume loud enough that guests can hear and enjoy the music, but low enough so that conversations don’t get interrupted.

Tip 6: Have some to-go containers ready

Has anyone ever had a Thanksgiving dinner without leftovers? Didn’t think so! Purchase some to-go containers so that guests can take some of the leftover food home with them. This way, your fridge isn’t overstuffed with leftovers that won’t get eaten. If you overstocked your bar, you can also send guests home with a bottle of wine as a thank you present.

Tip 7: Prepare for clean-up

As much as possible, try to clean up your kitchen and eating area throughout the day so that you aren’t left with piles of plates by the end of your celebration. You can also ask some guests to stick around to help with cleaning up (but make sure to mention this to them beforehand). Going for a more casual dinner vibe? Consider using disposables to make cleaning up a breeze.

Hosting a Friendsgiving is no easy feat, but with these tips, you’ll be on the road to a fun and festive gathering of friends. Need help with planning the perfect Friendsgiving or holiday party? Click HERE to schedule a totally free consultation that will help you stay in budget, set clear goals for your party, and keep planning predictable and simple. Happy hosting!


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