What to Know About Hosting Friendsgiving

Friends are family. Celebrate the season with these tips for hosting a stellar Friendsgiving get-together.

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Thanksgiving dinnerThomas Barwick/Getty images

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Your Friends: Friendsgiving

We know it’s not always possible to travel home for Thanksgiving, this year more than ever. And even if you are planning to travel this holiday season, sometimes you want to sit, feast and celebrate with your best friends, too.

That’s where Friendsgiving comes in. This holiday lets you share a Thanksgiving meal with friends as a supplement to the traditional Thanksgiving feast. We’ll show you how to plan and throw the perfect Friendsgiving dinner party. While you’re at it, check out these affordable accents to bring your dinner party ideas to life.

What Is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is a holiday unrestricted by rules and traditions of a conventional Thanksgiving dinner, so feel free to add your own flair to the occasion!

Do you want to serve Chinese takeout instead of a roast turkey dinner? Go right ahead! With Friendsgiving, you have a chance to create your own traditions with your group of friends.

When Is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving doesn’t have an official date, like there is for Thanksgiving. However, many people choose to host Friendsgiving sometime in November. This makes it possible to celebrate with friends traveling home for the holidays.

For those who can’t be with family on Thanksgiving, it’s a wonderful idea to gather those pals and celebrate a Friendsgiving feast together.

How Did Friendsgiving Start?

According to Merriam-Webster, which added the word “Friendsgiving” to its dictionary in January 2020, “The earliest print uses of it that we’ve found so far date back to 2007, where it shows up in posts and on Twitter to refer to this informal meal.”

The site went on to explain the phrase started “coming into national prominence in 2011 when Bailey’s Irish Cream used the word in an ad campaign.” Since then, the term has become a common reference to a Thanksgiving dinner celebrated with friends.

What Do You Need for a Friendsgiving?

Since we can’t always make it home for Thanksgiving, this holiday gives folks a different way to enjoy the day. For first-time Friendsgiving hosts and guests, here are some tips to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Assign turkey duty to the host. Transporting a fully cooked turkey all but guarantees a cold supper, so the bird and gravy should be make at the host’s place.
  • Let friends pick their dishes. A group text or a shared spreadsheet (with categories like appetizers, side dishes, veggies and desserts) will make planning so much easier. Your friends can simply add their name and what they plan to bring.
  • Don’t forget the drinks. Make sure one person doesn’t get stuck with the whole haul. Instead, have each guest bring a favorite libation.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of food to go around. After confirming guests and significant others, make sure everyone knows how much food to prepare for the number of guests attending the party.
  • Arrive ready. Make sure your dish is as close to finished as possible before heading over to the festivities. With oven space at a premium, slow cooker dishes are a great choice.
  • Make sure you have enough seating. With the guest list set ahead of time, plan seating accordingly.
  • Stock up on the basics. More people in the house means going through things like toilet paper, paper towels and garbage bags. Shop ahead to make sure you won’t run out. And while you’re at the store, it’s not a bad idea to grab some paper plates and utensils for backup. (If you need to go out and grab a few last-minute food items, make sure you know the stores closed on Thanksgiving this year.)

How To Throw a Friendsgiving Party

The key to a successful Friendsgiving party is two-fold: good food, and lots of it. Ideally, everyone will bring a dish or beverage to share. But if you’re hosting, we suggest supplying the main dish and a few sides, then let your friends fill in the gaps. Getting ready for Thanksgiving is not always easy, but is also necessary when hosting Friendsgiving to make sure your house is shipshape and your friends are comfortable.

When planning what you’ll serve, aim for simple recipes that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. (Need inspiration? These 30-minute Thanksgiving recipes are holiday lifesavers.) After all, you want to be able to enjoy your friends, not spend the whole party scrambling in the kitchen. Here are some tips for hosting a successful and fun Friendsgiving meal:

  • Set the date and spread the word. Make sure all your guests know when and where Friendsgiving is happening so no one misses out.
  • Draw up a list of the supplies. Write down everything you will need about a week before the date of your party and go shopping so you have plenty of time to prepare.
  • Stock up on finger food. Keep guests happy and comfortable before dinner begins with snacks and appetizers.
  • Have fun with decor. Go simple or all out, whichever you prefer to do.
  • Keep the drinks flowing. Here’s a delicious fall-inspired mulled wine recipe.
  • Play games. Keep it simple with The Gratitude Game so your friends will focus on things that they’re grateful for. If they complain, they have to do ten sit-ups.
  • Create your own traditions. Friendsgiving is a new holiday unbound by rules and tradition, so feel free to invent your own!