If you typically reserve the holidays for family, you’re not alone. According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, 69% of Americans said they most look forward to time with family. But around Thanksgiving, there are many groups of people to be thankful for.
Friendsgiving is the joyous combining of food and friends before, after or on Turkey Day. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the first use of the word in print dates back to 2007. But “Friendsgiving” didn’t quite reach its national prominence until 2011 when Bailey’s Irish Cream used the term in a promotion.
If you’re new to the Friendsgiving concept, you might be wondering how to plan the perfect get-together. Here’s a guide to guarantee your gathering is a success.
When hosting a Friendsgiving dinner, it’s important to be mindful of the number of people that can comfortably fit in your home. Don’t invite your 100 closest acquaintances. Work with the space that you have and make sure your friends will be comfortable moving around without the fear of knocking over a lamp or tripping over your couch due to overcrowdedness. And even if you keep your party small, don’t be afraid to mix different friend groups together. You never know who might get along. Inviting too many people is one of the top mistakes a host can make.
Before you host any party, it’s important to clean your house (especially the dirtiest places in your home). Your Friendsgiving celebration can be as formal or as casual as you’d like it to be, but having a clean home before inviting others over is etiquette 101. If you are choosing to go the more formal route, make sure to have enough table space, seating and flatware for all of your guests. If you’re lacking table space or seats, rent some card tables and folding chairs. If you need plates, silverware, or serving vessels, go disposable.
One of the best benefits of Friendsgiving is allowing your friends to show off their cooking skills with fancy new dishes or family-secret recipes. Keep a list of who is bringing what to avoid having four different types of stuffing or the same casseroles. And be sure to let your guests know how many people are attending to avoid not having enough food for anyone. For example, if your friend is in charge of bringing the vegetables, they should prepare four ounces per guest.
Out of all of the Friendsgiving guidelines, this might be the most important. As the host, you should always provide the roasted turkey, even if your party is a potluck. And be sure to buy a big bird for all of your friends. There should be one and a half pounds of turkey per person. And once you’ve decided on the perfect recipe for your holiday bird, take the steps to learn how to properly carve it to avoid these common mistakes.
You’d be surprised how much people enjoy snacking, even after the main course has been cleared. Be sure to provide appetizers and post-meal snacks for your friends to munch on. Because the rest of the meal will be a more involved affair, keep the snacks simple. Basic staples like chips with guacamole can make a difference.
At the end of the day, Friendsgiving is one big party. Encourage your friends to bring a few bottles of wine along with their potluck dishes, and have your own stockpile as well. Typically, one bottle of wine per four guests is recommended when you’re hosting a party. But if you want to ensure that your Friendsgiving is a raving success, don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution and have a little extra or to diversify your alcohol offerings with beer and mixed drinks.
If you want your party to be truly great, don’t forget the music. Create two playlists for your party. Make the first one for dinner with more relaxed tunes and Thanksgiving-themed songs (think Ray Charles’ “Sweet Potato Pie” and Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time”). Then, the second playlist is where you can turn things up with dance-friendly hits and old-school party favorites. Ask your friends for song recommendations when you send out invites to get them enthusiastic about hitting the dance (or living room) floor.
Make your Friendsgiving the envy of your social network by setting up a photo booth. You don’t need an actual booth to do this: Just hang a bunch of streamers against the wall in your home that has the best lighting. And don’t forget the props.
After the dinner table has been cleared, a great way to get everyone up and moving before the urge to sleep sets in is to throw a few games in the mix. Anything from a game of charades to “Never Have I Ever” is a great way to bond, especially if your Friendsgiving group fairs on the smaller side.
A common thing to do when eating delicious grub with the family on Turkey Day is to go around one by one and say what you’re thankful for. Keep that tradition going with friends. Either go around the room or, if it’s a large party, provide small sheets of paper and pens and have everyone jot down one thing they’re especially thankful to have in their lives. Have everyone post their notes on the wall. Not only will you be fully embracing the holiday spirit, but you’ll make your friends feel like the best party guests ever.
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