As Turkey Day, a time traditionally spend with family, approaches, people across the land are wondering: but what about my friends? Some people say that Thanksgiving is one of the purest holidays, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. There’s no expectation of gifts, just good food and good company and good feelings. Despite its crummy roots, Thanksgiving has evolved into a pretty awesome holiday. So why wouldn’t we want to share it with the people that we’ve chosen to be part our lives, along with the people we were born with?
I just hosted my first Friendsgiving over the weekend, and I’m here to give you some tips on how to host the perfect celebration, whether it’s in addition to your traditional family Thanksgiving or more of an “orphans” deal for those who can’t make it home for the holiday.
1. Embrace the potluck
Cooking the full meal yourself is certainly ambitious…but in this situation, it’s unnecessary. You’ll want to provide the centerpiece, of course, but invite friends to bring sides, beverages, and desserts to help fill the table. In addition to being budget friendly, it’s a lot of fun to see what everyone decides to bring.
2. Make a plan
For most people who are not Martha Stewart, a whole turkey is not the kind of thing you can just throw together last minute. Make sure you leave yourself time for defrosting, brining (if you’re into that), and, of course, roasting. Our Friendsgiving ended up being prepared in two locations due to timing/lack of oven space, but a dinner party is like a really exciting game of Tetris. You can figure out a way to fit all of the pieces together just right if you work at it long enough (and are a huge nerd who really enjoys scheduling out cooking…)
3. Don’t worry about running out of food
Unless your friends are like a plague of locusts or you SERIOUSLY under-prepared, you are going to have enough food. You will probably have way too much food. Remember that your guests will be bringing food as well (see point #1!), and different people will focus on different dishes.
4. Keep your tablescape simple.
When you’re a huge domestic nerd like myself, you get really excited about the prospect of dressing up the table for a very special holiday meal. Remember that Thanksgiving, at its core, is about massive amounts of food. There is not room on the table for a fabulous centerpiece. Stick with something simple and attractive, like a table runner and pretty dishes – perhaps, as a random example, some super cute and retro-fabulous glasses from TJ Maxx. (Okay, I got a little creative with the napkins too. I can’t help myself!!)
5. Be thankful.
If you’re hosting an event like this, you probably know some pretty awesome people that you care about a lot. Don’t forget to take some time to think about that, whether it’s the full on “go around the table saying what we’re thankful for” thing or just a quick “To Friendsgiving!” toast. I know that I feel incredibly lucky to have such great friends that I’m excited to welcome into my home – I hope you do too!