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9 Tips for the Perfect Friendsgiving Celebration

Five people sitting at a dimly-lit dinner table laughing.

Popularized over the past decade, Friendsgiving is a spin on the traditional Thanksgiving celebration—enjoying a feast of delicious food over lunch or dinner, only this time with friends instead of family. While you may want to make the gathering unique to you and your friend group, a festive Friendsgiving is easy to plan and fun to enjoy. Read on to learn essential Friendsgiving ideas for hosting some of your favorite people. 

1.    Start Scheduling Early

With office parties, travel plans, and other festive gatherings, it isn’t easy to make plans in November and December. To ensure everyone can come to Friendsgiving without hassle, check in with your friends and set a date before schedules fill up. 

2.    Stick to a Sides Spreadsheet

Potluck-style is the way to go. Make planning simple and keep a shared spreadsheet online and encourage everyone to sign up for an item to bring. Items on your spreadsheet might include friendsgiving food ideas like:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rolls
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Dessert 
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables 

In charge of the turkey this year? Don’t worry! Learn “How to Make the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey” right now.

A tablescape with white plates, dinner napkins and a variety of small pumpkin decorations

3.    Be Mindful of Dietary Restrictions

Guests should make any allergies or dietary restrictions clear to the rest of the group well in advance. For your potluck, hand over dietary prep responsibilities to one person or have people with restrictions bring their own dishes.

4.    Stock Up on the Essentials

As a host, confirm you have enough of the basics to accommodate a larger group. You should have these items in stock before guests arrive:

  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Extra coasters, plates, cups, etc.
  • A folding table/extra chairs 

5.    Consider a Theme to Spice It Up

You can rely on traditional Friendsgiving decorations, like pumpkins, gourds, fall colors, and turkeys, but why not spice things up with a unique theme? A theme adds instant fun and creates a memorable experience for every guest. Theme ideas include: 

  • A pajama party, with a comfy feel and snacks instead of traditional dishes
  • Countdown to Christmas, with music, Christmas sweaters, and ham instead of turkey
  • Dinner and a movie, where you can watch a favorite among the friend group or try something new
  • A “whodunnit” Friendsgiving, where you all work to solve a mystery 

6.    Keep the Conversation Flowing 

The social aspect of Friendsgiving is just as important as the food. This is a chance to bring all your friends together in one place. To get the most out of your interactions, keep the conversation inclusive to the whole group. Have conversation starters ready to go as guests arrive. The following are good questions to ask: 

  • What’s the funniest thing that happened to you this year?
  • What plans do you have for the December holidays? 
  • What’s your biggest goal/resolution for next year? 
  • What’s the best Thanksgiving side dish?

Knowing how to hold a polite conversation at the dinner table is good etiquette. Check out these other etiquette tips for holiday dining

Men and women sitting at a table outdoors and lauging.

7.    Arrange Activities

Eating shouldn’t be the only thing done at Friendsgiving. To occupy the rest of your time, arrange activities for you and your friends. These can include:

  • Charades
  • Playing cards/board games 
  • Karaoke
  • Watching a holiday movie
  • Watching sports 

8.    Perfect Your Playlist

Music is a great way to set the vibe of your Friendsgiving celebration and gain additional input from your friend group. Have each friend submit a song and give everyone an opportunity to infuse their personality into the festivities. Some of our favorite albums right now are:

  • Midnights by Taylor Swift
  • Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy
  • Harry’s House by Harry Styles
  • Dawn FM by The Weeknd 

Tall candles on a dining table alongside water glasses and plates

9.    Remember to Give Thanks 

While it may seem cheesy, giving thanks is a core part of Friendsgiving, just as it is during Thanksgiving. At some point, invite each guest to talk about what they’re thankful for. To make things extra special, you can share what you’re thankful for about another guest. Maybe it’s them always being there for you, their humor, or an experience you got to share together. Whatever it is, make sure you emphasize the “friend” in Friendsgiving and thank the people around you for being in your life. 

Don’t Let Go of Your Leftovers

You’re sure to have ingredients still lying around after your Friendsgiving. For ideas on what you can do to repurpose those items, check out our article “Quick Uses for Leftover Ingredients.”