Congrats! You’re hosting the best faux holiday of the year, and it’s going to be flippin’ awesome. Aside from it being a glorious day of eating and drinking in stretchy pants, I love Friendsgiving because it’s the perfect opportunity to get together with bff’s before the craziness of the winter holidays sets in. And while Thanksgiving with family may be steeped in tradition, a dinner with friends gives you more flexibility, allowing you to host exactly the kind of party you want.
To help you make the most of this joyous occasion, I’ve listed 6 of my favorite Friendsgiving tips below.
Get Creative With The Menu
Since Friendsgiving is more laid back than Thanksgiving, you can literally serve anything you want. In my book, I offer Cuban, Southern-American, and vegan menus, centered around roast pork, buttermilk-fried chicken, and cauliflower steaks, respectively. I even had a friend tell me she’s planning a taco bar for hers! Whatever you choose to cook, just make sure it goes well together – e.g. you don’t want to serve Vietnamese spring rolls with Spaghetti Bolognese.
Delegate and Communicate
For my past Friendsgivings, I’ve always cooked all the food myself and had guests pitch in with snacks, booze, and desserts. I prefer it this way because nothing gives me more joy than spending all day in the kitchen cooking for friends. If you prefer to a potluck, the host (that’s you!) should cook all the items that have to be served immediately – like turkey, which can dry out quickly, or mashed potatoes, which get lumpy if they sit out. Salads or other room temperature sides can be contributed by friends; just be sure to hold off dressing salads until dinnertime lest they wilt or become gross.
If you choose the potluck route, it’s a good idea to have a group text or shared Google doc to make sure everyone knows who’s bringing what so you don’t end up with a five versions of roasted butternut squash.
Think In Color
Speaking of squash, envision your menu in color. Serving an array of seasonal vegetables brings textural interest, festive hues, and a variety of nutrients to the table. It’s also good to have a mix of raw veg (think endive, arugula, Romaine) and cooked (sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower).
My Golden Rule of Silverware (+ Dishware, etc.)
If hosting one to eight guests, use real metal silverware, ceramic dishware, glass stemware, etc. Yes, you will have to do more dishes, but eating off of adult servingware is just so much nicer. Eight or more guests? Disposible will do – just use the recyclable or compostable stuff. And if you’re over the age of 21, there is no excuse for red Solo cups; opt for clear plastic wine tumblers instead.
No Dining Table? No Problem
Set up a buffet on your coffee table or kitchen counter. People love being cooked for so much, they won’t care whether they’re eating off their laps or on official dining furniture.
Plan After-Dinner Activities
Avoid the après-meal food coma with help from a game or activity. I am a huge fan of charades (like borderline-weird, huge) and the card game Taboo. As for phone apps, I’m obsessed with Heads Up, the game backed by Ellen Degeneres.
Because I’m a hopeless control freak, I’ve also created a “Stress-Free Friendsgiving Checklist” (click to download!) and compiled some of my favorite dinner party jams into a Spotify playlist (some of these are featured in my book and some are wildcards).