If you're one of the many people who are not able to travel home due to professional obligations or financial limitations (i.e., you're broke!), Friendsgiving is an intimate, fun, stress-free alternative to spending Turkey Day with the family. Lauded as a curated Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a judgment-free zone gathering that involves potluck, booze and your best buddies. Here are a few tips to keep in mind in order to make the affair unforgettable:
Planning & Invites
Planning should begin earlier in the month. Since Friendsgiving is a more casual event, utilizing Evite or Paperless Post is perfect for this event. Be precise about arrival times, directions and ask people about food allergies as to avoid awkward situations. If needed, you can rent small tables or ask your friends to bring an extra piece of furniture over to help accomodate guests. Once you have an accurate number of attendees the real prep begins: purchasing food.
As i stated earlier, planning should begin earlier in the month—emphasis on "should." If this is a last-minute get-together, feel free to give your squad a call and ask them straight-up what they're doing for the holiday. You never know who is stuck without plans.
Tip: Don’t invite individuals via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It's tacky.
Friendsgiving was designed for potluck. The goal is to make this meal as seamless and stress-free as possible, so ask people to bring their favorite dishes and assign categories so there are no duplicates. If someone can't bring food, tell them to bring the booze and ice.
As the host, you should be responsible for larger dishes like turkey, ham or lamb, making the gravy and other sides that may cause a catastrophe while transporting. Prepare a separate table for all the dishes. Have your friends write the name of their dish with a short description for it. This acts as a great conversation-starter.
Tip: Have plenty of snacks and appetizers readily available upon arrival of guests; it can be as simple as a cheese plate, veggies, fruits, dips, expensive chocolates and a signature cocktail.
No need to be stressed about formal setting since cheap plates and silverware at thrift stores and flea markets work perfectly. Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils and platters. If your friends are bringing sides, have them bring serving bowls, too. If you’re serving dinner buffet-style, wrap flatware in napkins and put the bundles at the end of the buffet line so people can grab them when they’re done loading their plates. A small-scale tablescape, think gourds or small, seasonal floral arrangements, are all you need to lighten the mood and get everyone in the spirit. Bottom line: as long as it looks nice and you friends approve, then your job is done!
Tip: Make sure you leave room for the food to be placed on the table arrangement. Overcrowding leads to anxiety and this is supposed to be a super casual environment.
Booze is usually overflowing during Friendsgiving, but you have to keep in mind that this is a dinner party first and foremost. Alcohol is the new side dish so make sure you have plenty of cocktails and beer on hand. Depending on your friends, you can do either go wine and beer only, or plan on one signature cocktail to have as your house drink. Remember, dinner first, tipsy afterwards.
Tip: Think seasonal ingredients like nutmeg, pumpkin, apple, pear and other spices to elevate your drink and get you in a celebratory and fun mood!
No should leave belly-full and empty-handed, plates of leftovers being the exception, so reward your guests with some cool incentives. Create prizes for Best Side Dish, Best Outfit, Best Attitude and other superlatives to fit the occasion. Prepare goody bags filled with your favorite candies, nuts, jams, beauty samples and personalized notes.