Hosting Friendsgiving? You’re Going to Want to Follow These Tips
ICYMI: Hosting Friendsgiving is basically just an excuse to celebrate the best holiday (yes, you heard me) twice. Not only do you get to enjoy all that good Turkey Day food yet again, but you also get to eat those classic dishes with your ride-or-dies instead of your weird second cousins you’re forced to hang out with every year. Since people might wanna go all out this year with get-togethers, the stakes could *not* be higher to break out your event-planning skills.
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving over Zoom or working with a guest list of 40+, you gotta make sure that you go down as The Best Friendsgiving Host because, yes, life is a competition—and you deserve to win. Kidding, I know you and your friends love each other very much and would never fight over who hosted the better Friendsgiving.
Still, I take party hosting very seriously and want you to come out on top. And that means looking beyond the actual menu. From the food to the drinks to the gratitude and general love fest, there are endless ways to make your party A+. On this list, it’s all about those tiny moments that upgrade the experience, from the ice cream bar (yes, you’ll wanna do it) to the Thanksgiving Day-themed photo booth to the Thanksgiving drinking game (lol) and everything in between.
Read on for 26 Friendsgiving party ideas to show your friends how much you love and care for them. Cue the awws (and satisfied ooooohs).
1. Decorate with banners.
Hanging one of these babies (this one is orange!!) is super easy and gives the room a personal touch. Go with the pre-made “Give Thanks” or “Happy Friendsgiving” ones, or design your own to say whatever you want.
2. Everyone gets a special (non-plastic) straw.
3. Lay out some place cards.
Is it an unnecessary touch? Meh, probably. But it feels fancy, Adult™, and something Martha Stewart would approve of. Also, these are so cute your guests will wanna take them home.
4. Make an ice cream bar.
Okay, so we can all agree that ice cream is the fan-favorite dessert, right? But instead of just eating it as a complement to pie this Friendsgiving, why don’t you just set up a whole seasonal spread? Replace hot fudge with caramel sauce, sprinkles with coffee cake crumbles, and cherries with diced apples sprinkled with cinnamon. You can also go super hard-core and buy a fall-themed flavor like sweet potato pie! (Take pity on us poor lactose-intolerant folks, lol, and maybe give us a sorbet or something.) Team ice cream 5ever. <3
5. Play Thanksgiving bingo.
You’re never too old to play some bingo, and this cute, very on-theme board allows you to get a little competitive while staying true to the holiday. Grab a set and play with your crew during the post-turkey stupor.
6. Send out actual invites.
Before you even get to the dinner, step up your party game by sending out real paper invites (side note: no Facebook Events, anymore, ever.). Not only will your friends feel special, but you can also personalize the note. Design your own or grab a cute template from Etsy like the one above.
7. Gift everyone their own special wine glass.
(1) It’s a great little party gift, and (2) your guests can just take them home, so you don’t even have to worry about doing those dishes later. Oh, and (3) they come in everyone’s favorite colors.
8. Turn it into a pajama party.
It can be fun to dress up, but throwing a full-blown pajama party for your Friendsgiving is more fun than wearing dresses and ties. The dress code provides an opportunity for friends to show off some fun and festive jammies, and everyone will be comfy, which is all you can ask for while stuffing your faces.
9. Set the scent.
Light a candle that just straight-up embodies fall, and your guests will be greeted with a welcoming aroma upon their arrival. Go for something that has hints of fir and earthy notes to really get in the spirit of the holiday.
10. Decorate your door.
Obviously, the first thing your guests see upon arrival needs to be over-the-top decor, right? Go for something stylish and festive, like a beautiful fall wreath, or go all out with a door cover that doubles as a step and repeat.
11. Create a foliage-inspired buffet.
A post shared by Denise BeMyGuestWithDenise (@bemyguestwithdenise)
Let’s be honest, there’s usually nothing better than a buffet (in non-COVID times, ofc), but with a gorgeous tablescape, your guests might not even notice all the pies sitting on the table. (Which means more for you!)
12. Make it virtual.
Friendsgiving can be tricky, especially if some of your besties don’t live in the same city as you. This is why it’s almost better to do a virtual Friendsgiving, so you can all enjoy the holiday together! This is the trick that Destiney Green (aka @momcrushmonday) uses every year. “When we can’t make it to every place our loved ones reside, video chat is bae! It’s how we can always stay connected,” says Green.
13. Make an apple vodka cocktail.
Nothing differentiates Thanksgiving with your family and Thanksgiving with your friends like the drinks. Put that apple cider to use to make an Apple Doesn’t Fall Far cocktail from Svedka. To stir one up, add 2 parts Svedka Citron, 2 parts apple juice, 1 part ginger beer, and ½ parts fresh lime juice to a Collins glass. Stir well, garnish with a slice of ginger, and drink up.
14. Host a potluck.
A post shared by Megan 👩🌾 B.Sc. Horticulture (@mamamakesfood)
If you have all your guests bring their fave dish, that is obvs less work for you, but it’s also the only way to do Friendsgiving. Like, are you really going to shell out 1 million dollars for this thing? No way. If you’re hosting, make the turkey and gravy, then email your guests a spreadsheet so they can write down what they’re bringing. I’m not saying it’s bad to have four bowls of mashed potatoes, but then who’s gonna bring the stuffing?!
15. Or…have everyone bring a pie.
A post shared by Megan Evans (@megunprocessed)
Extend the potluck vibes to your dessert buffet. Have everyone bring their favorite type of pie so you (okay, fine, and everyone else) can try them all. To make a game out of it, tell your guests to keep what they brought a secret. Then have everyone guess who brought which pie. The winner…gets more pie!
16. Decorate with butcher paper.
A post shared by Monarch Manor (@mnrchmanor)
Everyone has probably gone around the table and said what they’re thankful for at Thanksgiving before, but if you swap a boring old tablecloth for butcher paper, everyone can write out what they’re thankful for right in front of them. Then you can read yours aloud throughout dinner.
17. Be a child and make turkey hands.
A post shared by Foodies & Boobies (@foodiesandboobiesbrunch)
Remember the simple days when you were little and drew these in grade school? Who says we can’t do that now? Pull out some paper, some pencils, and get to tracing. Have your friends hang theirs on the wall or just get tipsy and pretend to gobble-gobble.
18. Deck out your photo booth.
I can’t remember the last ~good~ party I’ve been to that didn’t have a photo booth. These cute props will up your Insta game and make all your pictures super fun.
19. Have a holiday movie marathon.
After you’re done eating, nothing is more enjoyable than lounging around on the couch. Cuddle up with your pals and start watching your favorite Christmas movies (bc it really is never too early). You can all write down your favorites and then draw from a bowl in order to pick what’s on deck.
20. Get some very on-brand cookware.
No matter what you make, you’re gonna wanna both cook AND serve it in something preeetttyyy. This pumpkin dutch oven is definitely, of course, one hundred percent something that you will use during every other holiday season.
21. Play a drinking game.
Pre-game the meal with these cute game cards, which tell you to sip based on all things T Day. Need boozy inspo? Check this list of the best cocktails and wines to pair with Thanksgiving turkey (and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pumpkin).
22. Make it a football-slash-food party.
A post shared by Ola Balloon-Balloon Artist (@olaballoonsg)
If you live somewhere that isn’t miserably cold, make your Friendsgiving a picnic. Bring all the food and drinks you’d have indoors outside so you can also enjoy football or even frisbee too.
23. Split the wishbone.
Draw two of your guests’ names from a hat and have those lucky people split the wishbone from the turkey. Obvi, they’ll get luck and good cheer and all that fun stuff, but if you’re feeling wild come up with a real gift to give the winner. A cute wishbone-shaped necklace, perhaps?
24. BYO storage containers.
Tell everyone to BYO fave take-home container, so you’re not stuck with six extra pounds of cranberry sauce at the end of the night.
25. Make homemade hot chocolate.
A post shared by Garianne (@gariannestable)
At the end of the meal, start makin’ hot chocolate for everyone. Be sure to set out some bourbon and rum so your peeps can add an extra kick.
26. Turn it into brunch.
A post shared by Maggie May (@maggiemaysydney)
Save all your sweet potato hash and pumpkin pancake recipes for a Friendsgiving brunch. If you’re the friend group that brunches religiously, why change that? Mimosas and Thanksgiving sound like a perfect combo to me.
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