In spirit, Thanksgiving is about bringing friends and family around the table to share a feast. It’s the perfect holiday to open up your celebration to an international roommate, and perhaps other friends or students who don’t have family nearby! Fret not, your turkey doesn’t need to come with a side of stress.
Defined, Friendsgiving is a gathering of, you guessed it, friends who are cobbling together their own holiday and traditions. Think of it as a warm-up for Festivus (the Seinfeld-created December holiday “for the rest of us” because Friendsgiving is similar in spirit). The Friendsgiving trend is especially popular with Millennials, who are celebrating Thanksgiving with family and then getting a second serving of the holiday with friends. For our purposes, we love the trend as a way to gather together friends, neighbors and students who might not have enough time to fly home for the holiday.
Here’s 9 ways you can host a stress-free and fun Friendsgiving!
- Keep it as casual as you’d like. You can leave the fancy-schmancy tablescape and 15-ingredient side dishes for Thanksgiving itself. Friendsgiving is known for being a fairly laid-back celebration. Paper plates? Sure. Potluck-style serving? You bet. Store-bought pumpkin pies? No problem. The key ingredient here is good company! And, the turkey — which is actually pretty easy to prepare, basting it with butter and seasoning it with savory herbs.
- Hold it on a weekend. No rules here! You can hold your Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving day. But if it’s a secondary celebration, holding it on the weekend might be your best bet so people aren’t scrambling from work to make it to dinner on time.
- Consider a Friendsgiving brunch. Two words: Pumpkin pancakes. A leisurely brunch is a great way to bring friends together and still enjoy an autumnal feast. Some ideas: Apple cider mimosas, a cranberry quick bread, sweet potato casseroles, sticky buns with pecans. Mmm.
- Keep the decorations simple. An autumn bouquet adds a nice touch. A leftover pack of cranberries in a vase is a quick way to give your table an autumn makeover. Dab some metallic paint on pine cones or set out some mini gourds. A little thought goes a long way here.
- Ask your guests to bring a dish to share. Divvy up the side dishes, desserts, and beverages so that you can give that turkey your undivided attention. To ensure that everybody doesn’t bring mashed potatoes, set up a shareable Google doc where guests can notate what they’ll be, well, bringing to the table.
- Delegate responsibilities in the kitchen. The point here is to not be so busy in the kitchen, you can’t enjoy the company. Your roommate can be in charge of hanging up coats. Entrust your best friend with bartender duties for the night. Another guest can be the designated turkey carver.
- Consider dietary limitations. If you have friends coming who are vegan or vegetarian, make sure there will be meatless dishes. A good idea: A pumpkin soup made with veggie, rather than chicken, stock. Leave the candied bacon on the side of the salad. Also, make sure there’s non-alcoholic beverages in the mix.
- Get in a good laugh. Fact: Laughter reduces stress! (This was confirmed by a study at the Loma Linda University that found a good laugh can lower the levels of cortisol, that stress-inducing hormone we’re all too familiar with around final exams time or the holiday season). After serving pumpkin pie, play a fun game like charades or Apples to Apples.
- Send your guests home with leftovers. It’s a nice gesture! But it will also ease the clean-up. Tell guests ahead of time to come prepared with their own Tupperware. Bonus, you and your guests can use your leftover turkey to assemble this famous sandwich from the sitcom Friends. (Yeah, we’re talking about a layer of gravy-soaked bread!)