The holiday season is officially here, and first up is Thanksgiving. Personally, I think the best part of the Thanksgiving season is actually Friendsgiving. Who doesn’t love munching on delicious food with their besties to kick off the most wonderful time of the year? The secret to hosting a successful Friendsgiving is bigger than just the menu, however. It’s about the decor, the vibe, and, most importantly, the memories you and your friends will make together. If it’s your turn to host this year, read on for everything you’ll need to ensure your Friendsgiving goes down in friend group history.
1. Send out real invitations
The first step to planning Friendsgiving is the invites! Do better than a simple text to the group chat and make your Friendsgiving official with an actual invitation. If you don’t want to send snail mail, you can create fun and festive invites for free on sites like Canva or Paperless Post. Be sure to ask your friends to RSVP so you know who’s coming and if anyone is bringing a guest.
2. Strategically plan out the menu
Your Friendsgiving menu doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require some forethought. Remember: you don’t have to cook the entire meal yourself—Friendsgiving is the perfect time for a potluck! When you send out your invites, ask everyone to sign up to bring a side dish (make sure to coordinate so you don’t end up with multiples of the same thing!). You can also request your guests bring a dessert, then set everything out for a dessert bar or make it a bake-off competition!
Before the main course, you’ll also want to serve some appetizers. Keep it simple (yet delicious) with snacks like veggies and dip, charcuterie, or frozen apps you can pop into the oven. If you want to take it up a notch, coordinate your appetizers with the drink menu so your guests can have fun mixing cocktails and snacking while they wait for the feast to begin.
3. Craft signature cocktails
No event is complete without a signature cocktail! Turn your bar cart into a DIY cocktail station complete with recipe cards for your signature cocktails. Provide the glasses, straws, and all the necessary ingredients so your friends can make their own. While you’re at it, make sure to include some non-alcoholic drink options so everyone can partake in the mixology fun with or without booze.
4. Set up a photo booth
I don’t know about you, but I love a good photo booth. Whether you use it to capture group photos or attempt to learn the latest TikTok dance, designate a space where you and your friends can get creative. Create a backdrop with a banner or balloons that say “Friendsgiving” or “Thankful,” add a prop basket, and have fun!
5. Create a festive vibe
Is your Friendsgiving vibe elegant, laid-back, or somewhere in between? Whatever you choose, set up your gathering space to reflect your vision. You can transform the room with just a few simple decorations, like seasonal flowers, pumpkins, candles, and twinkle lights. When you set the table, add custom name cards to each setting so everyone knows where to sit. Plus, a personalized place setting is a perfect photo opp!
For ambience, put on a festive playlist in the background. You can either curate one yourself, or ask your friends to add their favorite songs to a collaborative Friendsgiving playlist. If you want something on the TV instead, turn on a football game, a holiday movie, or even a fake fireplace for cozy vibes. I personally like to queue up a few Thanksgiving episodes from my favorite shows. My number one rec? Gossip Girl Season 1, Episode 9: “Blair Waldorf Must Pie!”
6. Play some games
Games are always a good idea at any gathering. During dinner, have a stack of table talk questions handy to spark some fun conversations. You can either purchase a deck of question cards or create them yourself to make them personal to your friend group. Having a few thought-starters on hand can help you get to know your friends even better—and get familiar with their plus-ones! If you want to keep the party going and the drinks flowing, throw it back to the college days with games like Truth or Drink, Piccolo, Never Have I Ever, or a classic like Flip Cup.
And of course, while not technically a game, remember to go around the table at dinner and say what you’re thankful for. After all, that’s what this holiday is all about!
7. Don’t forget the leftovers!
Everyone’s favorite part of the holidays? The leftovers. Ask your guests to bring their own Tupperware container or buy some affordable ones you’re OK parting with so your friends can take leftovers home with them.