For the uninitiated, Friendsgiving combines the best of Thanksgiving (hello delicious food) with all your closest friends standing in for family. Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Joey, and Phoebe basically celebrated Friendsgiving every season, but never used the word. Some of the Friends Thanksgiving episodes made the list of the very best in the series, too. (No one does Thanksgiving like Friends.)
Before we dig in here, let’s make one thing clear: Friendsgiving is all about having fun with your friends while noshing on Thanksgiving goodness. So you don’t ~have~ to do anything like DIY cute centerpieces or make a cheese plate that looks like little pieces of pumpkin pie. Friendsgiving should be stress-relieving, not stress-inducing. So if your version involves sending a message to your group text chain at the last minute, asking them to bring over whatever dishes they can, and then having a picnic on the floor of your apartment, by all means.
But! If I had you at the phrase “cheese plate that looks like little pieces of pumpkin pie,” then you’re in luck: The are some pretty simple ways you can zhuzh up your friendsgiving affair so it’s still low-key and fun but also Instagram-worthy.
Whether you turn Thanksgiving Day itself into a friendsgiving event or gather your pals before or after turkey day, there are some pretty simple ways to elevate the feast. Here, 12 friendsgiving ideas to make your potluck the toast of your crew.
1. Use a Facebook group to make planning easy.
You can keep track of who’s coming, yes—but a Facebook group will do more than that. It also lets you create a list of specific dishes or categories and ask friends to sign up for what they each want to bring, as well as poll people to see if there are different dietary preferences among your guests. Oh, and sharing a few memes to get everyone in a party mood is never a bad idea.
2. Set the tone with crowdsourced music.
In addition to asking friends to bring a potluck dish, ask them to add a song they’re grateful for to a shared playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. As the night goes on, it’ll be fun to guess who suggested each song. (And may I suggest “Friendsgiving” by Bachelor in Paradise star John Paul Jones if you need a recommendation? It’s tailor-made for the occasion.)
3. Look crafty without spending a ton.
Cover your table(s) with kraft paper, then use a marker to write people’s names where they’ll be sitting, trace plates to show where plates will go—whatever. Honestly, you could even leave it blank for a chic DIY look.
4. Turn the cheese board into a photo opp.
These bites might look like miniature slices of pumpkin pie, but they’re actually cheddar cheese with crackers. “Cubed cheddar + crackers + cream cheese spread = cutest Thanksgiving appetizer ever,” writes DIYer Erin Phraner in the caption. Couldn’t agree more!
5. Shake up a signature cocktail.
May I suggest this apple cider sangria? It’s sure to get everyone in a festive mood.
6. Get creative with the menu.
Whether you’re hosting or attending, Friendsgiving is an opportunity to play in the kitchen. “I wanted to try a thanksgiving meatball recipe I saw in a cookbook, and friendsgiving was the perfect occasion. I knew everyone would be getting their fill of roasted turkey, so the turkey meatballs were a fun change of pace,” says Robin Hilmantel, Women’s Health Digital Director. (BTW, here’s that turkey meatball recipe.)
7. Set up a low-fi photo booth.
With a Polaroid camera (or, hey, your phones) and these photo booth props, you have instant Instagram fodder.
8. Have a pie-baking contest.
Even if your friends aren’t obsessed with Great British Baking Show, they’ll love a bit of competition. Encourage your guests to channel Mary Berry and taste-test all the entries. Everyone wins in a Friendsgiving bake-off, there’s more dessert to go around.
9. Play games after feasting.
The top priority is cooking and eating, but leave time for games after the big meal. “I’m a big fan of games when you’ve finished eating and can’t move,” says Aryelle Siclait, Women’s Health Assistant Editor. Think card games, charades, or phone-based games like Heads Up that get everyone involved. Friendsgiving activities can be more active too, later in the evening. “I had a dance-off at one of my Friendsgivings this weekend after we’d all digested a bit,” says Siclait.
10. Give friends festive take-home containers for leftovers.
To ensure none of the home-cooked and carefully planned dishes go to waste, plan for leftovers. Every friend can grab a container to fill up and keep the merriment going. These foil containers are oven-safe, holiday-themed, and arrive quickly with one-day delivery on amazon.
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