What Is Friendsgiving?
And how did it become so popular?
Thanksgiving is a staple of family calendars, a chance for you to reunite with loved ones for a feast of turkey and stuffing, potatoes and pie. But cropping up on social calendars in recent years has been a bit of a Thanksgiving redux, a take two if you will — but this one has a unique twist. It's Thanksgiving with your friends.
What is Friendsgiving?
Like mashed potatoes, the name Friendsgiving is a mashup of "friends" and "Thanksgiving." The gist is to celebrate the American holiday with your best friends, while feasting on turkey, stuffing, pie, and other traditional fare. There is no set date to host this event — pre- or post-Thanksgiving works just fine.
Friendsgiving tends to be more laid back because you're hanging out with your people and not the weird uncle who resurfaces once a year. While many people peg the holiday party to the hit NBC show "Friends" — thanks to its many episodes incorporating the theme of gathering with friends for Turkey Day — there actually isn't an exact known origin. But who cares? You get to eat turkey and pie with your crew. Here's how to plan and host the best Friendsgiving, ever.
1. You need an organizer
Do you have a friend whose pantry is organized with clear and labeled snack bins? That's the person who should organize this special day.
"Having an organizer is key to a successful Friendsgiving because it keeps the event in check," Coral and Will Frischkorn, co-owners of Cured tell Allrecipes.com.
The couple says it works best when one person volunteers to host, send out the Evite and record RSVPs, plus track which dishes people are going to bring. Co-organizers, or assigning roles to people, works too! (Signupgenius.com is a free resource that allows your friends to notate what potluck dishes, desserts, drinks and supplies they are contributing to the turkey party.)
2. The host house should cook the bird
"The turkey is usually the most time sensitive and consuming element of Friendsgiving, not to mention the main event," Coral and Will suggest. "Remember it's large and hot, so it will be difficult to transport. And you don't want it to cool off and dry out."
3. Don't be fussy about overlapping dishes
This isn't your grandma's strict holiday, so don't be uptight if two people sign up to bring mac 'n cheese or a non-traditional dish.
"Most of us have an emotional connection to the dishes we love from Thanksgiving and our backgrounds in general," Coral and Will say. "Maybe they remind us of our grandparents or the favorite pie mom used to bake. Giving each guest the freedom to recreate their favorite dishes allows them to feel that homey connection, nostalgia, and joy that holidays bring."
They add, special dishes often come with a story to share — and what better way to celebrate the day, than talking around the table!
4. Create a festive welcome cocktail
"An apple cider mimosa is the perfect cocktail for Friendsgiving because it mixes the bubbly, celebratory alcohol and a seasonal juice," fashion and home designer Peter Som tells Allrecipes.com.
It's quite easy to make: Pour equal parts champagne and apple cider into a brown sugar-and- cinnamon-rimmed plastic flute. Finish with a thin green apple slice garnish.)
Som says the mocktail version is just as yummy: "Swap out the champagne with lemon flavored sparkling water."
On the topic of booze, it's best to make it a BYOB so your friends can bring their favorite beer and wine. Be sure to have a table dedicated for drinks and cups; beer can be stored in a cooler underneath, or on the back porch.
Pro tips: Have wine glass charms or markers on hand so everyone can keep track of their drinks. And please drink responsibly.
Related: 8 Best Cocktails for Thanksgiving
5. Keep appetizers light and simple
"Opt for a mixed cheese board with fresh fruit, olives, veggies, and crackers to nibble on before the main meal," Coral and Will suggest. And you can't go wrong with some casual chips and dip. The idea is to offer a small bite guests can enjoy with their drinks, while they wait for other friends to arrive with dishes for the main meal.
6. Nix a pass-the-plate dinner
"As a longtime Friendsgiving host, buffet style is the only way to go," Som says. "Passing large platters of food back and forth is too formal and awkward if there's a lot of people."
He notes that any surface — the kitchen island, counter tops, and kitchen table — works to set up a buffet, especially if there's a designated dining room table where everyone gathers with their plates to eat. Keep the buffet organized by lining up your dishes starting with vegetables, sides, stuffing, turkey and gravy; end with salad and dinner rolls.
7. Make sure there is enough seating
"The best way to ensure that everyone has a 'seat,' even if it's not at the dining or kitchen table, is to make sure that all other potential seating spots feel welcoming and also practical," Som says.
He adds that a couch, armchair, bar stools, and even an entryway bench moved closer to the action are ideal for your guests to park it with their plates. Clear the clutter and remote controls off the coffee and end tables, so there's room for plates and cups. And don't rule out floor seating if you're at a loss for chairs. "Add chic floor pillows near the coffee table," Som suggests. Friendsgiving is all about gathering around—it doesn't matter where or how you do it.
8. Got kids?
If your friends come with tiny humans, consider ways for them to keep busy, Coral and Will suggest. "We love having an art station set up for the kids, so they have a creative outlet to occupy themselves," the duo says.
Also, if you know a bunch of kiddos are coming over, consider hiring the neighborhood teen to babysit at Friendsgiving so the adults can relax. The sitter can take the kids in the yard for a game of tag and help them create simple Thanksgiving crafts.
9. Have a theme dessert
Nothing says Friendsgiving like pie, be it apple, mini pumpkin pies, sweetest Southern sweet potato, fudgy chocolate cream, holiday cherry pie — you name it! For a fun spin, make a quick and easy à la mode station with a tub of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Don't forget the pumpkin spice coffee.
10. Bring or supply Tupperwear
Send out a group email or text a few days before the party reminding everyone to bring food storage containers so they can load up on leftovers. As the host, have some spare Tupperwear and/or foil on hand, for anyone who forgets their doggy bag option.