How to Host Friendsgiving

Originally Published on October 28, 2021. Last Updated on August 18, 2022.

Friendsgiving has been a huge holiday in recent years, with seven in 10 Americans ranging from ages 18 to 38 preferring Friendsgiving over a traditional Thanksgiving. We totally get it — you don’t have to worry about being on your best behavior, offending grandma, or being bombarded with personal questions. If you’ve ever felt this way on Turkey Day, why not host Friendsgiving and celebrate with people you care about while enjoying good food and drinks?

Friendsgiving is exactly what it sounds like — Thanksgiving with your chosen family instead of your actual relatives. Make it an additional celebration to the real Thanksgiving, or replace it altogether — it’s your choice. Read on, and we’ll show you how to plan an epic Friendsgiving party.

Happy young woman sitting by Thanksgiving table among her friends

How to Plan a Friendsgiving

Like any party, the key to hosting a successful Friendsgiving is planning ahead and creating memorable moments your friends will savor for years to come. Here are our favorite Friendsgiving ideas to inspire you:

Assign a Dish to Each Friend

You don’t want three different people showing up with green bean casserole, so ask everyone to bring a specific dish. Send a sign-up sheet via Google Docs so everyone can keep track of who’s making what. Since you’re the host, it’s a good idea to supply the turkey or whichever showstopper will be the main dish, but encourage your friends to bring the sides and desserts.

 PRO TIP: make sure you stock up on extra containers so you can pack leftovers for your friends to take home. 

Thanksgiving dish of bread - Stuffing with mushrooms. Thanksgiving Day. the traditional dishes for Thanksgiving.

Play Games Big Kids Enjoy

Friendsgiving isn’t just about food and friends (although those are necessary components in creating a successful Friendsgiving). There are other F-words involved… such as “festivities,” “frolics,” and “fun.” In other words, play games. Adults like playing games too, so consider offering activities before or after the meal that keep everyone engaged and laughing. Check out this list of Minute to Win It-Style Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving if you prefer) games that work for people of all ages. Highlights from this list include:

  • Shake Your Tail Feathers — Fill empty tissue boxes with fake feathers. Secure a pair of pantyhose onto each box (tape/hot glue/whatever works) so the box is in the middle of the pantyhose. To play, have each player tie the pantyhose around their waist so the tissue box is on their backside. Players — without using their hands — must shimmy, shake, and jostle around until all of the feathers fall out of their tissue boxes. The first person to empty their tissue box wins. 
  • Feather Float —  Each player gets a fake feather. Everyone must blow the feather in the air and keep it floating in the air as long as they can. Whoever keeps it up longest wins.

Group of creative friends sitting at wooden table. People having fun while playing board game.

Plan To Eat Outdoors

If the forecast calls for a beautiful day on Friendsgiving, take advantage and enjoy your meal outdoors. Decorations and table presentations play a big part in this celebration, so consider these Friendsgiving decor ideas to make your outdoor meal delicious and scenic. You can apply these ideas to indoor dining setups as well.

  • Lay out a neutral table runner — Burlap is an excellent choice because it provides texture and autumn vibes for your outdoor dining table.
  • Arrange mini pumpkins and fall leaves on the runner — Pinecones and artificial fruit also make great Friendsgiving decorations.
  • Use a simple flower centerpiece — Consider clipping flowers from your outdoor garden to create a cohesive look.
  • Include copper elements — Boost the fall ambiance with copper accessories such as flatware, wine glasses, candle holders, and chargers.
  • Add in something cozy — Draping blankets over a couple of dining chairs add an extra dose of fall coziness.

Throw in Some Fun and Games

Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be a formal event by any means. So have fun with it and bust out some activities! You could rent a karaoke machine and sing along to Christmas classics. If the weather cooperates, set up a few backyard games like giant Jenga or cornhole. Maybe organize a Chopped-style competition with alcohol and see who can create the tastiest cocktail with a mixed bag of ingredients. 

Include Your Virtual Friends

If you have friends who want to come but aren’t able to attend in person, make sure to include them with a Zoom call or activity. Consider setting up a virtual post-dinner happy hour or playing Zoom-friendly games such as charades, trivia, or Quiplash

Video call. Remote work. A girl work from home. She communicate via video communication with colleagues using laptop

While these ideas can certainly help create a great celebration, there’s no right or wrong way to host a Friendsgiving.  Want to order takeout and watch Netflix? Go for it! Friendsgiving is all about taking it easy and connecting with friends as the year winds down. 

Are you going to host a Friendsgiving this year? We want to hear about it in the comments below!

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