How to Host a ‘Friendsgiving’ Gathering

Kiki Powers

by | Updated: October 13th, 2020 | Read time: 4 minutes

Along with cozy fall tidings, November may also offer interesting ways to expand upon existing traditions. Take the increasingly popular “Friendsgiving” for example. What is this type of gathering all about, how did it evolve, and how do you go about hosting one? Glad you asked!

Friendsgiving Ideas Being Carried Out by Happy Group of Friends Setting Outdoor Table for Holiday Gathering | Vitacost.vom/blog

What is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving might best be described as a “Thanksgiving” specifically for close friends—quite a different prospect from the annual, often obligatory gathering with immediate family and assorted relatives. And, while Friendsgiving may have originated as a version of Thanksgiving for those far from family on the holiday, it has in recent years become part of our popular culture on its own merit.

How do you plan a Friendsgiving feast?

When it comes to this fun and rather unconventional party theme, there are no strict guidelines—Friendsgiving is fully customizable to your whims, preferences and budget. See the tips below to make hosting one easier on yourself and to avoid common pitfalls. Remember, you get to craft this just the way you like!

Are you required to feature typical Thanksgiving fare?

Indeed no, which is one of the great advantages of this unique pre-holiday gathering. While your family traditions—or in some cases, the insistence of others—may dictate the usual turkey, stuffing, pies, etc. for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, on the other hand, is a perfect chance to create your own version of a fall feast among friends. In that respect, it can be a dream come true for highly creative and/or unconventional foodies, as well as vegans and vegetarians who may have long wished for a fully plant-based banquet but end up caving in to “tradition” year after year.

Given the lack of holiday “rules,” Friendsgiving offers a splendid opportunity to explore festive cuisine from other cultures. Maybe an East Indian-themed feast, or a deliciously colorful Mexican-style buffet that can be largely prepared in advance?

So, how should you structure your Friendsgiving?

With ease, ideally. It’s all about gathering with your friends, who, like you, are also probably quite busy; this makes collaboration a key practical element in your planning. A “potluck” concept is thus ideal, perhaps with a motif, like 100% plant-based, BBQ, Asian Fusion, or whatever, ensuring a variety of items to try. People often enjoy bringing a signature dish to share, which of course makes things much easier on the host!

Try these friendsgiving ideas and tips for a fun, successful event:

  • Select a date at least a week before Thanksgiving and give adequate notice for busy schedules. You may even opt for an “open house” format so folks can flow in and out as they need.
  • Keep it casual. If you feel your home must look perfect, you may prefer to opt out. Instead, remember, the idea is to simply gather with friends for whom you are grateful.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed with a huge guest list. Starting with just a handful of friends (who are also acquainted) may work best initially; you can always expand upon this in future.
  • Consider a theme. This enables you to clearly distinguish your gathering from Thanksgiving. This could be a menu style (vegan, ethic-themed cuisine, etc.) as well as a gathering type, such as wine tasting and tapas, potluck buffet, appetizers and drinks, a coffee, liqueur and dessert ensemble, even a fireside picnic! This will then guide the contributions from others.
  • Streamline your efforts with items you can create in a snap, like this easy show stopper for your buffet: simply arrange fresh, sliced pears on a platter, drizzle with this decadent salted chocolate caramel sauce, and top with chopped raw walnuts. Ooh la la!
  • Skip the full bar. Invite guests to bring a favorite wine, beer or liqueur to share, maybe something with a story behind it.
  • Offer fun, non-alcoholic options, such as iced hibiscus, Earl Grey, and green tea, several flavors of kombucha, or this festive sparkling apple-grape cider (which can be mixed 50/50 with Prosecco for a lightly alcoholic refresher).
  • If you feel so inclined, enrich your gathering by inviting anyone who wishes to sing or play a song, share a poem, or tell a fun travel story or vignette.

Friendsgiving presents a wonderful option to celebrate good food and beloved friendships, provided you find it manageable. So again, aim for a low-stress production using any of the above tactics that work for you. Ask for help, keep it casual, employ clever short-cuts, and if you can, finalize food prep before guests arrive so you can relax and enjoy. Cheers!