Friendsgiving: the holiday that allows you to pick and choose your dishes and your guest list – ensuring Aunt Sally’s extra dry turkey won’t cross your threshold and Uncle Bob won’t get drunk and fall asleep in his cranberry sauce again.
Kevin and I recently hosted our very first Friendsgiving in our new apartment, and we invited a handful of friends over to join in the fun. It was a decidedly daunting task – especially since three of us have food allergies/sensitivities – but we put our heads together and had a blast pulling everything together with our friends.
Here is a checklist to help you pull off the most fun, delicious Friendsgiving ever, followed by links to some of the recipes my friends and I used.
1. Determine whether or not you’d like your Friendsgiving to be a potluck.
If it’s a potluck, you’ll be off the hook for buying ingredients for, cooking and serving all of the dishes – which are excellent reasons in and of themselves. But it’ll also allow folks to bring the dishes that make Thanksgiving dinner feel like home to them.
2. Create a Google Spreadsheet to keep track of all of the dishes you’ll be serving.
You can list out the dishes you’ll be serving. You can also jot down ideas for guests who aren’t sure what to bring and let them sign up for dishes. If you have any friends with food allergies or specific preferences, it’d be great to note that somewhere on the spreadsheet so others are aware of them.
3. Determine when you’ll host your Friendsgiving dinner.
Remember you’ll need ample time to plan the menu, run to the grocery and liquor stores, and prep food for your guests. Since lots of folks travel for the holidays, you’ll also need to make sure your friends will still be in town.
4. List out all of the dishes requiring oven time, and devise a plan of attack.
Between the turkey, roasted vegetables, and baked goods, your oven will likely be cranking overtime. Figure out how to maximize oven space so you’re not scrambling to get everything in the oven at once. No one likes cold carrots!
5. Figure out seating logistics!
Do you have enough space at the table? Enough chairs? Enough plates, glasses, and silverware to feed everyone?
6. Decide how you’ll decorate your table!
Nothing brightens up a table like a nice bouquet of festive flowers and some linens, including tablecloths, place mats, and/or cloth napkins. (I bought my first set of cloth napkins from Pier1 Imports for my dinner – does that make me a real, certified adult now?!)
7. Don’t assume your guests will bring booze.
Have a couple of bottles of wine, some beer, and some non-alcoholic beverages on hand. Fortunately, our guests brought booze. Lots of it.
8. Set your table the day before your Friendsgiving.
Knife on the left or right? Where does that pesky dessert fork go? Here’s how to properly set your table. And if you tackle this the day before, you’ll have one less thing to worry about before your guests arrive.
9. Create a playlist — or use one of Spotify’s well-curated lists.
What’s a party without some good tunes?
10. Clean as you go.
You’ll most likely use every single pot, pan, and wooden spoon in your collection while preparing a Friendsgiving dinner. Clean your dishes as you go and you’ll have a significantly smaller mess to clean up after your brain is a bit fuzzy from all of the wine and boozy cider.
As I mentioned, two of my friends and I have food allergies or sensitivities we had to take into consideration. While the dinner wasn’t 100% elimination diet-friendly, we had several dishes that fit the bill, including the turkey and roasted carrots. Some of the below dishes link to recipes; others will hopefully serve as inspiration.
- Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey with Gravy
- Vegetarian Challah Mushroom Stuffing
- Maple Apple Cranberry Sauce
- Arugula, Apple & Parsnip Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
- Roasted Carrots
- Bourbon Sweet-Potato Purée with Buttered Pecans
- Extra Buttery Mashed Potatoes
- Cauliflower & Broccoli with Swiss Cheese
- Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
- Pecan Pie
- Hot Apple Cider with Rum
What tips and recipes do you have for throwing an awesome Friendsgiving dinner? Let me know in the comments below!