This guide has everything you need to know to host a Friendsgiving Thanksgiving dinner party with ideas for a Thanksgiving tablescape, delicious recipes, hostess tips, and more. You’ll love the Friendsgiving menu and party decor we set up outside. Make this a potluck style party and get ready for Thanksgiving entertaining with friends!
These ideas for Friendsgiving are tried and true and have been tested by my friends and me for years. Follow this guide for a fun-filled celebration!
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
What is a Friendsgiving Party?
Friendsgiving is the newest trend in entertaining for Thanksgiving. It’s a fantastic tradition that’s been gaining in popularity over the last decade. And I LOVE hosting it!
We used to have a circle of friends who were all transplants with no family nearby. So we all got together on Thanksgiving day to celebrate with each other and our children.
Those are some of my fondest memories of any holidays over the years. But as seasons change, so do the seasons of life. Our Friendsgiving celebrations phased out as friends moved away, and lives and families changed and evolved.
I still love the idea, though. And you can plan to hold your Friendsgiving dinner a week or two before the actual holiday, or on Thanksgiving itself.
How do you host Friendsgiving?
- Usually the host will cook the turkey and whatever else she chooses, while everyone else brings a side dish or dessert to share. You get to try new recipes that other’s hold dear, and there’s an amazing variety of food available.
PARTY TIP: Be prepared to share your recipes with the others so they can add it to their holiday menu repertoire. Print out a few copies beforehand so you can hand them out.
- Start planning your dinner party at the beginning of November. That way everyone has time to plan what dish they will make to bring. This is definitely a potluck party!
- The entire nature of Friendsgiving is that you celebrate with good friends. There’s no need to send formal invitations. Just start a text chain, a facebook event, or send an Evite digital invitation where everyone can respond with their items.
Host a Friendsgiving for friends who don’t have family near by and can’t travel.
- If you’re celebrating on the actual Thanksgiving holiday, this is a great time to invite guests who may not have plans otherwise. Extend your friend group to include co-workers, neighbors, or friends of friends who can’t be with their own family.
When we celebrated Friendsgiving it was an all day event. Guests would arrive to the host house by around 11 am or noon. We’d eat appetizers and sip wine, and talk and play games while the turkey finished cooking. Dinner usually happened around 6 or 7pm.
Friendsgiving Thanksgiving Tablescape
Creating a Thanksgiving table setting is my favorite part of hosting. Well, that and the food…and the wine…and friends…so basically all the things make me happy about Friendsgiving!
For this Friendsgiving party, I was drawn to the color combination of blue and orange. And our new patio was the perfect setting. If you’re in a warmer climate, an outdoor setting may be a good fit for you too.
The table setting I created is casual and inviting. But it still has a holiday feel with a large flower arrangement and mini pumpkins. If you’re into a more formal look, check out my dinning room table for holiday entertaining.
- This table was super simple to pull together using an inexpensive burlap runner, basic white dishes, and coordinating napkins and drink ware.
- I implemented my secrets to flower arranging to create the centerpiece. I wanted a showstopping flower arrangement but didn’t want it to get in the way of conversation across the table. So I moved it to one end where it’s still a focal point but doesn’t impede the view between guests.
- Line candle sticks down the center of the table and place mini pumpkins on top. This brings in a pop of color and whimsy to the setting.
- Mixed metallics are the “jewelry” of the table with brass candlesticks, gold flatware, gold-painted lucky wishbones, and copper Moscow mule cups.
- Pine cones are a natural element that doubles as place card holders.
TIP: If you pick your pine cones from the wild, get rid of any lingering critters by following one of the techniques here.
How to Plan Friendsgiving
When you host a Friendsgiving Thanksgiving be prepared with these party ideas. The host can be in charge of games and take-home boxes, or assign a guest to bring them.
Make sure to have cozy seating areas ready to gather in. The best part is that most of the work has already been done so when you get together you can relax and have fun together.
- We sip on autumn cocktails or wine, and nibble on light appetizers throughout the day while the turkey finishes cooking.
- Be prepared with some fun interactive games to play. We love playing Apples to Apples, or Cards Against Humanity. A game of poker can be fun, and of course there’s football on tv to watch.
- Set up a lounge area and serve my hot Russian tea for sipping. Add a shot of rum or bourbon to make it extra special for the adults.
- If you’re lucky enough to set up on the patio provide blankets and throws, and wood in the fire pit in case the temperature drops.
- Don’t stress too much about seating. You can move chairs and benches back and forth from the sitting area to the dinner table, when needed.
- At the end of the meal each guest can take their shot at pulling the “lucky wishbone” with a partner to see who’s wishes will come true!
HOSTESS TIP: Have some disposable containers on hand so guests can take home leftovers for lunch the next day.
Friendsgiving Thanksgiving Menu
DO coordinate your menu with your friends so you don’t have three mac n’ cheeses, and no pies! For the “cooking challenged” we assign dinner rolls, an easy appetizer, or wine.
Here are some of my favorite holiday and Thanksgiving recipes you can make and take.