Will you be far from your family this Thanksgiving? Don’t worry. You can take part in a new tradition—Friendsgiving. With so many people living far from their childhood hometowns, this friends-only feast is getting ever more popular.
Friendsgiving Party Ideas and Tips
The great thing about starting this new holiday tradition is that you can redefine it however you see fit. These eight ideas will help you create an affordable, custom celebration just for you and your friends. This isn’t your Nana’s strict tradition, after all.
1. FRIENDSGIVING MENU: MAKE IT A POTLUCK
When the host is stuck with all the meal duties, why would anyone want to host? This Friendsgiving, be a real friend and bring your own food.
Amanda Maxwell, a 23-year-old PR account executive in New York whose parents are in Ohio, says she and her friends start “a group text to figure what everyone wants to eat and can’t live without” while planning their Friendsgiving menu. “We narrow it down to the number of people we have over, and everyone is assigned one thing.”
Keeping track of who is bringing what is a handy tip. You can do the same thing with a simple sheet of paper, a Google Doc, a Facebook group chat, or even sites like Perfect Potluck.
2. MAKE IT AN APPETIZER OR DESSERT-ONLY PARTY
Your parents always made you eat dinner before you got dessert—but they’re not here, are they? If you want to plan a dessert- or appetizer-themed smorgasbord, why not? Small bites are easy to make, and you can find a ton of great ideas by searching for “easy Friendsgiving recipes” online.
3. BYO TABLEWARE
Who really has more than two wine glasses? Make it easy on yourself if you’re hosting a large group and suggest everyone bring a tote bag with their own tableware in it. This move will save you from having to buy tableware that you only break out once a year.
Help your guests bring home clean dishes. Create a dishwashing station in your kitchen, complete with soap, scrubbers, and towels for drying.
4. DRESS UP SOME BOXED WINE
Boxed wine might just be the unofficial mascot of frugal, yet fun, celebrations. Most wine boxes typically contain the equivalent of four bottles of wine, all for the cost of about a single bottle of wine, making it a great way to save money. Plus, it comes with other bonuses like reducing waste and making cleanup easier.
Still, it might be a little tacky to just plop a box of wine on the table. Dress it up for the occasion. Pour (or rather, depress the tab) the wine into glass decanters ahead of time.
According to 30-year-old author, Kate Athmer, “No one knows that it’s boxed wine.”
5. USE LOCALLY SOURCED FRIENDSGIVING DECORATIONS
Sure, you can spend loads on fancy candlesticks and fresh flowers just to end up throwing them away or storing them. But there’s a smarter way. Just use what’s naturally around you.
Go to your backyard or the public park and pick up fallen twigs and pinecones to arrange your own rustic decorations that fit the season. Small, washed stones also add a nice touch. If nature isn’t your thing, scout out Craigslist or the dollar store to find some cheap adornments. You can even make a game of it amongst your friends to see who can be most creative!
6. OPT FOR A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN
Sure, this is technically a Thanksgiving celebration, but no one said you had to follow the rules. If your gathering is small and unable or unwilling to cook a whole turkey (not to mention wanting to save a buck), a rotisserie chicken or two might be just the thing.
Keep an eye out for coupons to save money on groceries as well. Many loyalty programs offer rotisserie chicken coupons.
7. BRING EMPTY CONTAINERS FOR LEFTOVERS
Remember that tote bag for the BYO tableware? Ask guests to throw in some extra freezer bags and empty containers before they head out the door. That way they’ll have plenty of room for leftovers.
Remember: only amateurs leave Friendsgiving feasts without extra food for home. It’ll save you from having to cook later, and put a few dollars back in your pocket since you won’t have to shell out for more groceries or a pricey restaurant meal.
Pro tip: grab leftovers that can be repurposed into many dishes, such as turkey meat, bread, or vegetables.
8. START A NEW FRIENDSGIVING TRADITION
Finally, who said that Friendsgiving was limited to just eating and going home? Why not make it special to you and your friends? Brainstorm ideas to make the occasion more meaningful to all of you. Host a dress-up party, have a board game night, or hike in to a majestic location for a
Friendsgiving picnic—why not? The amount of Friendsgiving party ideas is only limited by your own—and your friends’—imaginations.
Living far away from family doesn’t have to ruin the holidays. Throw a Friendsgiving party to remember while also staying within your budget. After all, what are friends for if not to raise a ruckus that’ll make your parents jealous?