How to Host an Utterly Fabulous Friendsgiving
Huzzah! You’ve rallied your nearest and dearest to join you for a heartwarming Friendsgiving dinner. OMFG. Where to even begin? Relax, dahhhling: With a bit of foresight and a little tablescape action, Friendsgiving is bound to be a hit chez vous. Here’s how to do it.
Prepare Yourself For Turkey Duty
Rule 1: It isn’t Friendsgiving without a turkey. Rule 2: The host is the de facto turkey (and gravy) chef. (Nobody’s lugging a 15-pound bird on the crosstown bus. Sorry, friend.) If you’ve never cooked a turkey before, educate yourself and set your timeline accordingly. Or you can save yourself the turkey headache and try this glorious turkey recipe, which cooks in all of 33 minutes and was basically invented for the holiday.
Outsource the Rest Of the Meal
Rejoice! Literally everything else can and should be potlucked out—’tis the very spirit of Friendsgiving. Your job as host in all this is to orchestrate who brings what. Write up a master list and text each friend a dish to cover (Sheryl: mashed potatoes, Tom: pumpkin pie, etc.). Make sure to take stock of food allergies and vegetarians in the room, so you can factor that into your menu “assignments." Another option? Making a sign-up sheet shared Google doc.
Start the Mini Bar
In addition to assigning each friend a dish, have them bring a bottle of wine or beverage of choice. But stock the bar with essentials so you can be a class act and offer your pals drinks upon arrival. The necessities: Ice (at least two bags more than you think you’ll need), a water pitcher, a non-alcoholic option (hey, Lacroix) and several bottles of wine to kick things off. Extra time on your hands? Adding a batch cocktail nabs major festivity points (this spiced rum punch for example, is just the ticket).
Take An Inventory and Set the Table
It’s a holiday, people—no. Disposable. Tableware. Make sure you have a full place setting (cloth napkin, plate, bowl, silverware, water and wine glasses) for each guest. If you don’t have enough for everybody, rent, borrow, treat yourself or, heck, artfully mix and match (think alternating your granny’s china with your everyday Pottery Barn set). P.S. We’re always our happiest hostess selves when we set the table the day beforehand—less stress day-of and you get to enjoy the prettiness for even longer.
Trim the Table
Remember: A gorgeous, 'Gram-worthy tablescape forgives any number of other party shortcomings (see: accidentally burning the sweet potatoes or a snoozy seat companion). To keep things easy, elegant and under-budget, make sure you have these three decor elements goin’ on: 1) Texture (think a burlap runner or linen tablecloth), 2) Nature (think flat laid greens or herbal napkin garnishes), 3) Candles, well, because coziness.
Establish A “Buffet”
You’re going to need somewhere to put the food carnival that’s about to arrive at your doorstep. Clear off a console, credenza or kitchen island for guests to place the potluck spread, and make sure your party platters and serving spoons are accessible, as people will definitely show up with unsightly Tupperware presentations. (Psst: We love this pretty greenery trick for making mixed dishware look cohesive.)
Don’t Forget Your Tunes
Every great gathering has a diverse, people-pleasin’ playlist of background music. And good news: You can outsource this too (perhaps, to your friend who’s always passive-aggressively asking to DJ anyway). No takers? Turn on a sophisticated jazz station. Bonus points for convincing your musical friend to bring her guitar and regale the group after hours.
Plan An Activity
The name of the game this evening is hanging, eating and drinking. But if your gathering includes folks who don’t know each other so well, having an icebreaker is an especially smart idea. Go for a nostalgic fall crafting activity (sure, it’s a little hokey, but it’s always a hit) or offer up a brisk group walk to help with digestion. Or…break out ye old Scrabble board or deck of cards. Pick your favorite family activity tradition and share it with your pals.
Leave the Dishes
You know it, we know it, everybody knows it: A hostess on cleanup duty is the quickest way to suck the life from a party (and chase everyone out the door). This is Friendsgiving, not some stuffy old affair, so do your duty as happy hostess by eating, drinking and being merry with your guests. When the evening is truly winding down, put everybody to work in the kitchen. All the love for your holiday elves.
RELATED: The Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes