How to Host a Kick-Ass 'Friendsgiving'
So, you can't make it home for Thanksgiving. Tough break. Instead of drowning your sorrows in booze while you eat a microwave dinner seasoned with tears, get some people together for "Friendsgiving." It's probably way better than real
Put Out a Feeler, Then Send Invites
Before you get too excited, see if you have any
Hey guys, I'm thinking of hosting a Friendsgiving. If you're not leaving town for the holiday and are interested in celebrating with some friends, let me know!
If people respond, go ahead and send out some actual invites with a time, place, and more information about the stuff we're about to go over.
Organize the Meal Potluck Style
Your mom may have made cooking Thanksgiving dinner look like a piece of cake, but it isn't-far from it. You cannot do this alone. Okay, maybe you can, but you shouldn't have to! In your invites, tell everybody to bring one already prepared (cannot stress that enough) dish and one drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic, their choice).
This is ideal for a group of friends who have a wide variety of dietary restrictions, drink preferences, and dish desires. If there's something specific someone absolutely must have, they're responsible for providing it. For example, I don't like homemade cranberry sauce. I refuse to eat it. I only want the canned stuff. So, I always bring it to a Friendsgiving, even if somebody else is bringing a homemade version. And if no one wants to make a whole turkey or whip up a massive batch of mashed potatoes, go for a more shareable, bite-size approach to all the classic dishes. Thanksgiving is known for being the biggest meal of the year, but it can also just be a good meal with lots of variety .
Lastly, somebody-whoever is the worst cook in the group-should be in charge of providing disposable plates, utensils, and serving trays instead of a dish. I know, bad for the environment, but only do it just this once. Say you're thankful for Mother Earth and she'll forgive you. There's no need to call them out, just offer the role up for anyone who's interested and someone'll bite. Instead of a drink, that same person brings a few bags of ice. The idea is to not be the only one doing anything, be it food, drinks, or general meal prep.
Make It a Party, Not a Meal
Look, you're with your friends now. You don't have to wear that sweater Aunt Marie gave you, say grace at the dinner table before tasting the stuffing, or talk about the same memories over and over again if you don't want to. Let your hair down, have a stiff drink, and get everybody in a good, fun mood.
Put out everyone's dishes and let people eat what they want when they want. Use the dinner table as a buffet table and let people chow in the living room, on the patio, or anywhere but a dinner table decorated with
Share Your Traditions, and Make Some New Ones
Thanksgiving is all about traditions, but so is Friendsgiving. My friends and I like to do the classic "what we're thankful for" thing, but we also talk about the traditions we had in the past when we actually had time to be with family and time off wasn't an issue. Tell stories, talk about the good ol' days, and share the little things that always made Thanksgiving special for you. All it takes is one good story about your nutty grandma to get everyone feeling like they're right at home.
While you're at it, do something that will make this Thanksgiving special too. Start a tradition with your friends that you can carry on to the next one since life will only continue to get more complicated and busy. For example, my friends and I like to put on old music videos of throwback jams and talk about them, or put on a bad movie and make jokes, and go for a long post-meal walk to help with digestion... and buy more booze.
Coordinate the Cleanup
When the dust settles, there's going to be a huge mess and a lot of cleaning to do. Whatever you do, do not-I repeat, do not-let everyone skip out on it. If everybody pitches in and does just one thing, you'll have your place looking better than it did before they arrived.
The trick to this is assigning people a job before the party starts. You can even set up a signup list in your invite. Somebody is on trash duty, another person is washing cups, someone else is wiping down tables and counters, etc. Spread out the work evenly and you'll get it done quickly. The only thing you should be in charge of is a general tidying up of your place after everything has been disheveled and moved around. Again, you shouldn't be doing anything alone throughout this whole experience. If you and your buddies can manage that, you'll never want to go home again.