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The Ultimate Guide To Hosting Your First Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving is a Thanksgiving-inspired event spent with friends rather than family. Around this time of year, friend groups gather at a pre-established location (usually someone’s home) where they eat meals, play party games, and catch up on life. If you’ve attended a Friendsgiving as a guest before, you know how fun they can be. Not only are you around people you love and care about, but you also get to eat great food, which if you ask me, is a win-win. 

If you’re thinking of hosting Friendsgiving for the first time, you might be a bit confused on where to start. Don’t worry; many before you have been in that same position. I’d first recommend thinking carefully about who you want to invite. Consider the people in your life, and how they make you feel. You should aim to invite people you feel a genuine connection with or those who at least know how to have a good time. Once you’ve finished that list, it’s time to start the full planning, from invitations to ideas for the menu.

Friendsgiving invitations

Now you know who you want to invite. Great! The next step is to choose a way to invite them. You can create a digital graphic on sites like Canva, PicMonkey, Vistacreate, etc. These websites typically have templates you can choose from if you’re less confident in your graphic design skills, but if you want to go all out, you could create your own design from scratch. Once this is created, you can send it to each person via messenger or email, or print it out and mail it to them.

Another option is to use an Evite website such as Eventbrite or Paperless Post. With these websites, instead of checking each person’s chat to see if they responded, you can have them all RSVP in the same place. Be sure to tell your friends to RSVP ASAP so that you can start assessing how much of everything you’ll need to buy.

Friendsgiving decorations 

When it comes to decorating for cute events such as this one, Pinterest will be your best friend. Look up “Friendsgiving decoration inspo,” write down what you like, and ignore what you don’t. Then, choose a color scheme to make your decorations look more put-together and aesthetically pleasing. If you plan on having everyone gather around a table or counter space, consider getting a cute tablecloth and buying plates and cutlery that complement the color of the tablecloth.

Other forms of decorations could be a Thanksgiving banner, flowers, candles, ice buckets, and cute name tags if you want to assign each person to a specific seat. Check out Amazon, Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Dollar Tree, and more for cheap decor.

Friendsgiving food menu ideas

Realistically, having just one person prepare all the food for Friendsgiving can be a lot. Instead, you could make it a potluck event. As the host, you can create a main meal and have your friends bring a dish of their choice or assign something for them to bring. That way, everyone is contributing, and the pressure isn’t all on you to make a five-course Michelin star feast.

Some food to prepare or have a friend bring are:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Salads (vegetable or fruit salad, potato salad, etc.)
  • Chicken (baked, rotisserie, honey lemon, etc.)
  • Turkey 
  • Ribs
  • Stuffing
  • Rice (plain or with beans)
  • Mash potatoes
  • Lasagna
  • Casseroles 
  • Pies 

Websites to find really great recipes for these foods include Bon Appetit, NYT Cooking, and Southern Living. Make sure to check if anyone has allergies while you’re deciding what meals to plan. I’d also recommend having a cheese plate or quick snack already prepared so that when your guests arrive, they will have something to eat before the full meal is ready. Don’t forget to buy beverages or make Friendsgiving mocktails to have with the meals!

Friendsgiving games and activities

In my opinion, the key to every successful event is a great game or activity. These can be card games, board games, or even online games. If your friends are fans of card games, try playing Uno, Cards Against Humanity, Hella Awkward, or Happy Salmon if you want a sillier option. If they like board games you can of course play the classic Monopoly, Ludo, and Snakes and Ladders.

Other ideas are a murder-mystery party game, either one that is store-bought, or your own version where you assign each person a different character, Sip and Paint, pumpkin painting, Jenga, Never Have I Ever, Truth or Drink, and Jackbox (a website with a lot of fun multiplayer games).

(optional) Friendsgiving goodie bags

Now that we’ve gotten the most important things out of the way, here’s a surprise (and optional) idea: goodie bags! I don’t know about you, but I love getting surprised with a cute gift bag. Knowing that a friend spent the time to put one together is the best feeling in the world. 

The items in these bags don’t need to be over the top or expensive. Instead, they can be cute little things like a candle, a pair of fuzzy socks, and a personalized note thanking each person for attending. Definitely don’t feel pressure to do this — you’ve already done so much just by planning the event. This is just an extra idea to consider. 

Additional hosting tips

After your friends have RSVPed, I’d recommend sending them a link to a blank Spotify playlist and telling them to add songs for the event. That way, on the day of Friendsgiving, everyone’s favorite music will be playing in the background while you all have a great time together.

Another thing you should consider is scheduling in a planner or calendar when you want to have each planning step done by. This will keep you organized and less stressed about doing everything last-minute.

Last but not least, take pictures! As you’re making core memories with your friends, it might be nice to have photos to look back on and remember them by. Pictures make experiences last longer, so pull out your phones or cameras, and capture the moment while you can!

Tianna is a Her Campus National Writer and Pre-Law student. She writes for the Life and Career team but sometimes covers timely entertainment pieces. Beyond Her Campus, Tianna works as an Assistant Prose Editor for her school's literary magazine. She also runs a freelance writing business and has written for different student-run publications in the past. When she's not studying or working, you might find her reading a mystery or romance book (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Ace of Spades being her favorites), rewatching the ICONIC Gilmore Girls Series, painting, making clay art, or listening to music.