Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays because being in the company of loved ones over massive amounts of delicious foods is a great way to spend your time. However, in college, many students don’t have the privilege of going home for the holidays whether it’s due to distance or finances. If you can’t make it home for the holiday, why not host a Friendsgiving instead of spending Thanksgiving alone in your dorm watching the parade? Even if you are going home, you can host an early Friendsgiving to show appreciation for your friends.
Hosting a Friendsgiving involves different steps than hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, especially in small college dorms. Below are seven tips for how to host the perfect Friendsgiving dinner at college.
1. Plan the menu ahead of time
Thanksgiving dinners are typically large parties. Make sure to plan the menu ahead of time for those with diet restrictions. Planning the menu about two weeks before the big day will allow some leeway for the guests to all agree on what is being served for dinner. Additionally, planning the menu ahead of time will give your guests a choice of what food they intend on bringing to the dinner, which brings us to the next tip …
2. Make it potluck style
Since the menu was planned in advance, there is no reason that the guests shouldn’t contribute to the meal. Kitchens in the dorms or student housing are smaller than your kitchen at home, so having your guests bring dishes will save time during prep and clean up.
3. Prepare your food in advance
Since you will be hosting in a small space with a lot of people, it’s smart to cook your turkey ahead of time before guests arrive. I recommend that if you’re assigned turkey duty, cook it in the morning so that all you need to do before dinner is reheat the turkey. If you’re stressing about making the perfect turkey, you can order a pre-cooked turkey at Whole Foods and other grocery stores.
4. Make sure you have what you need
As the host, you are the boss and that is a big responsibility. It means you have to be the responsible adult who has everything at your place. There are tons of checklists on Pinterest detailing what you need for a Thanksgiving dinner. A checklist will ensure that there will be no last-minute trips to the grocery store for a meat thermometer.
5. Set the table ahead of time
Setting the table before guests arrive will help avoid traffic jams around the cheese platter or the TV. When the table is set beforehand, guests can simply get their plates, sit down and enjoy.
6. Always have a backup plan
There is always that friend who signs up to bring an appetizer but falls through. If this is the case (which hopefully it’s not) during your dinner, have a backup plan. Grocery stores have tons of frozen appetizers. Buy a couple just in case and be sure to have canned gravy and cranberry sauce on hand just in case your friend forgets them. If all goes well and you find yourself with leftover items, you can have dinner for one on Black Friday.
7. Have entertainment prepared
Lay out a few movies and card games for after dinner. Cards Against Humanity and Heads Up are always fun games to play with a big group.
With these tips and tricks, you are officially ready to host a Friendsgiving. Bid your friends goodbye before the break. If you’re stuck at school for the holiday, show your extended family that you can still have the best Thanksgiving dinner without them. Maybe don’t say those exact words … tell them you are OK and that you miss them instead. What tips do you have for hosting a Friendsgiving? Let us know in the comments!