Start a new tradition this year and host a Friendsgiving dinner with the amazing people who are very near and dear to your heart. Friendsgiving will give you a reason to wine and dine with your friends and favorite neighbors as you give thanks, laugh and fill your bellies. Great friends should not be taken for granted and this year you can celebrate them with a meal that shall be remembered for years to come. Here’s a foolproof guide to having a successful Friendsgiving:
Set a Date: The holiday season gets busy, and of course you want everyone to attend—but choose a date that works for you, and stick to it. Earlier in the month may work well to avoid guests being out of town during the holiday weekend. If you aren’t traveling this year or feel most at home with your friends, Friendsgiving can be a great spin on the classic holiday too.
Pick a Venue: Once you set the date, decide on a home to host the dinner. Try to choose a home or venue that will fit the group comfortably and has enough serving platters to get through the meal.
Make The Guest List: All of your guests should be able to sit down at a table and enjoy the meal. If your table fits six people, then invite six people. If you can rearrange your living room and rent a table that seats 14 people, invite 14 people. Decide how many people the host home can accommodate and then create the guest list.
Send out invitations: Once the guest list is established, send out the invitations. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mailed or emailed invitation or a text message, but send your invitations early since social calendars get crowded this time of year.
Plan Your Menu: The potluck system is a great way to go for many hosts—especially if you don’t love cooking and have friends who do. It helps split up the work and the costs, and it’s fun to see which dishes everyone ends up bringing. Create a Google spreadsheet and include all of the attendees. Have everyone list his or her dietary and allergy restrictions and assign themselves to a particular dish, making sure to specify the number of guests for portion purposes.
Be inspired by this Friendsgiving Menu.
Tell your friends to bring their dish prepared and ready to serve in a pretty bowl or on a decorative platter. Rule: Whomever hosts cooks the bird! Find out what needs to be heated in the oven, and make a cooking chart to know which dish goes in at what time. Remember to include drinks, desserts, games, napkins and other supplies that you may need on your master Google list.
Determine Drinks: Depending on who your friends are, you’ll probably also want to have alcohol on hand. You can either go wine and beer only, or plan cocktails to have as your house drink and plan a punch or cider for the little ones. Include your drink choices on your master Google spreadsheet and ask everyone to bring a beverage.
Survey The Scene: Take an inventory of your kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils, platters, silverware, chairs and glasses. If you’re lacking something, rent it or borrow it from friends. If you’re serving dinner buffet style, wrap flatware in napkins and put the bundles at the end of the buffet line so people can grab them when they’re done loading their plates.
Set The Mood: Create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Find that crafty friend that loves to decorate and frequent Pinterest – enlist them to add some simple decorations. Lights candles and set the table. If you don’t have a tablecloth, cover the table with brown butcher paper. Set out a bunch of markers and let your guests decorate the table. Use mason jars as vases, cut branches from your yard and mix them with grocery store flowers, and light a fire.
Take Care of The Tunes: Set the mood with delightful music. Pick your favorite jazz of Frank Sinatra station on Pandora or enlist a friend to pull together a playlist you can all enjoy.
Gather The Games: Table bonding makes a party livelier and more fun. Games are the solution. Have each couple or guest bring a game to share. Board games. Card games. Drinking games. Gratitude and memory games. Be sure to have your watchlist full of Thanksgiving Movies to distract any little ones.
Give Away Leftovers: Stock up on a variety of sizes of disposable plastic containers. You can also ask friends to bring their own containers. At the end of the night, let your friends make their own take home care package. Send them home with leftovers, and you will send them home happy.
Experience Midurban life. Bay Meadows is a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of open space to enjoy all year long. Whether it’s growing your own vegetables in a gorgeous community garden with expert guidance, playing a game of pick-up basketball after work, team building over bocce, picnicking with family on warm summer nights or getting fit with pop-up fitness and yoga classes curated just for you, there’s no shortage of green space to explore. If you have little ones, don’t miss Momdays on Mondays in Paddock Park! Check out life out and about at Bay Meadows by following us on Instagram.