Create a Community Event: Plan A Friendsgiving

Start a new San Mateo tradition this year and host a Friendsgiving dinner at Bay Meadows 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 in your lovely home. 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. If you are a Bay Meadows resident, contact our HOA to book a place in Persimmon Park at Bay Meadows Community Garden for a truly harvest-themed celebration or apartment residents may select one of the amazing community kitchen and club rooms within Bay Meadows Apartment Collection or The Morgan San Mateo.

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. Want something a bit different for your Friendsgiving? Order Free-Range Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries plus Pumpkin Pie Shakes from Roam Burgers at Bay Meadows in our Town Square! Visit Humphry Slocombe to order your Mini Duck Fat Pecan Pies or seasonal scoops to finish off any holiday meal. With Whole Foods Market San Mateo located within Bay Meadows and Trader Joe’s right at Hillsdale, cooking or catering is always convenient.

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. Outdoor games. You can even find some Friendly Feud games on Etsy! 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.


Featuring best-in-class retailers such as Roam Artisan Burgers and Blue Bottle Coffee with neighboring Humphry Slocombe, Bay Meadows’ Town Square is the ideal gathering place with more ground-floor retail, outdoor dining and pop-ups to come. Home to a stunning sculpture from internationally-renowned artist Jeppe Hein, the Town Square is the dynamic core of our Midurban village. The Town Square is the perfect place to relax outside for a beer or wine at Fieldwork Brewing Company’s San Mateo beer garden after a day of shopping and entertainment at Hillsdale Center. Take a turn on the porch swings or challenge a friend to table-tennis in the outdoor ping-pong court. Join the Bay Meadows email list to stay on top of the latest.