For some, Thanksgiving is prime time to enjoy nothing but great food and football in the company of family. But for those who can’t conveniently hop on a plane or train for the holiday, there may be a sense of longing for the festive togetherness that only the holiday season seems to bring. Fortunately, you don’t have to live next door to mom and dad to create your own version of the ideal Thanksgiving.
This requires one very important element: your friends! Together, you can host a Friendsgiving celebration that honors the family you’ve built for yourself and share in the spirit of the holiday together. It can be daunting to take on such a challenge without any experience hosting people for Thanksgiving, but there’s a first time for everyone — and this is definitely the kind of first you’ll be proud to pull off. Here’s how to host your very first Friendsgiving without a hitch.
1. Plan Your Meal
Unlike dinner at some distant relative’s house who may or may not take the time to find out your dietary preferences, you’re something of a people pleaser — and you don’t want anyone to go hungry on this holiday that makes the most of fabulous food. Friendsgiving is practically synonymous with potlucks, so you have options in the meal department. You might choose to assign everyone on your guest list with a specific item to bring, such as sides, desserts, or beverages. As a host, your main responsibility is largely to make sure there’s a piping hot turkey with gravy in the middle of the table — but if there are vegetarians in the group, they’ll appreciate having an alternative main dish to enjoy. If you plan to do all of the cooking on your own, make sure you poll everyone beforehand about dietary needs.
2. Set the Table
There’s no need to be formal unless that’s something that you and your friends prefer. Otherwise, a more casual setting sets the perfect tone for a relaxed night of laughter and memory making. Why not place the foot of a long buffet table against the wall? You can create separate stations for each category, from beverages to sides to desserts. To make it easier for guests, you can have the turkey sliced and ready to serve. Of course, a lack of a dining table shouldn’t mean a lack of seating. Be sure that you’ve got enough free space for chairs, or place some cozy throw cushions on the floor so that everyone has a spot to get comfortable.
3. Create Some Ambiance
Food is only part of the magic of Friendsgiving. You also need to prepare your abode for company — and part of that charm includes bringing in some of the season’s most inviting elements. Think in terms of décor and fragrance to give your home a warm, welcoming quality. Add a throw blanket or two to the couch. Turn on a customized Dimensions diffuser to warm the air with the scent of vanilla, spice, or greens. Light a fire if there’s a fireplace. Play some music in the background. Put a fun movie on the big screen. Make your place come alive and everyone will be ready to enjoy a great holiday.
4. Prepare for Leftovers
Chances are there’s going to be some food left over when all is said and done. Consider investing in a few containers that are sized just right for portions of Thanksgiving meals. Feel free to go all out by decorating the containers with some festive stickers, or affix a cute thank you note to the top. Make sure that you have a few bags with handles, too. Your guests will undoubtedly leave with a smile!