By Jessica Thiefels
Friendsgiving is one of the best ways to celebrate this American holiday. Surrounded by your closest friends, you can have a few drinks and indulge in dinner without the classic family drama.
When hosting, you have an opportunity to impress your friends with stylish decorations and a turkey to remember. Use these tips to make sure your Friendsgiving is one your guests won’t soon forget.
Delegate the Cooking
The best way to make your Friendsgiving as tasty as possible—while taking some work off your shoulders—is to invite everyone to cook one dish. All of your friends probably grew up using and learning different recipes for pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more.
With everyone cooking their favorite dish, you’ll get a spread of tasty food that you’d never have thought to make yourself.
To keep it organized, create a Google spreadsheet where everyone can easily sign up for the dish they want to contribute. This allows you to avoid overlapping and ensures that every important dish is covered. Allow friends to write in their own dishes to allow for creativity. If they don’t want to cook, suggest that people contribute a signature cocktail or other beverage instead of food.
Find Budget Friendly Decoration Ideas
Stylish doesn’t have to mean expensive. With so many great DIY ideas online and on Pinterest, there’s no reason to break the bank when bringing style to your Friendsgiving.
The key is remembering to include the most important decorations, or the ones that people expect at their family Thanksgiving dinner, and tying them in with the holiday.
For example, a traditional centerpiece would be a cornucopia with fake or real fruit and vegetables spilling out. You could also go with a few non-scented white candles, surrounded by a two or three small pumpkins and a string of fake fall leaves.
Other small decoration details to think about are:
- Festive napkin rings
- Holiday placemats
- Cloth napkins
Bring the Flavor
Turkey is the meat of the day on Thanksgiving, but not everyone loves this popular holiday bird. In a 2016 turkey survey, 33 percent of top U.S. retailers said that their customers believe turkey to be less flavorful than other meats. Luckily, you can make your bird so tasty your guests will always remember it with a few simple tricks from the pros:
- Never buy frozen: “It’s hard to get your turkey to defrost evenly, meaning that a defrosted bird can go into the oven with different parts at different temperatures, leading to uneven cooking.” (Kitchensurfing)
- Brine the turkey: “A turkey soaked in a salt-water solution absorbs both the salt and the water, so it’s moister to begin with as well as seasoned on the inside. You can flavor a brine as well.” (Fine Cooking)
Serve With Style
The last important piece of your stylish Friendsgiving: the dishwear While you may not be prepared to go out and buy all new pieces, you can likely borrow from friends and family who aren’t hosting; a hodgepodge of dishes and plates can be fun and quirky.
If you can’t borrow from family and friends, head to Goodwill, which sells plates and dishes in sets. One quick run through the dishwasher is all they need to be clean and ready for the big meal. Otherwise, you can head to the clearance section of any home goods store and find a variety of budget-friendly options to choose from.
Friendsgiving is a time to celebrate and give thanks with the family you chose: your friends. Use hosting as an opportunity to bring everyone together around a table of delicious food, with good conversation, stylish dishware and no family drama.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a lifestyle blogger. She hosts Friendsgiving each year for her friends in Southern California who don’t want to fly back East for the holiday, and loves bringing everyone together for a weekend of fun and food. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 to see what else she’s up to.