It’s November so Start Planning:
In the last few years we have had a Friendsgiving at our house with 6 of our closest friends and it’s something that I look forward to as soon as November rolls around. This is not your all-out Turkey loving family feuding holiday, it’s the laid back hanging out time to enjoy yourself. It’s nice to not have to worry about a super formal commitment, and because of this you can ask everyone to help bring dishes and food. Not all the pressures lie upon just you to make a perfect meal and holiday. But don’t let this first paragraph change your mind just yet, I haven’t even gotten to the good parts.
The Components of Our Friendsgiving:
Usually we have 8 of us for our particular Friendsgiving. I appreciate a smaller tight knit group where we can all sit around just one table and connect, relax, hangout and catch up with one another. We usually like to host it at our house (I am a sucker for a good dinner party.) We keep it comfortable, meaning we don’t break out the fine china for this event (although I don’t have any.) We usually like to do it with in about a week of Thanksgiving, it really helps you get in the mood for it! We play games, eat lots and lots of food, and honestly just have some fun.
So now that we know what a Friendsgiving is we need to go over some of the food right? To me that’s one of the most important pieces of any good dinner event. Because we usually do this within a week of Thanksgiving, we change up the menu, so we don’t get tired of eating the same old dishes. I like to make a nice ham. It’s super cheap, it is already precooked so all you have to do is heat it all the way and you don’t spend all day cooking. It’s something different and usually a crowd pleaser. We add some classic dishes like mashed potatoes because is it really a hearty dinner without it?
I tend to make 2-3 dishes and then I plan the menu with our friends. I don’t have guilt asking them to bring dishes because again this is a much more of a comfortable casual meal so don’t be afraid to ask for some help! I also like this because there are so many dishes brought that I would never personally make or think of pairing for a Thanksgiving type feast. You get to sample a little piece of what everyone else’s Thanksgiving looks like, and now we have come to have our own normal dishes that we now all make every year for this event.
You can keep it really simple and just do some snacks, just prepare a few things like a nice cheese board, or olive tray. You could make a couple of quick dips, and finger bites to enjoy throughout the night. Really this can be anything that you feel like having. It’s the food that makes you feel good and that is easy for you. Remember we’re trying to have less pressure here.
The Décor of Friendsgiving:
We have a really small kitchen table. It’s a high-top black table that only seats 4. In my earlier years of hosting I would get out another small folding table and place it in the living room, and usually the girls sat together, and the guys would sit together. I really didn’t like this, it’s not a real Friendsgiving unless you sit all together. So, we got a massive 6-foot folding table, so we can all eat a meal together and communicate. Now you can decorate as little or as much as you’d like but I enjoy decorating. There are a lot of studies that state decorating for the holidays early makes you happy, so I take that and say let’s decorate. I got some very inexpensive fall colored napkins such as burnt orange, green, and mustard yellow and I usually have some sort of tablecloth that is plain and simple and easy to wash. I like to set the table ahead of time, it creates less chaos in the kitchen and everyone feels more welcomed to the table.
If you really want to go the extra mile take the napkins and create a fan shape by using a napkin ring towards the bottom and fluffing out the top part of the napkin. If you do not have napkin rings you could use some cute twine or ribbon to accent it. Then you could simply just take some printer paper and cut out some small squares and write everyone’s name on it. I think this is another fun and inviting idea to really make your guests feel welcomed to your home.
Drink, Clink and Cozy Up:
I really like making a signature beverage for everyone too. It’s easy, you don’t have to ask everyone a million times what they want to drink or if they need a refill, and it sort of creates a self-service deal and again takes the stress off of being the hostess with the most. Now you could make an alcoholic area, or nonalcoholic whichever you like. I like to have an area with some hot drinks and cold drinks such as a water pitcher, a couple of soft drinks and my hot apple cider.
Hot Apple Cider:
I like to take a gallon of apple cider and dump it into my crockpot, I then cut a small orange into nice thin slices and then take some whole pieces of clove and pierce the slices. This makes it so much easier to get everything out before serving rather than fishing each small piece out. I also like to add 1-2 cinnamon sticks in there. The secret is adding a little bit of brown sugar (about ¼ cup_ just to add the perfect sweetness to it. I like to cook this on low for roughly 3 hours, or if you need it done quicker about 1.5 hours. Trust me this is a crowd pleaser and so easy and delicious. Living in Colorado we definitely need a warm beverage in November.
Games, and More Games:
Now that we have had dinner, and a nice warm beverage we need something else to do, right? Yes! Games are really what make this day stand out in comparison to just Thanksgiving. It’s so much fun to keep the night going with games. I have a fool-proof low-cost idea that we actually play every year and is so fun. This is a knock off of Pictionary. We take some blank pieces of paper and cut each paper in half. Everyone gets a pen to draw with, (no erasing is so much more fun) and a piece of paper (you need to have the same amount of paper as players for each player).
So, you start by thinking of a slogan, it could be a quote, anything really. You write this down, then pass it to your neighbor to the right, make sure to pass the entire stack of paper. The person looks at the word, takes that piece of paper and places it behind the stack of blank paper and draws their version of the written text. Then you pass it again to the right, the person looks at the drawing, places the drawing behind all the other pieces and tries to write down what they think it was, they cannot look at the very first paper though so it’s sort of like the game telephone. You keep repeating this for the number of players. Then at the end you share with each other the train of thoughts and let me tell you, you will all die laughing.
Don’t forget to end the night on a sweet note (as every night should.) For dessert I like to mix up my options, I LOVE pie, but again will be eating a lot of it so I try and change things up. I like to make crumbles because they can be messy, and you can make an entire sheet pan in little to no time. I like to make apple crumble if you want to keep the meal more traditional. I also like to make a tangy surprise by doing a triple berry crumble, something that is unexpected, but everyone loves to it. Be sure to have some whipped cream and ice cream on hand to complete this dish.
Friendsgiving, Until Next Year:
I hope you all are inspired to have your own Friendsgiving or get some ideas for your ongoing events. I think this is a time to be grateful so don’t forget your friends too! It’s a time to celebrate life and enjoy one another. I would love to know in the comments below how you do your Friendsgiving and what your traditions are! If you are looking for some cleaning tips be sure to check out my cleaning blog and be sure to find us on Instagram at TheWeSpot.