The orange, red, and yellow leaves crunch under our feet while the scent of pumpkin-spiced lattes wafts through the crisp air along with the sounds of football and cheering. The autumn season is upon us. Some of us will be traveling to meet family on the third Thursday of November; others will be hosting Thanksgiving at home. For those gathering their chosen family this season, we’ve created a guide for hosting Friendsgiving! Here are our top tips:
Save the Date – When you host Friendsgiving, you have the freedom to pick the date. If some of your friends have family traditions or events, they need to attend on the third Thursday of November – schedule it for the following weekend or whenever suits. Once you’ve settled on a date, be sure to give your pals plenty of notice and send either an email, invitation, or create a Facebook event with details and a dish or beverage they can bring.
Plan the Menu – Once you know which guests will be in attendance, you can begin to plan your menu. Since Friendsgiving is non-traditional, you have the freedom to sway from the standard Thanksgiving staples like turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Take your guest’s dietary restrictions into account, cater to those who are lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, fodmap, and those with nut-allergies, and get creative. Below are a few recipes that are sure to please:
Best-Ever Cauliflower Stuffing – This is a versatile dish that will cater to those who are watching their carbs, are gluten-free and can easily be adapted for those who are lactose intolerant by substituting vegan butter.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts – This classic fall dish is healthy, delicious, and likely to please those on most diets.
Cranberry Relish – A nostalgic treat and easy to make!
Mashed Butternut Squash – An excellent alternative to the classic mashed potato this butternut squash recipe is a crowd-pleaser.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie – The perfect dessert for Friendsgiving – everyone will be asking for the recipe for this dish.
Get Festive: Prepare a few thoughtful decorations before your Friendsgiving get-together. Get creative in the spirit of the non-traditional event or go for classic cornucopia and fall foliage decor. For a genuine Friendsgiving touch, print out a few photos of the guests in attendance and string them along on garland or set-up a fun “photo booth” with a polaroid camera for long-lasting memories of a great day.
Establish the Vibe: Comfort is key when it comes to planning Friendsgiving. Play some light oldies tunes, put the football game on, and pull out some games for everyone to play. There’s nothing more endearing than a calm host who isn’t afraid to be a guest at their own party – so get involved and don’t worry too much about everything being perfect. Let yourself relax and enjoy this time with your friends.
Enjoy the Feast: One of the best things you can do as a host is set-up stations. Not only is this an adorable touch and an opportunity to decorate, but food and drink stations also takes the pressure off you as a host to always be serving and preparing drinks. Designate a space in your home as the bar and put out a few glasses, ice, and the ingredients. When guests arrive, give them the tour and help them prepare their beverage or cocktail so they know what to do and can help themselves for the rest of the evening. As for the food, we’d recommend serving the meal family-style. This approach is more laid back and allows guests to portion out their own servings.
Finally, dear host, don’t forget to take a moment to look around and appreciate your loved ones and all your hard work. Happy hosting!