Thanksgiving is a holiday reserved mainly for family. On this day, you might see relatives who you’re typically not able to visit during any other time of year. But you’re not only blessed with an amazing family, I’m guessing you have some pretty fantastic friends as well. So why not host a separate friendsgiving dedicated to them? This event is usually much less formal than a traditional Thanksgiving. Instead, it’s a more casual setting to keep the focus on catching up with your friends and reminiscing about special memories.
Send out the appropriate party invitations for your friendsgiving, and keep these tips in mind for a successful event:
Keep food light
On Thanksgiving, food is typically anything but light. There’s a giant platter of turkey slathered in gravy, bowls of fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc. (I have to stop, my mouth is watering.) These foods certainly call for a sit-down dinner (and most definitely a nap later). But for friendsgiving, you might want to consider serving a variety of appetizers or light dishes to make it easy for everyone to carry around their plates and mingle with one another.
Take traditional Thanksgiving dishes and transform them into a lighter appetizer-style food item. Here are a few ideas for your menu:
Instead of turkey…
Turkey, brie and cranberry quesadillas
Turkey BLT sliders
Turkey meatballs with a soy-ginger glaze
Turkey-cranberry mini tarts
Instead of mashed potatoes…
Loaded mashed potato cups
Mashed potato stuffed mushrooms
Cheddar mashed potato puffs
Instead of stuffing …
Stuffing balls served on toothpicks
Instead of cornbread …
Cornbread bites (baked in mini-muffin tins)
Cornbread stuffed peppers
Instead of pumpkin pie…
Pumpkin fudge squares
Pumpkin cheesecake mousse
Dark chocolate chip pumpkin muffins
Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
Turn it into a potluck
So, that’s a lot of food. But the extensive menu won’t seem so overwhelming if you ask each of your friends to bring a different Thanksgiving dish. This will allow you to focus more on entertaining your guests rather than tending to the oven and stove. Ask everyone to bring beverages as well, whether they contribute a bottle of wine or a six pack of their favorite beer. If you end up having lots of leftovers, that’s just an excuse to have a wine or cocktail party in the future.
Make sure to adjust your menu based on friends with food allergies or buddies who are vegetarian or vegan. You don’t want them feeling left out on friendsgiving.
Make your own platters
Instead of having to make labels for the different dishes at your friendsgiving table, use chalkboard paint to save the day. You can cover cutting boards and old platters with chalkboard paint, and then write down the name of the appetizer in chalk. This method is especially perfect for platters of cheese, crackers or meat.
Keep table decor simple
Don’t think that you have to turn into Martha Stewart for the evening and set a magazine cover-worthy table. Arrange a few candle votives or spray paint some pumpkins in a metallic hue and center them on your table. Just make sure the candles you select are unscented – you don’t want them competing with the enticing smells of each dish. The real focus of friendsgiving is going to be on the amazing food and even better friendships.
Create a playlist
Set the mood for your friendsgiving with an extensive playlist of your favorite songs. If you have time, you can reach out to each person on your list asking for their requested track. But if not, I’m sure they’ll be OK with whatever is on your iPod.