I have always considered Friendsgiving as the highlight of the holiday season.
For starters, what better way to kick off the usually hectic, over-scheduled, and joyful few months that make up the holidays than with good friends and good food?
For the past six years, I’ve hosted Friendsgiving in Boston—usually a few weeks before Thanksgiving. If you’re not familiar with fall in New England, picture crisp and colorful leaves, puffy vests, and fuzzy boots, punctuated with ever-present chatter about the local football team. These days, we call Utah home, but the tradition still continues.
Here’s what Friendsgiving at my place looks like: Shoes line the hallway, dishes line the counters, and friends line up to pour from the apple cider sangria pitcher. Everyone has contributed to the meal, the table is set, and the atmosphere is a bubbly contrast to the often quietude of Thanksgiving meals.
If you’re staying close to home this year, your friends might be the ones you end up celebrating with this holiday season. Whether you’re having a small gathering inside or a get-together in the backyard or local park, here are the absolute “Must Do’s for Friendsgiving 2021”:
1. Hosting Friendsgiving Without the Stress
The key to any holiday party success is including everyone.
When everyone contributes (whether it’s a side dish, decorations, drinks, or help in the kitchen) the end product is less stressful and way more enjoyable. Don’t shy away from asking your best pals to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish, cue “Aunt Sue’s Greenbean Casserole.”
2. Friendsgiving Table Décor for an Insta-worthy Celebration
You don’t have to spend a lot to make a gorgeous tablescape. Mini pumpkins and mini battery-powered tea light candles create an effortless ambiance. Fruits and veggies you have can easily transform into a classic cornucopia.
3. Turkey, or Not
If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving early, you don’t necessarily have to have a turkey.
Larger cuts of meat like pork tenderloins or even whole chickens are perfectly appropriate for the fall festivity that is Friendsgiving. Get creative and create a food theme completely outside the box! We did oysters one year and which—to everyone’s delight—shoot up the tried and true menu.
4. Meaty Side Dishes are Underrated
If you’re anything like me, you have a freezer full of ButcherBox meat. Try one of our meaty recipes and let your friends fill up their plates with all the meaty goodness.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Bonus: Get them just as hooked on ButcherBox as you are!
5. Cocktails and Mocktails
Don’t get me wrong, a well-made cocktail is great.
But I assure you, leveling up your mocktail game will impress your guests. I love an apple cider sangria, but I also make a healthier and non-alcoholic version with sparkling water. It is JUST as festive and tasty.
Staging your “bar area” will also earn you host points. You can even reserve a section of the counter if you’re limited on space—just set out some decorated reusable straws, fruit garnishes, and drink labels.
6. Non-Traditional Traditions
Friendsgiving is all about putting an alternative twist on a family holiday. Take off the pressure, forget about your post-turkey nap: Make it fun, make it unique and welcome a variety of backgrounds, traditions, and recipes at your table.
And have fun with your friends, most of all!