As Thanksgiving approaches, there are a lot of holiday plans to prepare for between traveling and pre-break midterms. But, before the long-awaited Thanksgiving break arrives, it is time to gather your close friends and have the annual “what are you thankful for?” conversation around the dinner table. If you are hosting or attending a Friendsgiving, a casual Thanksgiving dinner with your friends, here are some helpful ideas of things to bring to the table.
1. Charcuterie board
Hosting a Friendsgiving in college means that not everyone is going to arrive on time. Having a charcuterie board is a great appetizer to fill your friends’ appetites while people start trickling in. This way, everyone has something to munch on while waiting to dig in on the amazing food that is to come. It does not have to be one of those elaborate boards that you see on Pinterest — consider buying some cheese, crackers, salami and maybe a few grapes and you will have an appetizing charcuterie board.
2. Polaroid camera
You can always take photos on any person’s phone and send it around, but nothing beats a hard copy version to hang on a wall or put in a scrapbook. A great way to keep your Friendsgiving memories forever is to bring a polaroid or disposable camera. You can take candid photos or make a Thanksgiving-themed photo backdrop for your friends to pose with so you can have digital photos to remember the night.
If you are anything like me, you have a playlist for everything — pre-games, workout sessions and even holidays. A social event is never complete without a playlist, and making one for Friendsgiving could be a fun way to get in the holiday spirit. One approach to making a Friendsgiving playlist is to have all your friends contribute to a shared playlist on Spotify. Playing some great tunes during Friendsgiving is a fantastic way to liven the celebration.
4. Board games
After a delicious dinner and the food coma that will most likely ensue, you might need a fun game to play so that everyone can relax and digest the tremendous amount of food that was devoured. If you have a smaller group of friends, try playing a card game or a classic like Monopoly. If it is a bigger group, you can try playing interactive games like Heads Up or Mafia.
As we all know, dessert at any Thanksgiving dinner is essential. Baking or buying a pie is a tasty original, but consider spicing the dessert up with some unique fall recipes, like apple cinnamon blondies, pumpkin spice oreos or cinnamon rolls. If you decide to make your Friendsgiving a potluck style, you can have some of your friends bring in different assortments of dessert options, so that you can have something sweet for everyone.
6. Specialty cocktail
A great way to make this gathering of friends special is to serve a creative drink that commemorates the occasion. You can look for recipe ideas on Pinterest or come up with one of your very own. Some of my personal favorites are hot spice buttered rum and warm apple cider mulled with cinnamon for a virgin cocktail. Of course, for those who do not or cannot drink, you can make a mocktail version with some simple substitutions.
Set the tone for your Friendsgiving soirée with some creative decor so you can celebrate the holiday in style. One idea is to buy some Thanksgiving-themed paper plates, which are not only cute, but also make for an easy clean-up. Or you may even try purchasing some pumpkin scented candles. You can also include some party favors, like turkey hats, so that you and your friends can make the dinner seem as festive as possible.
8. A gift for the host
If you are not hosting Friendsgiving at your place, consider buying a gift for whoever is. Whether it is a contribution to the meal or a bouquet of flowers, think of something simple but sweet to give to the host. A lot of preparation goes into hosting Friendsgiving, so getting something for the host is a nice way of saying thank you.
9. Comfortable clothing
This is one of the most important ways to prepare for Friendsgiving. You want to be able to move around and eat a lot of food while being cute and comfortable. If it is a potluck style dinner, you know there will be a grand array of food options — appetizers, the main entree and of course, dessert. So grab your most expandable pair of pants and get ready to eat — a lot.
Do not worry — I did not forget. The most necessary accompaniment to a successful Friendsgiving — the turkey. Now, in my experience, a homemade turkey is better than a store-bought one.If you would like to take the store-bought route, some options are Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter and Costco. If you want a vegan option, there are some great turkey alternatives online as well. If you are up for the challenge, consider teaming up with the best cook in your friend group and cooking the turkey.