Chances are you’ve either sent or received the text: “Wanna do Friendsgiving this year?” Friends really *are* the family we choose. So, why not throw them a dinner party to kick off winter festivities?

Of course, we know hosting a fancy-schmancy feast can seem overwhelming. But Friendsgiving is only as stressful as you make it — and trust us, we’re not in the habit of making dinner more complicated.

Keep scrolling for the best Friendsgiving ideas and tips to make this holiday’s gathering an Insta-perfect match between memorable and chill.

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11 tips to plan the perfect Friendsgiving

  1. Schedule wisely
  2. Enlist help
  3. Make it a potluck
  4. Keep appetizers simple
  5. Re-think the turkey
  6. Find out dietary restrictions
  7. Get creative with seating
  8. Plan your playlist
  9. Stock up on ice
  10. Use real dishes
  11. Choose a cleanup crew
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Friendsgiving is a Turkey Day spinoff. So, you can give it the original the space it deserves. Schedule the friend version at least a full week before or after actual Thanksgiving. You’re more likely to get the whole crew *and* less likely to anger someone’s mom when you schedule things several days apart.

Prepping a Thanksgiving meal solo is the stuff of nightmares. That’s true whether you’re a pro at chiffonading basil, or think dinner = pouring milk over cereal.

Cooking a multicourse meal — especially one that might involve roasting a giant bird — is too much for one person. If you’re supplying the venue for Friendsgiving this year, your food responsibilities should be minimal. Convince a friend (perhaps that chiffonade champ) to help you co-host.

TBH, most Friendsgiving hosts are too busy restocking TP and maintaining a steady supply of clean utensils to be bothered with baking pies.

Not only does this save you time — it also ensures that everyone has at least one dish they really like.

Setting up a potluck-style Friendsgiving is easy: You and your co-host take care of the turkey/chicken/tofurkey, while everyone else takes care of a category (appetizer, salad, side, dessert, etc.). Whether you send the request through a Facebook message, group message, or Excel spreadsheet, make sure everyone signs up for something.

Pro tip: Remind folks to text beforehand if their dish requires refrigeration or a warmup. Oven and fridge space fills up quickly!

Folks, party prep doesn’t need to take days. Yes, that piping-hot fondue made with aged cheese and hand-harvested artichokes is probably mouthwatering, but so are party platters!

A few tasty appetizers that come together in a pinch include a:

  • bowl of chips and guac
  • meat and cheese tray
  • bowl of olive tapenade
  • box of crackers fanned out on a pretty platter
  • pretty bowl of Greek yogurt and honey surrounded by fresh berries

If you love turkey, go for it. But if you don’t, remember there’s no rule saying a turkey must be present on a Friendsgiving table! Not to mention that turkeys are pricey AF in November. Save yourself the hustle and hassle by going plant-based or roasting a smaller portion of meat.

Turkey-free Friendsgiving ideas:

Got a vegan in the mix? Make sure they have plant-based options. Friends with celiac disease? Offer gluten-free foods — and avoid cross-contamination! Most folks with food allergies will give you a heads-up, but it’s still polite to ask about dietary restrictions when you set up Friendsgiving plans.

Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone has to love everything on the menu. If Joey demands tater tots and Phoebe wants mashed with peas and onions, they can bring their own dang potatoes.

Friendsgiving doesn’t require a dining room table. Don’t let your mattress-sized living room or studio apartment keep you from throwing the dinner party of your dreams. If space is truly an issue, make it easier by getting creative with seating.

  • Spread out a blanket and pillows for a Friendsgiving picnic.
  • Make Friendsgiving a standing happy hour shindig instead of a full-blown dinner party.
  • Grab some lap desks or giant books so folks can sit on the couch or a folding chair while eating.

Awkward silences be gone! Music is the ultimate Friendsgiving mood-maker.

Some ideas for planning the perfect playlist:

  • Ask everyone to share their favorite tunes in advance, then have the mix playing by the time they show up to eat.
  • Stick to upbeat tunes.
  • Add a mix of old and new songs.
  • Don’t be afraid to shake it up with a variety of genres!

Practical, we know. But ice is also easy to overlook. Even if you enjoy sipping water at room temp, your friends might expect ice-cold bevvies.

Your best bet is to snag at least two giant bags of ice from the nearest bodega, convenience store, or drugstore. Divide most of it into containers in your freezer, then store the rest in handy coolers or bowls in the kitchen.

Single-use plastic and paper are no good for the environment. Save money and spruce up the party with real plates and utensils.

Only own four plates? No problem! Head to your nearest Goodwill or thrift store for a fun medley of dishes. You might spend a smidge more than you would on paper plates, but you’ll also own a memorable set for future gatherings.

Most of us have well-meaning friends. But that doesn’t mean they’ll remember to stick around for cleanup duty. So, prevent resentment over unmet expectations by planning ahead.

Remember how you asked folks to bring their favorite dish? The same strategy applies to post-party shenanigans. Ask a handful of your closest buds to sign up as a member of the cleanup crew. Flashy? Nope. Functional? Yep.

Pro top: Reserve a bottle of sparkling wine or fun late-night snack for the cleanup crew. Break out a stack of napkins, turn up a workout playlist, and get scrubbing!

Hosting Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be hard. Plan ahead, ask for help, and enjoy it for what it is — a gathering of friends!

Whether you want a full-blown turkeyfest or a chill party platter Friendsgiving, these tips will help you prep like a pro. So, go ahead and send the invite. It’ll be worth it.