Having people over for Friendsgiving doesn't have to be stressful. With the right preparation, you can pull off the party of the season and still have plenty of leftovers afterward!
Thanksgiving with your family can be an awkward landmine of weird relationship questions and getting stuck at the kiddie table. Friendsgiving, on the other hand, is a great opportunity to unwind with your closest friends and a delicious holiday meal.
Take a look around and consider your space. Do you have enough room at your dining room table to fit eight? Would you rather have a big crowd and a buffet setup? Whatever you decide, make sure there is somewhere for everyone to sit, even if you have to pull out ottomans and folding chairs.
If some of your guests are foodies, have them come a little early and start the party in the kitchen. You'll definitely appreciate the extra hands, and they'll enjoy helping!
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As the host, you can pretty much direct the potluck vibe if you want everyone to bring something. Don't take chances with the main dish, though, and be sure that you have your favorite dishes covered. A basic roast turkey is very simple to prepare and surprisingly affordable. You may want to do a glazed ham or roast bee, though, if you think people will be sick of poultry.
Remember to use your resources! There's nothing wrong with buying creamed spinach from Boston Market if it's one of your favorite sides. You can also make some things ahead of time and just heat them up for a stress-free meal. Things like stuffing, twice-baked potatoes, and sweet potato casserole taste just as good the next day, if not better.
A turkey, ham, or roast beef will monopolize your oven, so be sure to have some sides that you can cook on the stovetop, like corn on the cob, glazed carrots, or mashed potatoes. Shoot for one main dish, a few sides, a bread, and a dessert or two. Good cheese, fruit, and nuts do double duty as appetizers or an after-dinner platter.
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In my house, the most important thing about any gathering is making everyone feel comfortable. Even if you don't have fine china and crystal, you can create a wonderful evening by remembering the little things.
- Dress up your table with a simple centerpiece of flowers, fall leaves, or baby's breath. If your table is long, consider two or three smaller arrangements in jars.
- Encourage movement in the room before the meal by having appetizers and drinks set in different areas.
- Freshen up your bathroom with a nice scented candle and pretty disposable hand towels. Is there anything worse than having to use a soggy towel at the end of the night?
- Have plenty of aluminum foil on hand for the leftovers, and dazzle everyone with your swan-making skills, or make oven-ready flat packs.
- After the meal, bring out a board game or a deck of cards for anyone who wants to hang around a bit. Cider pong, anyone?
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However you decide to pull it off, make it a Friendsgiving to remember. Take time to enjoy your friends and the meal you all assembled. Most importantly, don't sweat the small stuff! Did you know you could roast a turkey that's still frozen? And for 30 years, Butterball (the turkey company) has offered a hotline for turkey prep help. Yes. Really.
Do you have any Friendsgiving traditions we didn't cover? Let us know in the comments below!