How to host a successful Friendsgiving

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Sophia Young | Assistant Photo Editor

Whether you decide to cook, host a potluck or order in, follow these tips to host a successful Friendsgiving.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with it comes the annual tradition of Friendsgiving.

Planning a Friendsgiving gathering includes several components: curating the menu, delegating which dishes each guest is responsible for and determining a location for the event. Use this guide to ensure you cover all the basis to host your best Friendsgiving yet.

Whether you’re in it for the friends or the food, we have you covered with these tips to planning a successful Friendsgiving:

Delegating responsibilities
Depending on the size of your group, a good rule of thumb is to ask each guest to bring one or two items. In addition to food, make sure to delegate drinks, dishes, utensils and decorations. As the host, you are already sharing your space, so it could be a good move to dole out most of the other food, drink and decoration responsibilities. Not every guest has to bring food or drinks – if some friends are doing the brunt of the cooking, have others take dish and cleanup duty.

Communication is key when it comes to planning a Friendsgiving, so keep in touch with your guests to keep the whole group up to date on plans and responsibilities. A group chat specifically for your Friendsgiving could help facilitate communication and even checklists are simple tools to ensure that nothing important is forgotten.

Shortcuts on labor-intensive dishes
If cooking a full turkey seems too advanced for you and your apartment or residence hall oven, you’re not alone. One option is to swing by the grocery store and grab one or two rotisserie chickens. Presented nicely on a platter, they evoke the same holiday feelings as a turkey with the added benefit of not laboring over the cooking for hours.

Pies are an essential part of every Thanksgiving meal, but making them can become labor intensive. Luckily Pelham Commons has you covered. See the cashier at Pelham to pre-order a 10-inch pie before Nov. 19 and enjoy one or more of the six flavor varieties at your Friendsgiving.

Options if you don’t want to cook
Cooking a Thanksgiving dinner, or even just one dish, can simply be too much for some college students, especially as we head into finals season. If your Friendsgiving is taking place on campus, then you could always put the Whole Foods hot bar to good use and pick up one of the pies that you always pass on the way to checkout but never have a reason to buy. Whole Foods also offers Thanksgiving catering for up to 12 people. Just make sure to put your order in 24 hours ahead of time.

For a less traditional meal, have everyone to bring one dish from their favorite restaurant for a buffet featuring an assortment of food from all around D.C. The Founding Farmers restaurants are also offering a specialty Thanksgiving menu ($42.99 per person).

Finding an ideal spot to host
Whether you’re in Foggy Bottom or your hometown for your Friendsgiving, a warm and mild fall day could give you the opportunity to host a picnic-style meal outside. If you are planning on being with your college friends in Foggy Bottom, the National Mall, U-Yard or the Capitol lawn could all make for good spaces. Find a picnic bench or a nice patch of grass, spread a table cloth and enjoy your meal.

Since bearable weather isn’t guaranteed, the key in finding an ideal hosting spot is a spacious kitchen, if you are planning on cooking, and a large table.

The cooking process can get rather chaotic with multiple chefs and dishes, so a large kitchen is ideal. A common kitchen in a residence hall or affinity housing could accommodate a bigger group. Eating and cooking in the same space can make things a bit easier and cut down on transportation time. Residence halls may be lacking in the table department, so you can always opt to sit on the floor in a circle or check out your building’s common room.

Mealtime activities
If your crew is feeling sentimental, go around in a circle with each person saying something they are thankful for about the person to their left. Similarly, take turns sharing one thing you are thankful for about the past year. Activities like these can bond your group further and foster some holiday spirit.

After everyone has gotten a little wine or spirit of choice in them, it could be the ideal time to bring out the karaoke. It’s the time of year where playing Christmas music is expected and acceptable, so turn on Mariah Carey and listen to your friends belt out their favorite verses.

If you’re looking for something with a slower pace after stuffing yourself full of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, playing cards with a group is always a fun, easy option.

Holiday Decor
Decor is definitely optional, but it can help elevate the event. Lighting some candles, if the dinner is taking place off campus, displaying mini pumpkins on the table, playing holiday music or using Thanksgiving-themed plates and napkins can all add some extra ambiance. If you are feeling extra crafty, a great centerpiece idea is to fill a hollow pumpkin with flowers and use it as a festive vase to adorn your table.

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