The holiday season has crept up on us, and I am not prepared at all! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and growing up, my house was the go to place for dinner and after party vibes. But as time went by, the dinners got smaller and smaller. People started making their own holiday plans or even skipped out on celebrating. And, to make it even worse, my parents recently moved to another state, leaving me feeling like, WTH do I do now? I had to remind myself that we are the “new adults” — at this big 30- something age, we should be the ones hosting the holidays. Not our parents.
I’ll be the first to say that as millennials, we have a hard time accepting ourselves as the new aunties and uncles. I really didn’t think I’d have to start planning my own Thanksgiving dinners until I had my own family. But I also know that there are a lot of people who aren’t near family or are just looking to start new traditions. In the spirit of embracing our Hot Young Auntie era, my best friend and I decided that we’d host dinner this year at her place. What I was not prepared for were those grocery prices! (Since when were eggs $6?!) Prices are not what they used to be, and I know these are not the sales my mom used to go on about. Still, if you’re feeling homesick or want to start new holiday tradition, here are some tips to plan and host a successful Friendsgiving.
Make it a potluck
Growing up, the elders might have taken on the task of feeding the family, but you’re grown now — it’s your duty to make sure everybody’s fed. Still, cooking a full spread is a big responsibility, so if you’re nervous about it, make it a group activity! Ask your friends to bring a dish or drink to contribute to the meal. This eases the burden on the host and also adds variety to the menu. (Just make sure you assign the macaroni and cheese to the right person. Not everyone is qualified.)
Share the hosting responsibilities
Hosting is a tough job; on top of making sure people get to eat, you also have to make sure they’re having a good time. And because you’re just one person, it’s probably a good idea to share those responsibilities with friends or family members. Divvy up tasks like decorating, cooking, and cleanup to ensure that your stress levels are at a minimum — or, at least, that you don’t have a total meltdown in the middle of dinner.
Prep your home
We’re all about aesthetics these days — the good people on the ‘gram will definitely want to see how your Friendsgiving is turning out — so don’t forget to decorate your home in a way that gives off a warm and festive vibe. Set up a comfortable seating arrangement for your guests and consider adding some Thanksgiving-themed decorations.
Play games or music
Food is delicious and all, but we need something to do when the itis inevitably hits (other than sleep, of course). Here’s where you need to pencil in some entertainment or fun activities to keep the energy up. You could host a TikTok dance challenge, play some board games, or even have a fire playlist of background music to lift spirits before your guests hit the kitchen again for round two.
Offer a signature drink
What’s a holiday party without a signature drink? Whether you’re offering guests a themed cocktail or a non-alcoholic option, a custom drink made just for the festivities adds a personal touch to the gathering. (Tres Generaciones Tequila has a lot of delicious holiday recipes.) Pro-tip: if you’re known to have a heavy hand, keep some Advil and Liquid IV on deck. Your guests will thank you tomorrow.
Capture the special moments on film
It’s not enough to post the good times on your IG story — make the fun last forever with photos you can come back to in the future. Have a camera on hand to capture special moments throughout the evening. If you’re super fancy, consider even setting up a photo booth, complete with props and costumes.
Encourage a spirit of gratitude
Thanksgiving might be a made-up corporate holiday (with a pretty dark origin story), but it’s also a time to reflect on our blessings with the people we love most. Since Friendsgiving is about celebrating with friends, don’t forget to incorporate some sort of gratitude activity. You can have a moment where everyone shares something they're thankful for, or you can provide small note cards for guests to write down their expressions of gratitude.
Remember, the most important thing is to celebrate friendship and gratitude. Whether your Friendsgiving is a small gathering or a larger party, you can put your own spin on traditions and make the gatherings reflect your unique style and preferences.