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How to Host “Friendsgiving”

Have you ever hosted a “Friendsgiving” Dinner? I’ve already been invited to TWO this year so it’s definitely been on my mind. If you’re planning one, we’re sharing a few ideas below…


The idea of Friendsgiving is simple: Thanksgiving Dinner shared with your friends instead of family. It can happen on Thanksgiving Day, but most people host them a few weeks before so they can enjoy both.

1. Choose a fun location. I like that Friendsgiving is more relaxed than Thanksgiving Dinner so there are lots of ways to get creative with it. If you live in a warm location, you can host a Pop Up Dinner Party (or at least set up a table in the backyard.) You could also stage a picnic in the living room or bring a table into the garage (with fairy lights hung up all around?!) A change of scenery feels special and exotic.

How to Host "Friendsgiving" | Oh Happy Day!

How to Host "Friendsgiving" | Oh Happy Day!

2. Take shortcuts! There’s nothing to prove. For instance, if you make the main course: it’s totally fine to leave the baking to the professionals. I really love Mrs. Smith’s frozen pies (apple is my favorite!) They taste home-cooked, you just pop them in the oven before dessert is served. One less thing to worry about…

How to Host "Friendsgiving" | Oh Happy Day!

How to Host "Friendsgiving" | Oh Happy Day!

3. Add something special. For this party, we went with a rustic theme. We hosted the dinner in Amy‘s new backyard. It’s so pretty with all of the amazing grape vines woven into the trellis. Besides using vintage linen and dishware on the table, we also made a few simple DIY wreaths out of wheat (using a wire wreath frame and wire.) We set up baskets of white pumpkins around the table and Amy had the idea to turn Thank You Cards into menus. You can write or print the meal onto a card and place them at each setting. These things only took about an hour of extra time, but they made the party way more interesting.

So we’d love to hear: what are your tips & tricks for hosting “Friendsgiving?” Please tell us!

How to Host "Friendsgiving" | Oh Happy Day!

How to Host "Friendsgiving" | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by Mrs. Smith’s: Always a warm welcome. 

Tableware and settings provided by Elsie Green

  1. 'Becca'lise

    November 9, 2015

    We hosted our first Friendsgiving last year and it was a blast! The twist? Everything was vegetarian which was awesome for me because I’m the only vegetarian in my family and Thanksgiving is kind of a drag when you can’t eat anything! We had a butternut squash pasta as the main dish, and vegetarian versions of all the classic Thanksgiving sides. Everything was delicious!

  2. Madeleine | The Daily Mark

    November 9, 2015

    This really makes me want to adopt the Thanksgiving tradition here in Aus. I love your tips to treat friendsgiving the same but with a fun twist! x
    Madeleine, The Daily Mark

  3. Alexis Paige

    November 9, 2015

    You know, it’s sad to say that I’ve never really had enough good friends to do this with; but I got so much inspiration from your post, I may just have to host my own with the few good friends I do have! Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Michele
      • November 17, 2015

      Having moved an awful lot we often have found ourselves without really ‘good’ friends but made up for that by inviting other newcomers, or friends plus 1, or just found people we wanted to get to know better and spend more time with. If you have good food (that you can buy), good music, drinks and a relaxed atmosphere it can be a great time, and a nice way to get to know people. There are also some fun and silly game apps that you can use as an ice breaker to help people relax and get to know each other.

  4. Michelle

    November 10, 2015

    This is such a cool idea, although we don’t have such things as thanksgiving in my country I would love to have such a party!

  5. Holly

    November 10, 2015

    A group of 8 families gathered last year for our first Friendsgiving and we used Pluto’s (a chain restaurant in Northern California) for the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, cooked veggies and pie! We brought some other fresh things like salad, but with so many people (and kids!) it was nice to have the bulk of the dinner done for us (and it was delicious).

  6. Holly

    November 10, 2015

    Last year a group of 8 families gathered for our first Friendsgiving and we used Pluto’s (a chain restaurant in Northern California) for the bulk of the food. They do a special Thanksgiving menu that you can order and pick up. We brought some fresh things like salad but it was nice with so many people (and kids!) to not have to do all the prep and cooking ourselves. And it was delicious!

  7. Carolyn Selheim-Miller | Boxes and Jars

    November 10, 2015

    Friendsgiving’s are always so fun! I sometimes like to use them to make a nice big meal other than what you would have on Thanksgiving, like cooking a crown roast or a spiral ham or something. Great pictures!

  8. Amy

    November 10, 2015

    I hosted a Friendsgiving last year and loved it. Doing a repeat this year but pared down a bit (someone was a little ambitious with last year’s menu! 🙂 ). I host the weekend before with a twist on the traditional menu as to not “ruin” anyone’s family Thanksgiving by beating their family to the punch.

    This year the plan is butternut squash soup, Thanksgiving dinner turnovers, and pumpkin trifle. All can be pre-made and heated up/cooked day of… easy as pie!

  9. Kelsey

    November 11, 2015

    I am so excited because this year is the first year my friends and I are doing a friendsgiving! I’ll give that pie a try.

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