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Easy Stress Free Friendsgiving Ideas for a Pinterest Worthy Party


Do you host Thanksgiving for all of your friends? These stress-free Friendsgiving ideas help you host a party that you can enjoy too.

The unique, yet simple ideas make the party feel festive while keeping things unfussy. 

Bonus, most of these tips work for Thanksgiving celebrating too!

Friendsgiving ideas for hosting a stress free party that work for your Thanksgiving parties too.

This post was originally published on October 25, 2018 and has now been updated with more details to host a stress-free Friendsgiving every year!

I married into a family that has their holidays figured out. There is no deviation.

I generally bring one dish (that I’m told to bring) and my job is done.

So I like to host Friendsgiving so I can try new menu ideas, decorate a little and be in charge of the party (did you know that this blog started off focusing only on party planning?).

I love to entertain and Friendsgiving is more relaxed than Thanksgiving.

Even though hosting anyone at your home causes a little stress, these ideas are meant to keep things fun and easy so you can enjoy yourself too.

A party table with text next to it to get email sign ups for a Thanksgiving Planner.

Easy Friendsgiving Ideas

First off, atmosphere. Pop on this Friendsgiving playlist to set a cool vibe in the house for when guests arrive. 

How to Keep Friendsgiving Stress Free

Plan Ahead

No matter how much time I give myself to get prepared the day of a party, I’m always way less stressed if I’ve done most of the work the day before (including decorating!).

Make a plan to do the work ahead of time.

The only thing I’ll leave until the day of the party is the food prep for whatever part of the meal I’m in charge of that can’t be done ahead of time.

Literally, everything else I do the day before or earlier.

By getting the majority of the to-do list out of the way, when the stress level is low, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Things always go wrong when planning a party so this way you have more time to deal with it.

Also, while your guests will, no doubt, ask if they can help you, you don’t want to have 20 projects that need to be done before people can start enjoying themselves.

Consider Having a Potluck

While I get excited about getting to be the host and be in charge of all the things, I know myself. I get overwhelmed with having to do it all. I much prefer the planning to the actual execution.

And I know that getting all the recipes to be done at the same time is not one of my strong points. 

A potluck is a way to make everyone feel included and take some of the pressure off of you!

Spend a minute doing a little organization to make sure you don’t end up with 14 pies (but that also sounds amazing…).

When someone only has to bring one or two things, they tend to pull out all the stops and make delicious dishes!

Keep Things Simple

No matter how elaborate the plans are in your head (and nobody plans more elaborately in their head than me…) nobody else knows what you set out to do.

So they won’t know if it didn’t come to fruition.

Life gets in the way and sometimes keeping things simple truly is the best way to ensure that you have success! 

Friendsgiving Menu Ideas

Friendsgiving ideas to keep your party stress free like using a pumpkin for an ice bucket.

Set Up a Drink Station

What’s a Friendsgiving without wine? I created this fun DIY pumpkin ice bucket as a festive way to display and chill the white wine or apple spice sangria.

It’s a super simple way to serve Friendsgiving drinks and is also a great piece of decor.

Task your partner with creating this the morning of the party so you can focus on the recipes.

I buy most of my wine through this wine club. They really know their stuff and make choosing great wine really simple!

A serve-yourself drink station is such a great idea. People are happy when they have something to sip on, so make it super easy for them.

As the party goes on you can flex your hosting muscle by refilling glasses but this alone will help keep the party going if you run into any hiccups along the way.

Full instructions for the DIY Pumpkin Ice Bucket

Serve A Signature Cocktail

Looking for fun holiday inspired cocktails? Try this Cranberry Whiskey Sour recipe. It's the perfect drink for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I’m a wine lover, but I have been finding out that a lot of people aren’t. You can put out some beer, but there are always a few people who will want a cocktail.

I usually like to put out the ingredients and a recipe for one signature cocktail for the night. This Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail is delicious!

The tart cranberry pairs perfectly with the whiskey and your guests will enjoy sipping on this throughout the Friendsgiving meal.

The guest then has the option to drink this as a cocktail or grab just a glass of whiskey.

It provides options without any extra work. Plus this recipe idea will work perfectly at your standard Thanksgiving and Christmas parties too!

Not a fan of this cocktail? Check out these fall cocktails to make for your party.

And definitely consider serving a Pumpkin Mule

Full Recipe for the Cranberry Whiskey Sour

Friendsgiving Food Ideas

As I mentioned before, I know my skill level in the kitchen so I would never try a new, complicated recipe for Friendsgiving. These easy ideas are perfect for the hostess who loves delicious food but might also be a little lazy in the kitchen. 

Friendsgiving Activities to Keep People Engaged

Make this easy DIY door wreath for all your holiday parties. This eucalyptus wreath is the perfect way to welcome your guests to Friendsgiving.

Usually, Friendsgiving guests come from your close friend group.

But in case there are people who may be newer to the crowd, think about having a few activities to help break the ice.

  • Play a game of football. Our house is tiny so getting at least some of the people outside from time to time keeps everything feeling a little less cramped. Plus, it’s fun to do something active. 
  • Put together a photo scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts are underrated and SO much fun. Make it a photo hunt so everyone takes home the fun memories with them to look back on. 
  • Plan a game night. I’m not a game player but I know that others are. This is a great time to play with lots of people and have a chance to laugh and just enjoy each other’s company.
  • Or you can always make it a little crazy with this Friendsgiving Drinking Game

If you want to make sure your guests are mingling, make sure the TV is not on, including sports. That is one activity that is not OK.

A Decorative Activity

I’m not a huge fan of fall decor. I don’t love the mass-produced items you tend to find this time of year.

Instead, I prefer to use fresh greenery (and other organic items like the pumpkins above) to decorate.

An easy way to add lots of greenery to your house and keep your guests busy is to set up a little area for them to make their own wreaths.

I love the simplicity of this wreath made from a brass ring and eucalyptus.

With just a little bit of craft wire, I was able to create the perfect welcome wreath to hang on the front door.

Each guest can really personalize these by simply changing the way you attach the eucalyptus branches.

And the supplies are very inexpensive.

Once the wreaths are done, they will make your house feel more decorated, even if they are simply placed on a table.

Of course, you don’t need to have an activity or party favor but it’s another great way to have your guests involved.

It also allows for error in the kitchen (because, speaking from experience, that is where my parties go downhill…)

Full DIY for the Eucalyptus Wreath

Friendsgiving Decor Ideas

Place Setting idea for Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving tablescapes

Make Snack Placecards

There’s nothing worse than being hangry!

And since you’ve set out a DIY bar, you want to make sure that you are also providing something to put in your guest’s stomachs.

These snack dishes/ place cards are such a cute idea!

They’re easy to make and are a fun way to let your guests know where to find their seat.

But they also give them something to nibble on in case the meal is running behind.

Full DIY for Snack Place Cards

Change Up the Colors

As you can see from the photo above, I went with a blue and white tie-dye tablecloth.

While blue isn’t typically a color you find in a lot of fall decorating, I still think it feels perfect for a Friendsgiving table.

Paired with green leaves and herbs and gold flatware, this table is modern and classy.

Create an Edible Centerpiece

I don’t love it when a table feels cramped with stuff just for decoration purposes.

Serve a few of the dishes on the table, on pretty platters, and take an extra minute to style them with fresh herbs, pretty serving utensils and other small practical accessories.

The table still looks put together and pretty but isn’t overwhelming. 

White Pumpkins

While you can find a bazillion different kinds of pumpkins this time of year, small white pumpkins are so chic.

They nod to the time of year, but go with virtually any other kind of decor you want to use.

They are understated and cool. Which is really weird to say about a pumpkin…

More Decor Ideas

Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving Ideas for hosting a stress free party.

Disguise Necessities With a Little Style

There is always one thing I forget to do when I host a party: check the bathrooms. Every. Single. Time.

So I decided I needed to figure out a way to keep everything stocked that I didn’t need to check on every few minutes.

Come up with a way to store extra supplies openly so your guests won’t feel weird about grabbing them if they need them.

A little pop of greenery makes it feel festive and like you’ve thought of everything they could need.

See More Ideas of How to Keep Your Holiday Hosting Stress Free

I love to spend time with my friends and I love to have them in my home, but entertaining can get overwhelming.

These easy Friendsgiving ideas will help you keep your cool and be the hostess with the mostess!

They’re unique and will make your guests feel like you went all out with these Pinterest-worthy ideas. 

Thanksgiving Printable Decor image with text on what the pdf includes and some photos of the pages you'll get.
Let me know if you’d like a Friendsgiving banner option!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is a tradition where a group of friends come together to enjoy a Thanksgiving-style gathering. These friends, chosen family, and loved ones celebrate being together in this thing called life, and of course, serve a delectable feast. It’s also usually a little more informal and relaxed than traditional Thanksgiving.

When should I start planning Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving usually happens near Thanksgiving but will depend on the schedules of those attending. While they typically are held in the fall there is no reason you couldn’t host one at other times of the year. Give yourself a few weeks to plan your gathering whenever you decide to host it.

What are some Friendsgiving themes I could consider?

I’ve never given my Friendsgiving party a theme other than “Friendsgiving” but if you want a theme, here are some good options: A “Friendsgiving Fiesta” could be fun with a Mexican-inspired twist to traditional dishes, a “Harvest Potluck” idea could put the focus on local ingredients, or you could host a casual “Friendsgiving Brunch” with breakfast and lunch favorites instead of a full dinner spread.

How can I keep Friendsgiving stress-free?

You can keep Friendsgiving stress-free by keeping it all manageable. Don’t invite more people than you have space for. If you don’t want to do all the cooking make it a potluck. If you need organization, plan out the day – including a reheating schedule for the food, to keep the flow moving and less chaotic. Look for ways to take tasks off your plate and let others help when they ask.

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  1. Bringing back the potluck is a YES!


    Great friendsgiving ideas! I agree with you about the white pumpkins – they can be used in so many types of decor.

  3. One Crazy House says:

    These are the best Friendsgiving Ideas! The drink station is such a good idea–potluck is key!

  4. I have always loved the idea of Friendsgiving, but it has always seemed overwhelming, in addition to hosting my family for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks to your Friendsgiving Ideas, I might give it a whirl this year!

  5. Hosting a party can be overwhelming but this list of Friendsgiving ideas is super helpful. Too much stress defeats the purpose of a good party so thank you for your help.

  6. My soon-to-be 16 year old has been begging to do Friendsgiving with her friends the weekend before Thanksgiving this year, so these Friendsgiving ideas are a lifesaver.

  7. Yes to the stress-free part!!! I love these friendsgiving party ideas!

  8. I love these friendsgiving ideas – and many of them could be used for hosting any kind of party. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Stella Kingsley says:

    My friends want to do a Friendsgiving this year and I volunteered to host! I’m still at a bit of a loss, but your post gave me some much needed direction. And I’m 100% going to do a photo scavenger hunt with my dinner! I’m so excited to set it all up and get my decor ready. Who knows, I may even refinish my floors for the occasion!

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  11. Love this post and espythis pumpkin ice bucket. Thank you for including me in this post!!


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