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!
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.
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
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
Set Up a Drink Station
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.
Serve A Signature Cocktail
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.
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.
- This whole turkey in the crockpot is right up my alley. I might give this a go this year!
- Here are 5 super simple side dish ideas for Friendsgiving.
- For those doing Keto here are 20 Low Carb Side Dishes to check out.
- Don’t want to make the whole thing a potluck? Maybe just make dessert a Pie Party instead!
- Or just make the most delicious Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake recipe that is stupid easy and SO darn delicious!
- Pear Sangria is a fun twist on a yummy fall cocktail!
Friendsgiving Activities to Keep People Engaged
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…)
Friendsgiving Decor Ideas
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.
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.
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
- Make fresh cranberry garland using the technique she uses for this DIY cranberry jewelry.
- Round out your Friendsgiving decorating with these personalized placemats.
- Use printable “Give Thanks” signs to add a little more pizazz to your walls without spending a lot of time on it.
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.
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.
Shop For Your Party
- ‘Let’s Get Basted’ Party Sign
- Thankful for Friends Bingo for Friendsgiving
- Collapsible Tiered Serving Bowl
- 3 Compartment Warming Tray