Thanksgiving has long been touted as the ultimate time to gather with family and loved ones to share a meal and express gratitude But what about those who live far from their families, are celebrating alone, or want to include friends who are like family? Enter, Friendsgiving.

Friendsgiving has been gaining popularity as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends. Sometimes Friendsgiving is an alternative to Thanksgiving. Sometimes it's an addition to the typical Thanksgiving feast. Either way, this mashup event puts a unique new twist on the holiday and makes for a fun excuse to gather with friends in the autumn.

If you’ve never hosted Friendsgiving or are looking for new ways to make it easier, these planning tips will help you put together a Friendsgiving everyone will love.

Make It Yours

There’s no single right way to host a Friendsgiving gathering. Friendsgiving can be a traditional turkey, and stuffing, pie feast, a casual party with wine and charcuterie, a game and movie night with favorite snacks, or anything in between. Choose a theme that makes sense for your space, your friend group, and the effort you want to put into prep and planning.

Plan the Menu

After you’ve decided on a theme for your Friendsgiving, you’ll want to put together a menu and either shop for or order your food.

If you’ve decided to host a traditional Thanksgiving feast, turkey and stuffing are always a classic choice, but feel free to branch out into ham, roasts, and unique sides if that makes more sense for your guests. To set yourself up for Friendsgiving feast success, check out more tips for prepping the big meal.

If your party’s menu consists of wine and charcuterie, a food gift with everything you’ll need is a great way to start. Hickory Farms has delicious gourmet wine gift baskets that come complete with expertly paired charcuterie favorites to make feeding guests easy. Many gifts even come complete with a cheese board to help create the perfect platter.

Hosting a movie night Friendsgiving calls for a spread of sweet and savory snacks. Provide a variety of choices, like mixed nuts, popcorn, cookies, chocolate, and candy. Add an extra cozy touch by creating a hot cocoa bar complete with coffee and cocoa guests can customize with add-ons.

And, you can’t forget wine! A good rule of thumb is to have enough wine so that each guest can have three glasses (about five ounces each). A standard bottle of wine contains around five servings, so plan accordingly. Make sure you provide some non-alcoholic options as well, like soda, flavored water, or even a mocktail if you’re feeling fancy.

Set the Stage

On Friendsgiving day, you’ll want your food and beverages prepped and ready when the guests arrive.

If you’re serving a lot of snacks, arrange everything so it’s easy for guests to serve themselves and enjoy. Pre-slice meats and cheeses for your charcuterie spread and place on a cheeseboard or platter, and pour mustards and spreads into small bowls with spoons so guests can top their bites with less mess. Pour smaller snacks like chips, crackers, and nuts into bowls ahead of time and have serving utensils for dips and desserts at the ready so guests can easily put what they’re craving on their plate.

Depending on your space, there are two ways to serve a traditional Thanksgiving feast at your Friendsgiving party. First, if you have a large dining room table and ample space for everything, you can set the table with a place setting for everyone and bring the food out to the table. Just make sure that your table isn’t overcrowded. Or, if you’re working with less space, you can leave the place settings on the table and arrange the food in the kitchen or on a buffet table so guests can make their plate and then sit down to eat. Choose a serving method that works best for your guests and your seating arrangement.

Have beverages (like white wine, soda, and water) chilled before setting them out, and use a few ice buckets to keep them at the ideal temperature throughout the party.

Take it Online

Choosing not to gather in person this year? No problem! Friendsgiving can be just as fun when done virtually.

You can still have a themed Friendsgiving even if you’re gathering virtually. Game night, virtual watch party, happy hour, or wine and charcuterie—there are plenty of ways to customize your event to make it fun for everyone who’s logging in.

Want to find the best snacks and gifts for your Friendsgiving gathering? Check out delicious picks and entertaining essentials at!


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