When Rob and I were building our home, we wanted it to be a place that we could use to love and serve others. We wanted to be able to invite people in, meet them where they are, and love on them well. Not only do I love hosting people in my home, but I also find it really important. We’re even called to hospitality in the bible. I do feel like it is one of the gifts that God gave me. So, to me, opening my home to love on others and encourage them is kingdom work.
“Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
If you find yourself wanting to do the same this holiday season, hosting a Friendsgiving gathering is the perfect way to gather together with your friends and show how thankful you are for one another! If you’ve never heard of Friendsgiving before, it’s really simple! On Thanksgiving, you typically are gathered with your families. So Friendsgiving is just that – gathering with your friends! Whether it’s a Saturday afternoon / evening filled with food and football, or a Sunday lunch after church, I think it’s so important to get together with friends, show thanks, and fellowship with one another.
Your Hostess Guide to Hosting the Perfect Friendsgiving
If you’re also the Monica Geller of your friend group and hosting Friendsgiving sounds like something you want to do this year, I promise you’re going to want to make it a yearly affair. I also promise that it doesn’t have to be nearly as stressful as when you host the holidays every year!
Here are some of my top tips to hosting the perfect Friendsgiving Gathering this year. (That will make you and your friends want to make Friendsgiving your newest tradition!) Spoiler alert: It involves delegation, letting go of perfectionism, and focusing on the fellowship.
Delegate the Dishes
Part of what makes people stressed when hosting Thanksgiving is that they are stuck in the kitchen preparing all the dishes (while trying to get everything else ready at the same time!) Then they have about 30 minutes of rest to eat and fellowship before hopping back into the kitchen to clean everything up. Hosting Thanksgiving is a serious balance in timing – an exhausting and long day of balancing.
One of the things I love about hosting Friendsgiving is making it a potluck. I opt for simplicity by delegating the dishes and choosing to skip all of the stress that comes from preparing it all myself. When planning your Friendsgiving gathering, have your friends each sign up to bring one of their favorite signature dishes. (Usually I do this in a group message or Facebook event to avoid a lot of repeat dishes.) Not only does it make it much more affordable on you to open your home – but it takes so much of the pressure off!
Grazing Station as People Arrive
As an introvert, I know that the most awkward part of going to someone’s home is when you first arrive and you’re standing around unsure of what to do next. This is why when I like to have a grazing station on the bar in my kitchen with appetizers out as people start arriving. Not only does it give people a little something to tide them over until it’s time to eat, but it also allows for a buffer for those friends who never show up on time. (or if whatever you’re preparing is running unexpectedly behind!)
My favorite thing to put out on my bar for people to graze on as people arrive is a charcuterie board. (I LOVE a good charcuterie board.) They are definite crowd pleasers. Meanwhile, it’s a light appetizer for people to snack on before the meal that won’t fill them up too much. Read about how I create my epic crowd pleasing charcuterie boards, HERE.
READ ALSO: How to Make an Epic Charcuterie Board
Pro Tip: Add a Friendsgiving activity to your grazing station to act as an icebreaker and give you something to talk about as people arrive. Have people write what they’re thankful for on a card to share with the group during dinner – or even some cute little photo props for people to take pictures with.
Leave the Fine China in the Cabinet
I can guarantee another thing that stresses people out about hosting Thanksgiving is doing the dishes at the end of the day. After being in the kitchen all day preparing food, you only get an hour of rest before hopping back in the kitchen to clean it all up. When it comes to hosting Friendsgiving, do yourself a favor and leave the fine china in the cabinet. Leave the perfectionism at the door. Disposable place settings are your friend.
Pro Tip: I want to tell you how disposable place settings can be done super tastefully. Have you been in a Dollar Tree lately? You can get gold or silver beaded chargers for $1 each. But if you don’t even want to wipe those down at the end of the night, I got a few packs of these gold and silver square disposable chargers (in the pictures below) at At Home for $7.99 for a pack of 10. They’re made out of cardboard rather than plastic, and they can be thrown out after you use them – talk about easy!
You can even elevate the typical paper plate look while keeping the mess at a minimum with metallic rimmed plastic plates or even a square paper plate to match the chargers I am showing off below. I also went a step further to dress up the place settings with paper doilies to go under my thanksgiving themed napkins as well as silver plastic cutlery with black handles (that looked totally real!) In the end, it’s your table friend. Get creative!
Everyone Loves Leftovers
Not everyone loves leftovers, but it seems like everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers. To avoid everyone going home with just the leftovers of the dish they made, stock up on some of these take-out boxes from Amazon so you can make small to-go plates for your friends before they leave. (I promise they’re not going to hate you for it!) These stickers from Lily & Val would be the perfect touch!
A Little Love To Go
I also love the idea of a little favor that your guests can take home with them at the end of the night. Even better? A little favor that doubles as a place card at your Friendsgiving table. These wood burned spoons (in the pictures below) were such an easy DIY and the perfect touch for a casual Friendsgiving tablescape. I made them all say something different and quirky – from Gobble and Que Pasta to Oh Crepe and Let’s Spoon (for Rob.) It was so cute!
Pro Tip: If you want to steal this idea and don’t have a wood burning kit, you can always write on the spoons with a sharpie. (Just tell your guests that it’s not food safe!) Purchase the wood spoons on Amazon, HERE.
READ ALSO: DIY Framed Chalkboard Wall Tutorial
Hosting a Friendsgiving gathering is really the perfect way to gather together with your friends and show how thankful you are for one another this year. Whether it’s a Saturday afternoon / evening filled with food and football, or a Sunday lunch after church, I hope this post inspired you to open your home this thanksgiving season.
Do you plan to host Friendsgiving this year? Tell us your plans in a comment below!