For the past five Thanksgivings, I’ve hosted what is known as Friendsgiving.
And not the kind that occurs the Wednesday before or Friday after actual Thanksgiving. I’m talking lost boys and girls of the city gathering to be with friends on this special day (or at least not be alone).
The first one took place when I lived in China; there were 22 attendees and only six Americans. That was an interesting one.
Then there was one situated in a cafe in Korea.
The rest were planned and prepped with my best friend here in Los Angeles.
I don’t want to toot my own horn — *toot* *toot* — but I like to think of myself as a Friendsgiving expert at this point. But it took a lot of trial and error to get the ship running smoothly.
You may think that getting all your friends together is no big deal, but there’s actually quite a bit that can go wrong.
And while I may have learned through my errors, you, my friend, don’t have to.
Here is a not-so-obvious guide to having a stellar Friendsgiving your friends will be #grateful for.
Make sure the basics are covered.
What is a Thanksgiving meal without the basics?
I’m talking turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.
*I realize this may differ per person. I once had a Chinese friend implore that chick wings were a necessity. I did not protest.*
Whatever the essentials look like for you, make sure someone is bringing them. Write out a list and send it in a group chat. Be persistent in making sure that at least one person is covering the Thanksgiving essentials.
Because what would be worse than showing up to a thanksgiving without cornbread… literally, nothing.
State upfront that alcohol is welcomed but only in addition to a dish.
With the essentials covered, make sure the rest of your guests know that wine does not count as bringing food, though it is definitely welcomed.
You’re going to be very sorry if fifteen people show up, seven of which brought a bottle of Cab.
This same concept applies to bread. Take care of it yourself; it’s cheap, and you only need so much bread (unless it’s cornbread).
Don’t get drunk while you’re cooking the food.
I learned this one the hard way.
It was 2016. My bestie and I were cooking for our very first Friendsgiving together. A friend of his let us borrow his apartment while he was out — weird in hindsight — to host our dinner.
The apartment had some bottles of wine that were a free-for-all. So naturally, my friend and I popped open some bottles and got to cooking.
Two hours and many dances to Britney Spears later, we realized how drunk we were and how little we’d cooked. With a mere forty minutes before everyone arrived, we had to get ready and finish cooking.
Somehow, we managed. But with much anxiety, which was a total buzzkill.
So maybe wait until after the food is cooked before you start drinking.
Cater to any dietary needs instead of being a dick.
It seems like every person is on some new diet trend nowadays.
I get it. I live in Los Angeles.
And while you may think Jessica’s new keto, vegan diet is absolutely ridiculous, don’t be a dick about it.
Make a simple veggie dish that she’ll be able to eat. Also, ask Jessica to bring a dish of whatever it is she’s able to eat.
Animosity is not the tone you want to set for your Friendsgiving. Rise above.
If you don’t have enough seating, the floor works perfectly.
I don’t think anyone expects you to have seating for fifteen unless you’re a grown-ass adult with kids, in which case I don’t think you’re throwing a Friendsgiving.
The floor works quite perfectly as both a seat and table! Even more so if you can spare some fluffy pillows.
If people are too pretentious to sit on the floor, then they’re not worth being friends anyways.
Note: Back issues are an acceptable reason to not sit on the floor. I’ve been there.
Let your guests DJ.
Just because you are hosting the dinner doesn’t mean you should hog the blue tooth frequencies with your nuanced choice in music. There are only so many people that want to listen to Kanye, repeatedly, for Thanksgiving.
Instead, let your friends take turns DJ’ing. That way, it’s one less stress you need to deal with, and no one can come complaining to you about Kanye’s psychobabbling.
Plan ample games that aren’t basic AF.
No one wants to play monopoly. Please put it away.
Cards Against Humanity and Taboo perhaps suffice though are overplayed nowadays.
How about you opt for something a bit off the beaten path? I would suggest Codenames, Exploding Kittens, or Coup.
Choose games that aren’t too complex but also aren’t basic.
I’d also steer clear of Never Have I Ever. Amongst friends and drinking, that never ends well.
This day is not a chance to profess your love to Kevin.
I promise you, there will be nothing more awkward than if you get drunk and finally profess your love to Kevin. Even if you’re oh so sure his feelings are reciprocated, tonight is not the night.
Best case scenario: you two go off to talk about your feelings and leave everyone unattended. While you two are having a heavy make-out sesh, Jessica throws a fit over the croissants touching her sautéed spinach. Chaos ensues.
Worst case scenario: Kevin doesn’t have the same feelings, and you spend the night pretending like you didn’t just open your heart to love only to have it squashed. More drinking ensues. Involuntary crying may occur.
Advise people to bring containers for leftovers.
Thanksgiving is notorious for cooking way too much food. Good ole American consumerism and gluttony!
I assume you live alone or perhaps with a few roommates you barely talk to. Chances are, you’re not about to eat a Medieval Europen village’s worth of food by yourself in several days.
Let everyone know beforehand that they need to bring containers for the yummy leftovers! And be clear: their containers.
Nothing ruins a friendship quite like unreturned tupperware.
Things won’t be perfect, nor do your friends expect it to be.
In the end, know things won’t go perfectly. Someone will forget a wine opener. One of the pies will be burned. A friend is bound to say a racist joke that doesn’t go over well.
But accept the perfect imperfectness.
You are kind enough to open your doors to your friends to spend quality time with them. They don’t expect you to do everything alone, nor do they expect the night to be executed flawlessly.
So make sure to sit back, relax, and enjoy a big ole slice of pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream.
Because you deserve it, you saint.