It’s November 18th, and Thanksgiving is almost upon us.
That means 2 things. 1: I have the Thanksgiving Instagram photo of all Instagram Thanksgiving photos ready to go for you guys’ enjoyment. And 2: There will be Friendsgiving plans, and Friendsgiving anxieties.
Now, I’ve only hosted a Friendsgiving once before, but I have to say it was a success by my own standards, which are ridiculously high. So here are my top 5 tips for a feast all your friends will be thanking you for.
1. Decide if you want to do a traditional or non-traditional meal
Just because cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving is what’s expected doesn’t mean you have to follow the rules. If it’s too expensive or you’re just not up for cooking a turkey, there are other options that can be just as good, if not better. I mean, let’s be honest: it’s not like turkey breast is anyone’s favorite food. Thanksgiving dinner can be more about the ritual than the tradition if you let it, especially when you’re trying to make a new tradition. I cooked mussels in white wine and garlic broth, and invited guests to bring food with them. Our spread was a little all over the place, but the good news was that everything was delicious and no one compared anything to their grandmother’s famous turkey.
2. Invite people who will get along easily
The thing about Friendsgiving is that it’s like your one and only opportunity to choose your family members. That goes for your guests as much as it does for you, which means you should invite a group of friends, but maybe not try to combine groups or individuals who have never met before. That could be a recipe for awkwardness. A Thanksgiving feast is more of an intimate gathering than a come-and-go party, and if you’ve ever been the odd one out at someone else’s Thanksgiving, you know what I’m talking about.
3. Plan ahead and stay on schedule
Even if it’s the only time all year you make yourself stay organized, do it. It’s worth it. Buy your ingredients the day before or a few days before, depending on what day of the week you’re hosting and what you’re preparing. Will it happen on actual Thanksgiving day, or before? Lunch or dinner? What dishes can your guests bring? What’s your playlist? What are you wearing? These are decisions that have to be made in advance so there’s room in your head to enjoy the moment as much as possible on the day of the event.
4. Pick a good wine
If you’re not normally a wine-drinker, consider making an exception. If you’re hosting a traditional spread, a full-bodied red wine should do nicely – think pinot noir, Italian red, syrah, or any quality red blend. For something bolder, zinfandel is a great special occasion wine. If white is more appropriate, for example, if you’re serving seafood, a good chardonnay will do the trick.
5. Have fun
You’ve put tons of planning and effort into this, cooked a giant meal, cleaned your apartment, and now it’s time to enjoy it! It’s the time to notice and appreciate having people around you who make you smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If something doesn’t go quite according to plan, it’s ok. Move on! Everyone appreciates the host who takes on Thanksgiving, and trying your best means a lot to everyone. Cheers!