The holiday season is finally here! Leaves are changing colors, the flannel bed sheets have come out, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you can’t afford to travel or cook this month, that doesn’t mean you should miss out or spend Turkey Day alone—turn your Thanksgiving into a Friendsgiving instead. Plenty of your friends, co-workers, and neighbors are most likely staying in town too, so consider hosting a festive get-together this year. Here are a few ways to make sure your Friendsgiving will be a great one.
Suggest a potluck
The most stressful part about hosting a holiday dinner is the “dinner” itself. Between cooking the turkey, preparing the side dishes, making dessert, and trying to sync up the timing of everything, Thanksgiving can be a huge hassle. Instead, have each of your guests bring a dish. It’ll make your life easier, and it’ll make your guests feel more included in the holiday. Just be sure to plan beforehand who’s bringing which dish, because you don’t want to end up with seven pumpkin pies and no mashed potatoes.
Save oven space
Whether your guests bring food or you prepare the meal yourself, always be observant of your oven space. Normally, when a guest brings a dish over, it simply needs to be warmed up. But we all have that one friend who brings a big bag of assorted ingredients, then expects you to have a clean pan and available oven space. So be prepared to improvise, and try to bake everything at 350 degrees — because nearly everything can be baked at 350 degrees.
Make guests feel welcome
Not everyone at your dinner party is going to know one another, so make everyone feel welcome. That could be a simple introduction at the front door, a football game on the TV, or some party games. Music is also a great way to get people out of their comfort zones and mingling with strangers.
Drinks for everyone!
When you’re celebrating the holidays with friends, beer and wine is almost always a necessity. Try offering fall cocktails for a little bit of festive fun, and designate one of your guests to be the bartender. Be sensitive to others, too. Some people may bring children, and others may not drink alcohol at all. So be prepared with plenty of nonalcoholic drinks like hot apple cider and cocoa.
Keep the kids busy
Having children at Thanksgiving definitely makes it feel more like a holiday. But it can also lead to temper tantrums and comments like, “I’m bored!” and “I want to go home!” Try giving kids activities to do until dinner is served, such as board games, build-your-own desserts, or, if all else fails, a good DVD to watch.
Holiday dinners usually involve some holiday drinking, so be a considerate host and have spare bedrooms and couches ready for sleepovers. If you don’t have any extra room, suggest that your guests carpool home, make a pot of coffee after dinner, or have the number of a taxi service on hand.
The key to a great Friendsgiving (or a Thanksgiving with family) is to have a fun, stress-free day. If you’re interested in buying a bigger home for future holidays, get in touch with us anytime. And don’t forget to share your own Turkey Day ideas with us on Twitter and Facebook.