Thanksgiving is great. But Friendsgiving, the gathering a day or two later of the people you really wanted to spend the holiday with? Even better. (No offense, Aunt Suzy.) “What I love about Friendsgiving is that people aren’t afraid to have a little fun,” shares Julie Roehm, experience officer at Party City. “No need to dust off your china for this event!”
So if the Friendsgiving hosting baton has been passed in your direction this year, the best way to make it relaxing and fun is to equip yourself right. We tapped entertaining experts and our own Friendsgiving know-how to craft this list of items that will help you conquer Friendsgiving. Just don’t blame us if they want you to host every year, deal?
The Catskill ($90; urbanstems.com)
Dried floral bouquets — especially this seasonal beauty — are chic and somehow look like you fussed when all you did was plop it down. Plus, you can order them well in advance (now, even) without them wilting. It needn’t go on the dining table; it will look just as fetching gracing an end or coffee table or the entryway.
GlamCelebration Glitter Friendsgiving Banner (starting at $13.30; etsy.com)
Nothing like a touch of glitz to signal “We’ve got a party starting.” Hang this up over the food table or as a backdrop for photos of the gang. It comes in other color combinations as well.
PerpetualBlissCo Perfect Pear Candle ($20; etsy.com)
“Keep the platters of food in the kitchen or on a sideboard to leave the center of your table open for creating a tabletop scene with candles that will wow your guests,” suggests Decorist designer Joshua Jones. We especially love this pear candle for Friendsgiving, but they also have adorable bubble candles.
Big Dot of Happiness Friendsgiving Wine Bottle Labels, 4-Pack ($9.99; amazon.com)
Aren’t these cute? And while not technically decorations, they completely serve the purpose of making the party more aesthetically pleasing.
Friendsgiving food ideas
Classic Thanksgiving Meal Kit ($109.98; blueapron.com)
For a smallish Friendsgiving, you can cheat your way to a traditional, freshly made meal with this kit. It features all the classic holiday favorites with a twist. Example: mashed potatoes…with brown butter, fontina, Romano and chives. It comes with prepped ingredients and simple recipes. So if anyone asks, “You made this?!” you can truthfully say, “Sure did!” If you have vegetarians in attendance, look to Blue Apron’s Vegetarian Kit.
Gourmet Butcherblock Turducken ($149; goldbelly.com)
You’ve never had a turducken? Well, once you serve this, your group may never want anything else for Friendsgiving. The craze for a turkey stuffed with a duck, then stuffed with a chicken started in New Orleans, where this succulent specimen will be shipped from. Weighing in at 17 pounds, it’s layered with sausage stuffing and cornbread dressing, and is all ready to bake.
Viski Glass Punch Bowl ($59; urbanoutfitters.com)
“For me, one of the most fun things to do at Friendsgiving is to make a ‘house’ punch,” says food blogger and award-winning cookbook author Ali Stafford. “You could make a sparkling holiday sangria flavored with apples, cranberries and rosemary, or a rum punch spiced with cinnamon and oranges.” This high-shine, ultra-smooth glass bowl has a classic pedestal base and is dishwasher-safe.
Italian Herb and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread ($17.99; wolfermans.com)
“As someone who loves bread, pull-apart rolls are a must for me on the Friendsgiving table,” shares Stafford. We like the idea of this savory, pull-apart bread. All you need to do is warm it up. It also comes in Feta and Kalamata Olive. No, it would not be excessive to get both. We seriously doubt a crumb will be left.
Dessert and Baking Salts ($22; uncommongoods.com)
“Salted whipped cream goes with all of the classic fall desserts, which tend to be on the sweet side,” says Stafford. “Beat heavy cream with a modest amount of confectioners’ sugar and a nice big pinch of flaky sea salt until you have soft, billowy peaks.” This half-dozen set of salts will give you whipped cream options, plus tasty ideas for cookies and cheesecake too.
Harry & David Belgian Artisan Truffles ($54.99; harryanddavid.com)
“I’m a big fan of going outside the box. One of the best ways to do that…is with a creative dessert!” says party planner Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in New York City. “Why not add in a bit of the unexpected with colorful chocolates?” As far as bite-size delectibles go, it doesn’t get much better than these. And a small sweet will hit the spot for guests too stuffed for a hunk of pie.
Friendsgiving activity ideas
TheFunBoss Getting to Know You Ice Breaker Questions ($4.99; etsy.com)
“Are guests arriving and the food is nowhere near ready? Buy yourself time by giving your guests something to do as a group,” suggests Weinberg. She really likes this set, especially when you have a guest or two who doesn’t know the rest of the group.
My Scratch-Offs Thanksgiving Turkeys, 26-Pack ($8.99; amazon.com)
These crowd-pleasers couldn’t be more simple. Just place one at each place setting, and before the toast, see who the two lucky winners are. Have small prizes ready; a $10 Target gift card works for anybody.
Cards Against Humanity ($25; amazon.com)
A rousing game of Cards Against Humanity works great as a fun break after dinner, notes Weinberg. It will give folks time to make room for dessert…and maybe your bestie’s boyfriend won’t be snoring on the couch like last year.
Smart cooking and serving tools
Salton Warming Gravy Boat ($24.99; wayfair.com)
Nothing ruins second helpings like cold gravy. This brilliant electric gravy boat keeps any sauce perfectly warm. The cord detaches so you can leave it right on the table.
Dreo Air Fryer Pro Max ($119.99; amazon.com)
Been thinking of getting an air fryer? This is the occasion you’ve been waiting for. Timing food prep so everything’s done at the same time is always a holiday challenge. Just about anything you’d put in the oven cooks just right in this 6.8-quart digital air fryer, but faster. The see-in window lets you instantly keep tabs on your side dishes. Plus, the parts are dishwasher-safe.
J.K. Adams Co. Reversible Carving Board ($87; food52.com)
One side is flat for carving up roasts. And on the other is an indentation to cradle a roast turkey or chicken so it doesn’t slide off. Both sides have grooves to catch the juices. That way, they wind up in your gravy, not on your counter. Made in Vermont of maple wood, it has a lifetime guarantee, no questions asked. We love that.
IDooTeeDoo Friendsgiving Tote Bag ($9.90; etsy.com)
Fans of the sitcom “Friends” on your guest list? Of course there are, so the graphic on this tote will need no explanation. The handle is reinforced, and it’s roomy, so it’ll see plenty of use. Smiles guaranteed when you hand these out as guests are leaving. They can use it to easily carry their leftovers and any serving dishes they may have brought.
GlasshouseGrace Peperomia Potted Assortment ($25; etsy.com)
“Peperomia ginny potted in autumn-friendly tones become truly memorable as gifts for your guests to take home with them,” says Jones. We agree! These petite plants are easy to care for and so stinking cute. You can absolutely get away with one per couple.
MontoPack Disposable Takeout Pans, 50-Pack ($14.99; amazon.com)
These aluminum leftover containers with lids ensure that all that good food that’ll taste even better tomorrow disappears. And that your good Tupperware won’t.