Fun Friendsmas Dinner Ideas

Move over, Friendsgiving — it’s Friendsmas’ time to party. Here’s our guide (and menu) for a festive, stress-less holiday gathering.

December 17, 2019
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Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Leslie Siegel

Photo by: Tina Rupp

Tina Rupp

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Deck the halls with boughs of holly-jolly friends, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. That’s how the song goes, right? For those who can’t head home to see family for the holidays or just want to celebrate their friends who feel like family, there’s no time like the present to host a Friendsmas. Like its fall predecessor, Friendsgiving, Friendsmas is the perfect time to gather a group of pals for a potluck. There can be dishes to pass, a friendly game of White Elephant or Secret Santa, and even a cookie decorating contest or cookie swap.

Below, we’re sharing three Friendsmas theme ideas and the recipes we’d make for them. One essential for every party is to make sure that “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” is on your playlist, because it isn’t really a Christmas soirée unless you feel the love in the room from the floor to the ceiling. So get ready, because it’s that time of year — Friendsmas is here.

Hammin’ It Up

A classic glazed ham (pictured) can feed a huge crowd, yet requires minimal effort. This recipe from Food Network Kitchen has multiple glaze options: apple-maple, mustard-orange, hoisin-spice, or pineapple-apricot. Pick your favorite and make a build-your-own slider station with a few types of mustard (Dijon, grainy, and honey), mayonnaise, assorted sliced cheeses, and squishy potato rolls. You can add vegetables like pickled onions or lettuce and tomato, but the combination of ham, cheese, and mustard is simply satisfying. Friends can bring sides, appetizers, desserts or drinks to contribute, but even if no one shows up with substantial food, that ham will feed a lot of people. Plus, you don’t need a big table to seat everyone. This type of Friendsmas is ideal for someone who lives in a small apartment but still wants to invite 25 friends over to celebrate. Hold a slider in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, and you can still sing and dance to All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Food Network Kitchen's Antipasto Christmas Tree holiday recipe

Photo by: Lucy Schaeffer

Lucy Schaeffer

Phoebe Buffet

Okay, so Phoebe Buffay was the least-active character on Friends during the holiday episodes, but sometimes you just have to go with the best pun. Gather your, well, friends for a buffet full of easy, grazeable bites and appetizers. Some of our favorites are baked brie bites, a Christmas tree-shaped antipasto salad (pictured), a pizza candy cane made with crescent dough, shrimp scampi dip, holiday deviled eggs, prosciutto-wrapped persimmons, and stuffed mushroom dip. Make as many dishes as you can handle, and ask friends to supplement with their favorite bites. For drinks, make a big punch bowl of festive Jingle Juice that can sit on the buffet with a colorful ice wreath and keep cold all night.

Ugly Sweaters and Beautiful Cookies

Break out your ugliest Christmas sweater and prepare a few bags of colored frosting for this more intimate Friendsmas cookie-decorating party. We’d suggest no more than eight people for this idea, so you don’t have to make dozens of cookies in preparation. If you want to go all-in with the theme, make Food Network Kitchen’s sweater-shaped cookies (pictured), which can be decorated to be beautiful or ugly. Or you can just make a basic sugar cookie dough and provide an assortment of cookie cutter shapes for people to choose from. If friends want suggestions of what to bring, ask them to pick up some fun sprinkles to decorate with (or just tell ’em to bring booze). Bonus points if you buy little wine bottle koozies that look like ugly Christmas sweaters. If you want to have more people over, you can also do more of a cookie swap and have friends bring premade cookies to share. For the serious Friendsmas overachiever, buy the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find — there are often a lot at Goodwill this time of year — to use in a White Elephant or Yankee Swap gift exchange. May the prettiest cookies and ugliest sweaters keep you warm this holiday season.

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