Start a New Tradition: How to Host an Amazing Friendsgiving

The only thing better than Thanksgiving dinner is two Thanksgiving dinners. Here's how to double your fun – and give thanks for great friends – with a Friendsgiving dinner this year.

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Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — gotta have that green bean casserole that's been in the family for generations — but Friendsgiving? It's the perfect time to start a new tradition. Want to roast a pork belly? Confit the turkey thighs? Add Chinese sausage to the pigs in blankets? The world is your oyster (stuffing).

Scheduling Your Friendsgiving
Earlier in the month works well if you're also using it as a trial run for actual Thanksgiving. Pros are that people are usually around, no one has turkey fatigue yet and you get to fine-tune your party game plan without burning out.

The same weekend of Thanksgiving is awesome if you're into stretching out the holiday. Pros: You can strategically repurpose leftovers into new dishes, turkeys are on sale and you're already hyperaware of the one thing you really needed to have this year.

Either way, save yourself a little prep time by picking at least one make-ahead recipe, doubling it, then freezing it so you've got less to do for round two.

Planning Your Dishes
Friendsgiving was made for potluck. Assign people a general category (potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, dessert), and, if you think it's necessary, a theme (Korean, Italian, farm-to-table, deep-fried). Make your friends RSVP, then figure out amounts from here.

That said, you (as the host) should make the turkey and gravy, because nobody wants to transport 20-odd pounds of piping-hot poultry anywhere. Here's a rundown of our favorite turkey recipes, from traditional to you-did-what-with-a-turkey?

If you're not an old hand at big dinner parties, have plenty of snacks and apps on hand just in case dinner gets delayed. This can be as simple as a cheese plate or veggies and dips, or you can have one of your more skillful friends prep something from here.

Are all your friends vegans? Or paleo? Use this cheat sheet to strategize.

Depending on who your friends are, you'll probably also want to have alcohol on hand. You can either go wine and beer only, or plan on one of these awesome cocktails to have as your house drink.

Setting the Scene
Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils and platters. If your friends are bringing sides, have them bring serving bowls too.

If anyone calls and doesn’t know what to bring, suggest ice, wine or napkins. Those are always welcome.

If you’re serving dinner buffet style, wrap flatware in napkins and put the bundles at the end of the buffet line so people can grab them when they’re done loading their plates. If you’re doing family style, consider scooping popular sides (like mashed potatoes) into two bowls so people don’t have to pass things too far.

You can definitely go full tablescape if you want — what are friends for, if not to appreciate your decorative gourd collection? — or minimal. As long as your table is full of friends (and your friends are full of food), you can consider your Friendsgiving a success.

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