... no matter how you decide to celebrate with your friends, it’s all about taking this time to truly give thanks and appreciate the sweet blessings these dear friends bring to your life.
This time of year just welcomes us to get together with all the ones we love, including those precious friends of ours! That’s exactly what “Friendsgiving” is all about! Whether you are unable to make it home for the holidays or you just want to soak in some extra friend time, ‘tis the season to gather with those sweet peeps and let the good times roll.
But, you may be asking… what is Friendsgiving, and how do you actually host one? Well, you are in luck, because the simple planner below will help you with just that! It offers anything and everything you need to know in order to get started.
Does the sound of all this pique your interest? If so, then get ready to unpack some ways to host a meaningful and memorable Friendsgiving. One that is sure to generate lots of fun and loads of laughter, all while celebrating the sweet blessing of friendship. I can’t guarantee, but most likely your guests will be longing for this to become a new “friendly” tradition!
What Is Friendsgiving?
Let’s start with the obvious question. Friendsgiving. What is it? Well, just as the name implies, it’s getting together with friends during the Thanksgiving holidays to deepen and enrich those special relationships. Proverbs 27:9 tells us that sweet friendships are like perfume that wafts in the fragrance of our God. How sweet is that?
We can celebrate with our friends this time of year in a plethora of ways. While Friendsgiving generally mimics a traditional Thanksgiving holiday meal, gathering around a table with festive food and fun spirits, there are so many other ways to celebrate that may speak more directly to you and your friend group.
Some friends gather and volunteer at a local food bank. Some meet at a restaurant or have a big picnic-style lunch. Others may have a potluck where everyone brings a dish. The point is, no matter how you decide to celebrate with your friends, it’s all about taking this time to truly give thanks and appreciate the sweet blessings these dear friends bring to your life. So, are you ready?
As with any big meal or party you host, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Think about what you want to do. Is it a traditional Thanksgiving meal, or do you want to all meet at a park? Once you nail down the “style” of the event, then choose a date. This can be tricky when you are trying to go around everyone’s schedules for work, family activities, and travel times, so try to be patient. However, do try to choose a date that seems to fit everyone’s needs the best you can and offers ample time to spend together without feeling rushed.
Here are a few things to consider when planning for this event:
-Choose to celebrate in a manner that meets the unique needs and style of your friends. Remember that this is meant to be fun, not stressful.
-Pick a date in November (if possible), but do keep in mind that after Thanksgiving it does tend to get a little more hectic due to other obligations and family holiday events.
-Consider who to invite. Be sure to include people that are in the same groups as this makes it easier to manage and allows everyone to bond more easily.
-Also consider if this will be an adult gathering or if the kiddos will be in attendance because this will change the style and flow of your event.
Prep in Advance
It’s good to get an idea of the type of food, snacks, and beverages you want to serve as well as considering if you plan on using decorations. Of course, décor can be as simple or elaborate as you prefer. Then ask yourself if you want to use cute paper plates with a turkey on them (yes, they have these at most craft stores) or if you’d like to dust and wipe off the fancy china. Trust me, prepping in advance will save you time, money, and your sanity.
Here are a few things to consider when prepping in advance:
-What are you going to cook, and are you going to ask friends to bring a dish?
-Write out a grocery list of food and supplies.
-Be sure to take into account how many guests are attending.
-Note any food allergies or restrictions.
-Print out or gather recipes.
-Are there foods you can make the night before and just pop in the oven the day of the event?
-Set the table the night before or that morning, depending on timing.
-If children are a part of the gathering, be sure to either have a “kids table” or fun placemats (they have these at craft stores too) for them to be entertained while adults may be conversing.
Festive Food Ideas
Friendsgiving can be as traditional as a Thanksgiving meal or as eclectic as you like. The food choices are endless, but if you are feeling overwhelmed and need some ideas. Check out the list below for a more traditional Thanksgiving-type meal. Pick and choose what works best for you and your crew, then start gearing up to cook and bake away, or divvy it up for your friends to help out. Either way is fun! Based on your preference, you can use this as a time to be of service to your friends, or you can allow them to help and be more like a team, whipping the meal up together.
Here is a simple menu to use as needed:
Appetizers: cheese and olive tray or dips and crackers
Turkey or Ham (maybe both depending on your crowd)
2-3 side dishes: green beans, creamed corn, potatoes, squash casserole, or Brussel sprouts
Tea, Lemonade, Drink of Choice
Dessert: Pecan, apple, or pumpkin pie (coffee is optional)
Games and Activities
While games and activities aren’t necessary and you may just enjoy talking, swapping stories, or watching and cheering on your favorite football team, it’s always good to have options, especially if you have a few little ones running around. So, break out the board games and put them on standby, maybe snag a few Mad-Libs at your next store run, or print off a few questions of Would You Rather? These games and activities may be just what you need to liven the mood and venture away from those turkey-induced comas.
Another great game (and discussion) is to share what you are each thankful for. A fun way to do this is to place a small pumpkin next to each plate with their name on it (like a place setting) and pass around a pen for them to write what they are thankful for, then share. They can take that little pumpkin home as a sweet reminder of your time together.
If you need some ice-breakers or ways to keep conversations flowing, below are a few thought-provoking questions that may elicit a touch of nostalgia, provoke enduring sentiments, or bring on a bit of humor. The best part is that these all focus on being thankful or speak to the heart of the beautiful blessing we have in friendships. So, let the emotions go with the flow and ask away!
Name a person you are thankful for.
What is your most treasured memory of someone in this room?
What do you value most about the person to your right?
List three words that best describe the friend that sits across from you.
How has God blessed your life recently?
What do you feel the best quality is for a friendship to thrive?
Do you have a favorite Bible verse about friendship?
Reflecting on this year so far, what is one of your favorite memories?
What do you look forward to in the coming year?
What wisdom have you gained from a friend here?
Finish the sentence – Friendship is….
My Prayer for You
Gracious God, we are so thankful for this precious time of year and the way You sweetly call us to reflect on the depth of Your love and multitude of blessings. We are so thankful that You are a God of fellowship and created us to connect with one another in order to grow closer to You. As we gather with our friends, please help us posture our hearts to be full of gratitude as we treasure the time spent with the ones that we love. It’s in Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.