Let’s face it: Thanksgiving is the most delicious holiday of the year, with possibly the best leftovers ever. In fact, it’s so good that some people have it twice by hosting a Friendsgiving—that’s a turkey dinner held before, on, or after the real date but with pals instead of your parents.
According to a survey from location app Skout, Friendsgiving is increasingly popular with adults age 30-39, 18% of whom are planning on spending Thanksgiving with friends instead of family. An additional 11% of 18-29-year-olds are organizing similar feasts.
Whether you can’t celebrate with your family, you’d prefer to break bread with friends, or you just want a second chance to eat stuffing, Friendsgiving sounds like an awesome day…as long as everyone pitches in.
Follow these etiquette tips to ensure that your friends will still be, well, friends post-meal.
The host has the most difficult job of all, but with some delegation you can enjoy the festivities with everyone else.
Make the turkey. The bird is heavy and hard to transport, so it’s not really something a guest can bring. If this is your first time cooking a turkey, check out this reference guide from our sister site Food & Wine, or see if your favorite local market sells them cooked before the real Turkey Day.
Coordinate the rest. Ask for volunteers to bring each side dish and dessert—and assign out whatever’s left. This ensures you’ll have buttermilk mashed potatoes AND delicious maple-pecan sweet potato mash, and that you won’t end up with four pumpkin pies and no stuffing. (Not that having four pumpkin pies is necessarily a bad thing…) Tell people how many servings to make so you don’t run out.
Make an alcohol plan. You’ll need enough wine, beer, or whiskey to go around. Check out this guide from PEOPLE Great Ideas on how much booze to have for a holiday party, and then ask your guests to contribute accordingly.
Ask about food allergies or restrictions. And then spread the word so everyone can keep side dishes veggie-friendly, for example. While you know that Brussels sprouts taste WAY better with pancetta, leave them out this time or make a batch sans meat.
Have tunes ready. Find a great playlist on Spotify, or enlist someone to make their own.
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You’re invited! Now what?
Be proactive. If you really want to make your Aunt Alice’s heavenly Parker House rolls, ask the host early before someone else takes the job. Otherwise you should expect to be assigned with bringing one dessert or side and a drink to share.
Break out the tape. Label your serving bowls with your name ahead of time, so you don’t end up with the wrong blue dish or get home without your nice salad servers.
Bring the heat. Try to arrive with your food heated to serving temperature since the host’s oven will likely be occupied with the turkey, as our sister site Real Simple points out. If you absolutely need to heat something, give your host a head’s up before the date of the party, and make sure the container can be used for reheating. You can also stick your dish in the microwave—not to actually reheat it, but to keep it warm. Microwaves are insulated and will keep food warm for up to a half hour.
Offer extras. See if your host needs any napkins, utensils, or plates.
Bring ice. Without fail, parties always need more ice.
Pitch in. After dinner, everyone should pitch in to help clear the table and wash dishes. It’ll speed up the process and, more importantly, ensure that you have plenty of clean forks for pie.
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