Friendsgiving is a chance to put a new twist on Thanksgiving traditions, celebrating the season’s bounty with unique recipes and your favorite people. Every year, we host a Friendsgiving feast in the Northwoods with some of our closest friends and a few new ones. We take the evening to slow down, eat delicious food, laugh until it hurts, and drink [possibly a little too much] wine. Friendsgiving is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season and to be grateful for all of life’s blessings. Here are a few tips to make it a memorable evening.
On our menu this year:
Whole Turkey + Whole Ham
Sweet Potatoes WITH Marshmallows
Green Bean Casserole
Gluten Free Stuffing (for E)
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Cranberry Sauce with Homemade Maple Syrup
Pumpkin Pie Layer Brownies
Homemade Bumpkin Bread
Wine, Beer, + Maple Moonshine
Sign up for dishes
Whether you create a Facebook event, an email chain, or just keep a running tally, make sure you know what everyone is bringing. That way, there is always plenty of food and you don’t have a table full of stuffing and pumpkin pie (wait, maybe that’s not such a bad thing?). If you want to try something new, here are some Friendsgiving recipes that are sure to wow your guests. Never cooked with cranberries before? This year is the year. Learn all about them here and here.
No Dish is Too Small
Everyone is welcome at our Friendsgiving, even if they aren’t skilled in the kitchen. Since most people bring a dish to share, there is always plenty of food. Keep your contribution simple - a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer is just as important as the food. Make it funny and put a few Gobble 'Til You Wobble labels on your brews, or pair beer + wine with your favorite Thanksgiving dish.
Set the Table
We are wild about beautifully curated holiday tables, but sometimes our dinner table isn't large enough to fit all of the people that we love. However, we still create place settings for everyone ahead of time, even if we have to use kitchen countertops and coffee tables. Light a candle and use a cute Thanksgiving napkin (like this one) and your dinner will feel warm and welcoming for all guests.
FRIENDSGIVING: CABIN STYLE
If you have a smaller group or just can’t resist that perfect Friendsgiving table, our friend Kristin at White Arrows Home is our go-to for Northwoods decor. Her Friendsgiving table ideas are out of this world, so pick up a little inspiration here. Head out to find beautiful antiques, or stop by Ann Marie's in Minocqua to find new holiday decor.
Dishes and glasses and platters, oh my.
Make sure you take inventory of dishware beforehand - glasses, silverware and serving platters. If you don’t have enough, go the disposable route. Less time cleaning means more time to be with friends.
Turn the oven on
Every year, a few of our friends bring dishes that are better when served straight from the oven. Since no one lives “around the corner” or “in the neighborhood” in the Northwoods, we always make sure that the ovens are on and clear for our guests to put the finishing touches on their dishes. Short on oven space? Don't discount Thanksgiving crock pot recipes, find a few here.
Make a Playlist
Add some ambiance to your party with a custom Friendsgiving playlist you know everyone will love. If you don’t have time to make one, check out our Spotify account (Northerly Collective) for ideas or turn up Spotify's Friendsgiving playlist.
Always help the host clean up after Friendsgiving. Give everyone a job to do so that it gets done quickly and no one is left with a sink full of dishes to wash. Use our favorite soap - Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap in Apple Cider and we promise, everyone will want to participate.
The best part about Friendsgiving is being able to share it with the people you love. It is a great time to tell stories about family traditions and what makes the holiday season special for you. We like to end our Friendsgiving evening around the fireplace reminiscing on all of the things that we are grateful for this year. If you need a fun game for a group, we like Catch Phrase or Time's Up! Find more fun ideas for your Friendsgiving here.