Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Throw a Friendsgiving

One of my favorite holiday traditions is Friendsgiving. Since the actual Thanksgiving is usually taken over with travel and families-of-origin, its nice to set aside some time just before or just after the actual Turkey Day to appreciate the family you've created for yourself.

In the past, we've tried to just be like "It's a potluck, bring your favorite dish!" but we'd always end up with like, 15 bottles of three-buck-Chuck, a few weird side dishes, and six plates of cupcakes or frozen cheesecake someone grabbed at the Jewel on the way over. I mean, all of those things are cool, but people are left hungry and wishing there was something to drink besides cheap merlot. How to avoid this? Just gotta plan for a minute, man.

Step one: Where the fuck can you fit all your friends in one place?
It all depends how many friends you have, but even if you have one friend who is the best hostess, if she lives in a studio apartment, that might not be the best gathering place. Someone else may have a bigger apartment, but isn't really familiar with how to host. You can have people volunteer to be on prep and cleanup duty instead of bringing a dish so that the whole responsibility doesn't fall on one person.

Step two: When the fuck can we get everyone together?
You can do the weekend before, for maximum body count. However, the weekend after is a nice comedown, a relaxing retreat after a possibly-stressful family gathering, and a way to keep numbers more manageable since so many people will be traveling. 

Step three: How the fuck do we let all these people know?
You can do paper invites if you're one of those fancy people who isn't bogged down by pestering tasks like "sleep". Like, this blog seemingly plans a Friendsgiving every year to the nines (the invite above is from her). But honestly, an Evite or private Facebook event is an easy way to keep track of numbers. If you do want to do it up though, these printables are really fucking cute.

Step 4: How do we avoid ending up with 16 pumpkin pies?
In the Facebook invite, just add a link to a Google spreadsheet. We separated ours into drinks, sides, main dishes, desserts and "other". We had duplicates of some things, and that was okay because everyone has their own recipes, but it kept things in control and gave a good balance of everything.

Now what?
  • Don't stress too much about things like decor or music, just put all that energy into the food. Once the table is all set up, that IS the best decoration. Plus, everyone has that one friend that will inevitably take over the playlist anyways, so just let them. Then sit back and eat yourself into a gluttonous coma.
  • It varies host-to-host as far as preferences, but I'm a big fan of leaving behind leftovers for the hosts. I love when people do that when I throw parties because then I have something to snack on while I'm cleaning up, and like a week's worth of leftovers because after throwing a party like that, the last thing you want to do is cook. I think its a nice reward for playing host. 
  • Don't forget to put someone in charge of buying cups and forks and stuff. Don't tell Al Gore, but for Friendsgivings, I like using paper plates and cutlery. Most 20 somethings don't have a dishwasher, so it just makes for easier cleanup. Plus, maybe I'm just failing at adulthood (entirely possible) but I am nowhere near having enough place settings for 30 people
  • If you can, for the love of God, have someone make a turkey. The sides and everything are awesome, but this year our hosts made a giant, awesome bird, and it was the best anchor. It was so good I almost cried.

What the fuck do I make?
If you're going as a guest and need an idea of what to bring, here were some of the dishes brought yesterday

Then its time to dig in. Happy Friendsgiving, all.


Don't forget to check out Part II of How to Throw a Friendsgiving!

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  1. A color-coded spreadsheet. A girl after my own heart.

    The pies look killer! And now, off to continue planning the day-of Thanksgiving dinner! Things are getting a bit...involved.

  2. how was that butternut squash mac and cheese? It sounds delicious!

  3. oh good god was it amazing. i think it was one of the first things to go!

  4. you were k i l l i n g me with these pictures last night!!

  5. We did our Friendsgiving last night too, so much food. Your pies look great.

    P.S. I love your haircut!

  6. Love! Ours was Sat and we played men vs women pictionary soo fun!

  7. I want to be your friend because I'm dying to know what bang bang pumpkin pie is! (someone signed up to bring it on the Google spreadsheet)

    1. omgggggg bang bang pie is AMAZING. its a little pie shop that opened in Chicago sometime over the last year up in Logan Square and it is so good that I DIE. DEAD.

  8. that guy with the turkey is CUTE can i have his info?

  9. why don't i understand how to read that spreadsheet :(

    1. haha its separated into 5 categories. For each one, you list who is bringing what from that category! So from L-R, I am bringing Boozy Cider for my Beverage, Shailee brough vodka, etc. Then onto the next category and who is bringing what!


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