It may not always happen on Thanksgiving Day, but more and more often, Friendsgiving is happening. The concept has been in existence for about 10 years, according to Merriam-Webster. In that short time, it's evolved from an alternative celebration to a second celebration. What started as a meal where friends gathered on Thanksgiving — maybe because they didn't have family nearby or maybe because they didn't want to be with their family — is now often its own celebration.
Whether it's on the fourth Thursday of November or another day, the idea of Friendsgiving is simple: gather with your friends for one big, thankful feast. Since it's such a recent concept, the holiday isn't steeped in tradition like Thanksgiving. There doesn't have to be turkey or lasagna (but there certainly can be). It can be formal or informal, sit-down or buffet, pot luck or family-style. You can serve whatever kind of food you want. You can create your entire feast around appetizers and desserts, and no one can say, "That's not what you're supposed to eat on Friendsgiving."
There are no rules, but there are plenty of ideas. Here are some things to consider as you plan your Friendsgiving to make the day go more smoothly.
1. Plan music ahead. You can make a playlist from your personal music collection or use already curated lists from a streaming service. Spotify users have made several playlists for the occasion, including this FRIENDSgiving playlist that has 339 songs and 19 hours 42 minutes of music from the '60s to today with many different genres. (Just be prepared for a sing-a-long when Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" comes on.) Or, ask everyone to bring their favorite vinyl and take turns sharing your music.
2. Make use of your slow cooker. This is a great idea for any holiday. Slow cookers help you make dishes ahead and leave space in the oven for other foods. You can cook traditional Thanksgiving foods in the slow cooker such as the turkey and mashed potatoes or you can slow cook a crock full of caramelized onions to use in appetizers such as onion dip or Caramelized Onion Tart with Apples.
3. Drink what you like. You can read all sorts of pairing advice for traditional Thanksgiving foods or articles that talk about the perfect wines and beers for Friendsgiving. Feel free to ignore it all and drink what you like. However, if you're looking for one drink that will go with almost everything just to be safe, you can't go wrong with a dry sparkling wine — but only if you like dry sparkling wine.
4. Offer non-alcoholic choices. Soda, water and iced tea are common non-alcoholic choices, but you can take it up a notch by offering quality non-alcoholic cocktails in cocktail glasses. Abstaining friends will appreciate the special attention paid to their choices.
5. Plan some after-feast activities. This is one feast that no one will want to eat and run from; friends stick around. But no one will want to just sit there and stare at each other, either. Dig out the board games and have them where they can be seen in case anyone wants to start a rousing game of Life. Rent a karaoke machine. Or, if everyone wants to just chill and digest dinner, have a few carefully chosen holiday movies ready to go like "Elf," "Christmas Vacation," or the ultimate holiday classic "Die Hard."