How to host Friendsgiving at home: Decorations, invitations and more

Emilee Geist

Marah Eakin  |  Reviewed — Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Friendsgiving is exactly what the name implies: a Thanksgiving meal for your friends. Typically held before Thanksgiving Day, the trendy millennial-started tradition is a great way to celebrate friendship and […]

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Friendsgiving is exactly what the name implies: a Thanksgiving meal for your friends. Typically held before Thanksgiving Day, the trendy millennial-started tradition is a great way to celebrate friendship and conviviality with your chosen family, whether it’s a reason to catch up with your college buddies or a meal shared with coworkers.

If you’re planning a Friendsgiving meal this year, there’s no need to stress. To help you prepare, we’ve rounded up everything you’ll need to host the perfect Friendsgiving at home, including pretty invitations, festive decor and the best roasting pan.

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1. Friendsgiving invitations

Nail down your guest list by sending out a pretty invitation.

If you’re going to throw a Friendsgiving, you’re going to want to have actual friends there. You could send out an informal text or email with all the info, but there is something a little festive about an actual paper invitation. There are a bunch of custom Friendsgiving invites online, from ones you can order pre-made to ones that you can download instantly as a template and print yourself. Pick your favorite, pop in the details and then hit the mailbox. 

2. Friendsgiving decorations

Set the scene with festive Friendsgiving decor.

In 2021, there’s at least an element of Thanksgiving—and certainly Friendsgiving—that’s about the beauty of the holiday photo you’ll inevitably post on Instagram. Whether it’s a group photo with your closest friends or a pic of the bounty of food on your plate, you’re going to want that photo to shine. If you’re hosting Friendsgiving, a number of different makers are now selling decorations specifically for the holiday, whether it’s a themed balloon garland or burlap bunting to commemorate the day. You can even decorate outdoors with a few strands of light-up leaves.

3. A tablescape

Your Friendsgiving table setting is almost as important as the food.

Now that you’ve got the walls covered—perhaps literally—you’re going to want to make sure your table is just as stunning. Friendsgiving is a great excuse to break out the tablecloth you never use, some new napkins and maybe even some fun table accessories like fancy flatware and a slew of votives. How you’ll want your table to look will depend on your vibe, of course, whether you want an elegant damask tablecloth or a farmhouse-style linen version. Pick up the colors of the season with a set of buffalo plaid cloth napkins, and then give your table even more pizazz with decorative votive holders.

4. Dinnerware

Disposable plates, napkins and cups are great for a Friendsgiving feast.

Just like your tablescape, how you select your dinnerware—plates, silverware, glasses and so on—depends on how much work you want to put into the whole affair. If doing a ton of dishes is your worst nightmare, that’s cool. There are a ton of solid disposable Friendsgiving-friendly options out there. We like these leaf-strewn Friendsgiving-themed plates or, if you’re tapping a keg or just cracking open some reasonably priced vino, these fun plastic cups.

5. A roasting pan

This Viking roasting pan will cook up the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Friendsgiving hinges on the advance planning of whoever’s manning the kitchen. What needs to be in the oven when and at what temperature? What can you make ahead of time, and what needs to be defrosted? Though Friendsgivings are often potlucks, which can take some of the burden off the host, you’ll probably be expected to make a main course—a turkey, perhaps—and maybe some sides. Make sure you have what you need. 

Our pick for the best roasting pan on the market is the Viking stainless steel roasting pan, which has a non-stick rack. According to our experts, “it’s big and sturdy enough to handle a 20-pound turkey and it’s capable of cooking anything you throw at it. Since it also happened to be the easiest to clean, even after we let the chicken pan drippings cake-on overnight, this pan solidly earned our pick as Best Overall.” Sold!

Get the Viking 3-Ply Roasting Pan from Amazon for $155.80

6. Miscellaneous pots and pans

You'll need extra pots and pans for whipping up all the side dishes.

Friendsgiving is the perfect excuse to finally upgrade your pots and pans. There’s something nice about having a full set of matching cookware, and it could even impress your guests who arrive early. Our pick for the best cookware set is the HexClad Hybrid Cookware Chef’s Package, which our experts said is the best of both worlds: durable stainless steel with a nonstick finish. If HexClad’s package isn’t in your budget, the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro stainless steel set was our best value find, with almost as much range, if not as much style. 

7. A Dutch oven

A quality Staub Dutch oven is sure to come in handy.

Friendsgiving is also a great time to break out that heavy-duty cookware you’ve been saving for special occasions, like a classic Dutch oven. Use it to braise some short ribs or for macaroni and cheese that starts on the stove before getting popped in the oven for a crunchy crust. Reviewed’s experts are big fans of Staub, from its classic Dutch oven to its pumpkin-shaped pan. If you want a more beginner Dutch oven, the Lodge cast iron version was our experts’ best value pick. It comes in a variety of fun colors and is as decorative as it is useful. 

8. A digital thermometer

A thermometer will prevent you from overcooking—or undercooking—your bird.

If you’re making a turkey or any sort of meat, we recommend picking up a quality digital food thermometer, just to make sure you’ve cooked everything to the proper temperature. Our experts love ThermoWorks’ ChefAlarm, which they call “a no-brainer choice” for the best probe thermometer. If you’re more comfortable with a digital thermometer, the Thermopop is our number one choice, thanks to its great features and design.

9. Gourmet treats you don’t have to make yourself

There are a lot of gourmet treats you can order online for your Friendsgiving feast.

Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do all the hard lifting, whether we’re talking about a friend who brings the wine or a pie you get from a neighborhood bakery. You can also shop a lot of delicious gourmet goodies online, like savory buttermilk biscuits you can pop in a bread basket on the table or delectable chocolate mousse cheesecake from Brooklyn’s famed Junior’s restaurant. You can even pick up some Friendsgiving-specific cupcakes from the ever-popular Baked By Melissa for dessert.

10. Party favors

Your guests will appreciate these thoughtful party favors.

It’s always nice to send your friends home with something that’s neither a hangover nor a mountain of cold stuffing. Friendsgiving-themed candles make nice party favors for after dinner to remind your guests of all the fun they had. Or snag some punny Friendsgiving can koozies that everyone can use during the event and then take home.

11. A Friendsgiving cookbook

You'll find everything you need for the perfect Friendsgiving inside this cookbook.

Should you need some recipe ideas or just help with hosting, Emily Stephenson’s Friendsgiving Handbook is a game-changer. It’s a complete guide to the holiday, with recipes for everything from roasted turkey to garlic-miso gravy. You’ll also find advice on planning ahead, tips for decorating your table and even suggestions for how to manage your guests. Go forth and be gracious.

Get the Friendsgiving Handbook from Amazon for $19.95

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