Hi, I’m Kate, and I’m a member of the marketing team here!
First of all, happy holidays everyone! At MyNewPlace, we really like celebrating. While there are still some Halloween decorations sprinkled around, we’re now totally occupied planning our potluck turkey lunch for next week. I’m really excited about this. My family is from Massachusetts, so Thanksgiving is always our biiiig holiday; sure, we love Christmas and Easter and July 4, but Thanksgiving is when we get 20-30 people around the table and even the West Coasters fly back.
This year, I’ll be one of the few family members who won’t make it back to New England to see my grandmother, heckle my cousins, and critique my brother’s facial hair. However, I don’t think that’s any reason not to go all out, so I decided to plan Friendsgiving. If you’re in the same boat, I’ll tell you what I’m planning and share some of the tips I’ve found. If you have any others, please, PLEASE let me know, either here or on Facebook. I need all the help I can get.
I started planning to have friends over for the big meal when I realized how many people weren’t going to make it home, so my first five or six invitations were verbal. Soon, though, any holiday “orphans” started calling for an invitation. I’m really lucky to have a big kitchen, a dining room, and a living room in my apartment, so I’ve been taking “the more, the merrier” approach. However, I’m realizing that I only have so many dining room chairs, so this may have been a mistake! In order to keep track of everyone and how much turkey I need to buy, I created a Facebook event.
Okay, so there’s a little pressure here—Thanksgiving is allll about the food. The most lifesaving advice I can give is to get your friends involved. When I mentioned that I’m not much of a chef, everyone volunteered to help. I’ve been really surprised how many people know how to cook a turkey! (And, if your friends don’t, I’ve gotten three tips so far: (1) If you have a lot of people, get two smaller turkeys instead of one bigger one (2) Allot a pound of turkey per person (3) Order in advance!) Another bonus of a potluck-style dinner is that everyone will bring family specialties: my friend from New Orleans is making crab stuffing and my friend from Vermont is making an apple pie with cheddar crust! In order to make sure we have some variety, I created a Google Doc sign-up sheet and shared it with everyone.
As with food, I’ve found that most people have family traditions around what they want to drink. I will probably buy a few bottles of inexpensive wine for the meal itself (another tip: allot half a bottle per person), but I’m mostly asking my friends to bring what they want to drink. I’m assuming that the early crew will bring mimosas, football fans will bring beer, and the after-dinner crowd will bring bourbon.
Set-up and Decorations
Fortunately, Thanksgiving is one of the few big holidays where there isn’t a ton of décor to go along with it. (If you do have some cool turkeys and such, I love this concept of creating a Thanksgiving box and keeping it out of the way.) I’m focusing on the basics: chairs and tables, tablecloths, placemats, and candles. I probably won’t have enough room for everyone at the dining room table, but I’m excited to create satellite “kids’ tables” in the kitchen. This weekend, I’m planning to get placemats, tablecloths, candles, and candlesticks at either a flea market or a dollar store. Any suggestions?!
The biggest draw of Friendsgiving is that you can do whatever you want. Plus, no one is stuck with a ton of cooking, so everyone has some time for fun. I’m planning to show the football game in the afternoon while also having some craft options for those who aren’t sports fans. I’m a board game fiend, so I’ll lay out a few of my favorites after dinner. I’ve found that Apples to Apples and Pictionary are really good for larger groups. What about you? What do you love that you can turn into a new holiday tradition?