Friendsgiving decorations at a Friendsgiving party

Tips & Guides

How to Throw a Friendsgiving Party in Your Apartment

By Bri Hand

In recent years, throwing a Friendsgiving celebration has become an increasingly popular way to get together with your closest friends and celebrate a holiday that has been traditionally reserved for family. After all, who doesn’t love another excuse to get together with loved ones, dine on some fantastic food, and drink some wine?

And, the best thing about Friendsgiving parties is that you don’t need to be a culinary genius or have a large living space in order to pull it off. In fact, throwing a Friendsgiving party in your apartment is easier than you think! 

From creating invitations to making Thanksgiving dinner to decorating your apartment, use these tips to put together the event of a lifetime: 

When is Friendsgiving 2021?

If you’re wondering when the right time to throw a Friendsgiving party is, the good news is that you can be very flexible. Thanksgiving is being celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 25 this year, which means you can have your party the prior weekend, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, or even the Friday after the holiday (this last option is a great way to swap and get rid of leftovers!).

If you have a guest list in mind for your party, you can also text them to get their opinion on potential dates. Considering the fact that many people wind up traveling for this holiday, it might be easier to give a bit of a buffer between Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving to avoid competing with any travel plans your friends may have.

Friendsgiving invitation ideas

One common theme you’ll see with Friendsgiving parties is that your approach can be as relaxed or fancy as you want it to be—and the same goes for your invitations. Extending an invitation to your party can be as simple as shooting off a group text filled with turkey emojis, or you can go old-school with proper paper invitations. 

Etsy has a ton of cards and templates to choose from, or you can find Friendsgiving ideas on Pinterest to make your own! Want something in the middle (or just don’t know your friends’ home addresses by heart)? Opt for a virtual party invitation via Paperless Post

Beyond classic elements like the date, time, and location of your event, you should also include how you’re planning on approaching your menu. Are you going to cook everything yourself as the party host, or opt for a potluck option? This will help set expectations with your guests so they won’t be scrambling to cobble together a dish at the last minute (though let’s be honest, that will probably happen anyway). 

Friendsgiving recipes and food ideas

When it comes to throwing a Friendsgiving party, planning ahead is key, especially if you’re attempting to pull together a full Friendsgiving menu yourself. Some people choose to have a potluck event so that the burden of cooking is spread among the group—plus, it’s fun to share your recipes with friends. 

This can be a good option if you’re working with a smaller kitchen, but don’t feel like cooking everything yourself is impossible in an apartment space. You just need to get creative. In the end, your approach is totally up to you—just make sure your friends know what they’re responsible for bringing so you don’t end up with six separate turkeys and nothing else! 

Thanksgiving meals are typically broken down into three buckets—appetizers, your main meal, and dessert—though some people may forgo the appetizer stage to save a bit of room for dinner. If you do want to include appetizers, we recommend setting up a cute, fall-themed charcuterie board, or having crackers and dip available. Try this Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip for a festive fix!

For your main meal, common Thanksgiving recipes include: 

  • Turkey
  • Gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes / sweet potato casserole / sweet potato pie
  • Stuffing
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green bean casserole
  • Butternut squash
  • Dinner rolls or cornbread

Now, if this is your first time cooking a Friendsgiving dinner, don’t panic! This may seem like you’re signing up for a hectic morning from hell in a chaotic kitchen, but you can make this process far easier on yourself by planning ahead. 

Try making your mashed potatoes the night before, then warming them up in a crockpot on the side while you reserve your main oven for your turkey. This can also work for your stuffing if you have a couple of crockpots on hand. You can also warm up your dinner rolls or bread in a toaster oven to save on space.

You should also have a plan in place for defrosting and cooking your turkey—this can take longer than you think, and the last thing you want is to replicate that episode of “New Girl” where they try defrosting their turkey in their dryer. Not a good look. 

Pie is the name of the game when it comes to Thanksgiving desserts. Opt for a pumpkin pie, apple pie, or some other type of pie with whipped cream, and you can’t go wrong (unless you’re my partner, who forgot to put sugar in our pumpkin pie last year. Boy, that did not taste good.). 

If you’re looking for more food ideas and Thanksgiving recipes, Pinterest is a fantastic resource.

Dishes and decor ideas

Space can get taken up easily when you’re living in an apartment, so if you don’t necessarily have enough dishes for each guest, no worries! You can find some adorable Thanksgiving-themed paper plates online (especially on Etsy), or just opt to mix and match—it’s a casual party, nobody’s judging! If you want to get fancy with your cutlery, plastic silverware can come in silver and gold sheens. Another trending idea is to provide your guests with orange and gold paper straws for their drinks.

Now comes the fun part—decorations! You’ll definitely want to spruce up your table with some fun party decor, whether you choose a centerpiece, runner, or placemats to give your place a festive twist. Other simple ideas for decor include a funny Thanksgiving banner, a turkey piñata, or festive cake toppers. We love this adorable Thanksgiving banner on Etsy! 

Small decorations can also have a big impact. Invest in a couple of tiny tea candles to sprinkle throughout your apartment, or buy some garlands of fake fall-colored leaves to decorate your doorways. There are a ton of inexpensive ideas online to choose from so you don’t have to break the bank with this party.

Want some decoration ideas that will get your guests in on the fun? You can find Friendsgiving-themed photo booth props on Amazon, along with Friendsgiving bingo games, selfie scavenger hunt games, or pin-the-hat-on-the-turkey games.

If you don’t want to go all out on the Thanksgiving puns for your decor, that’s okay—you can always pick another party theme for your event. Friendsgiving is supposed to be fun and casual. Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, you can stick with a traditional Thanksgiving, but spruce it up with a nature, floral, or fruit theme. Or, go nontraditional with a breakfast theme or picnic theme.

If you don’t want to spend money on party decorations you’ll use the following year, you can get creative with perishable DIY decorations. Grab some real pumpkins, cut up some fruit, or bunch up some sticks from outdoors. These are all inexpensive decor you can set up that can be discarded after use.

How to host a Friendsgiving in your apartment

When it comes to actually setting up your Friendsgiving in your apartment, be sure to use all your space. You don’t have to have a huge dining room table to host a dinner party. Spread out your food placement and have “stations” around your home where guests can grab food and not cause a line. This also makes it more casual when you have a lot of people and not a ton of space.

Make the most of your seating, too—you can easily decorate your coffee table or put blankets on the floor to designate an “eating zone.”

Overall, just try to have fun! After last year’s slew of virtual Friendsgiving events, any in-person festivity will be greatly appreciated—and even Friendsgiving mishaps can turn into funny stories down the line! 

If you want to host a Friendsgiving but are in the market for a new apartment space, check out Landing, whose apartments include everything you need to get an event off the ground, from dishes to dining areas to seating. Learn more about Landing’s network of furnished apartments.

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Bri Hand published on November 8, 2021