If you’ve been following this blog for awhile you know that I LOVE THANKSGIVING. Like more than all the other holidays combined. It’s my spirit holiday. But now that I’m in my mid-twenties and 1,400 miles away from my family, I’m at that stage where friends truly become your family. So obviously my new favorite thing in the world is hosting a Friendsgiving at my house, which is basically a Thanksgiving with all my friends turned family! I love it.
Last year I was able to throw an awesome Friendsgiving outside in our Parenthood-esque backyard. This year mother nature had other plans… One of the things I love about LA is that you can pretty much always count on the weather cooperating with you (meaning planning a party months in advance is totally doable). But every now and then we get hit with a random weather attack and this Sunday happened to be one of those days. So thanks to a whole day + night of rainfall, we moved this shindig inside last minute.
Now while my backyard (and daybed) is the perfect place to host 25+ people, our dinning room is not. We had 4 tables come together to make one long giant table. Half of the table was normal height (which meant they could sit in normal chairs) the other half of the table was coffee table height (which meant they all had to sit on the floor). But luckily I had made floor pillows for another party and my friends were great sports about eating on the floor!
Like last year, I made this dinner a potluck and that is probably my biggest tip for throwing a Friendsgiving (or really any party for that matter). When I sent out the Facebook invite I let people volunteer things they wanted to bring and/or make. Then the week of I made a list of things we still needed and assigned them to people! It may feel weird assigning people to bring things, and controlling people is not in my nature. But I read that tip a few years ago and it has been everything. Since I know the people coming pretty well, I know their habits, personalities and time constraints. So I was able to assign people things based on what I thought they could handle. And every last one of them came through. One of my biggest worries in hosting a potluck is that we end up with 12 desserts and no real food, or vice versa! This eliminates the problem. And most of them even thanked me for assigning them something! Also the host should always make the turkey (or buy it at Honeybaked Ham totally ready to go like I did) and the gravy (which I bought but totally forgot to put out…oops!).
Other than that, I kept things as simple as I could. Mainly because I knew we would all be smushed in our house anyway, so the simpler (i.e. less cluttered) the better. I covered our tables in a giant roll of white paper my roommate scored from her office years ago. Sure tablecloths would have been classier but paper made the clean up SO EASY. Y’all can keep the tablecloths, I’m sticking with the easy clean up plan.
I made placemats out of kraft paper from walmart (so cheap, so easy) and just wrote the simple message, “I am thankful for…” on them and scattered a few sharpies around the room. I had the most fun reading them as I was cleaning up and trying to guess who was thankful for each thing!
I have always loved the idea of having a little something to send guests home with at the end of the night, but I can never think of the right thing! It can be hard to plan when you don’t have an exact number of people (and when you’ve told people they are welcome to bring friends) plus I don’t want it to be something people take with a smile and throw away the next day. Aaaand I don’t want to spend a ton of money on favors because inevitably some people will take it with a smile and throw it away the next day 😉 . So when the idea of mini succulents popped into my head I knew I had a winner. Saturday morning I went downtown to my favorite place (the LA flower market) and got $1 mini succulents and 69c terracotta pots. Hands down these are the easiest (and cheapest) favors while also being beautiful and keep-worthy that I could have possibly done. Plus we have some left over which adds so much to our house!
I always try and make a photobooth (wall) at all my parties, some have gone over like gang busters! Others people have not even realized was a photobooth haha! Hey, ya win some ya lose some. But I got to give a shout out to my friends for taking pictures at this years photo wall even though the table/chairs made it pretty darn difficult to do! I also used the same sign I made last year but changed the leaves up a bit. Love that I still get use out of a DIY I made last year!
And there you have it folks, another successful Friendsgiving in the books. Excited to go home and have actual Thanksgiving with the fam. But who doesn’t like having mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie twice in one week?! Happy Thanksgiving friends!!