A Basic Mom’s Guide to Friendsgiving


For the past six years, we’ve always joined our friends in what quickly became an annual tradition of “Friendsgiving.” I mean, could there be a better reason to get together with friends to eat, drink, and be thankful? Or maybe it all started because my brother-in-law wanted to cook a turkey…

Either way, “Friendsgiving” has gained in popularity over the years. These days, my Pinterest feed is bombarded with ideas for place cards made from mini pumpkins and trendy butcher paper table runners. Now, I’m totally a wannabe-Pinterest-mom but even I smirk at the idea that one needs to provide cute DIY “doggie bags” for people to take home leftovers in. I mean, mama ain’t got time for that! You can pick from my assortment of empty cool whip and butter containers. #sorrynotsorry

Enter, the Basic Mom’s Guide to Friendsgiving. Here are five tips to help keep things stress-free, so you can enjoy the evening:

Set a date

Over the years we’ve discovered that September through December fills up fast. There’s so much to do: visiting with out-of-town family, school parties, cookie parties, and don’t forget wrapping all those presents! It’s exhausting just thinking about it all. Come to terms with the fact that you’ll never find a date that works for everyone. For that reason, it’s best to go with majority rules. Set the date early and stick to it. Talk it over with your friends and be sure to set next year’s date this year! 

In the spirit of the basic mom, forego the trendy invitations. We’re pretty basic, so we keep it to e-mail and group text messages. Again, this is supposed to be stress-free. 

Make it a pot-luck

Typically the host supplies the main course. So unless you’re eager to don a chef’s apron and carve a turkey, the basic mom would consider ordering a pre-made bird from a local grocery store. This helps those who may be a bit challenged in the kitchen, not to mention it leaves more time to enjoy the company around you. 

As for the rest of the menu, leave that up to your friends. Everyone should bring a dish to pass (and hopefully a bottle of wine or two!). You’ll find that folks tend to bring their favorite dish, and it becomes a tradition. My husband’s favorite Thanksgiving tradition is his having his aunt’s banana cream pie, so for Friendsgiving each year, we make her recipe and bring a pie to the party. On the flip side, you might get folks who want to try out a new recipe before their own family gathering. Each year I attempt to make a delicious-looking appetizer from Pinterest (bacon-wrapped scallops, anyone?) as our second party dish. Either way, basic moms don’t worry about this part of the menu; you get what you get!


Skip the fancy table setting. You can still set a pretty table, but there’s no need to pull out the china. Especially if children will be in attendance! Keep it simple. You can get some nice looking disposable plates from Costco (bonus – fewer dishes at the end of the night!). Though you may want to stick with actual flatware, no one wants to cut a turkey with a plastic knife. Pull out that tablecloth you have stuffed in a closet (and if you don’t have one, borrow one from a friend.) Forego the place cards and let people sit wherever they like. 

This is not about keeping up with the Joneses. Your friends don’t expect you to go buy a bunch of Pottery Barn holiday-themed place settings, just so that they can post a cute photo to Instagram with some catchy hashtag. Basic moms keep it simple!

Don’t forget the kiddos

Unless you’re planning to make this an adult-only affair, make sure you have some fun activities to keep the kids contained, er…I mean entertained. Each year our friends bring over gingerbread houses made out of cardboard and piles of candy from the bulk food store. After dinner, all the kids gather around the table to slather on some frosting and go to town making their creations. It has become the one activity we all look forward to each year, adults included!

Go easy on yourself

Remember these are your friends. The people that you can laugh at yourself with. If it’s not perfect, don’t sweat it. So what if the banana cream pie was soupy? Don’t fret. It will give you something to laugh about at next year’s Friendsgiving (and trust me, we do laugh about this every year.) Have a glass of wine and go easy on yourself. Remember, it’s about celebrating friendship and that includes the good, the bad, and the overcooked.

Friendsgiving should be the night you look forward to, not stress over. Take a moment to appreciate the friendships you have while sharing a laugh or two. You know what they say, “Friends are the family you choose.” And if you want to up your level of basic-ness, have your sister-in-law host it, so all you have to do is show up! *wink*

Share your tips for a Friendsgiving you won’t stress about!


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