So that at the end, you still love your friends.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to cook. There is just something about turning a bunch of random ingredients into a delicious dish that I find really cool. So, when it came time for Friendsgiving last year, my friends and I agreed that it was natural for me to take on the role as host. I couldn’t have been more excited. My first Friendsgiving and I was the host. Go me! However, I quickly learned that hosting is a tough job — with little oven space and a to-do list that kept getting longer — I became what some would call a “little” overwhelmed.

Nonetheless, my friends left with full bellies and big smiles. I considered it a success. What did I walk away with? Some great lessons how to host the perfect Friendsgiving and remain sane (along with some great memories, of course). Here are my Friendsgiving tips and tricks.

Turkey

The host is in charge of turkey and gravy, and nothing else

Since taking an entire cooked turkey on the subway is just as silly as it sounds, it is up to the host to take care of “The Bird” (and since gravy requires turkey that is on you, too). However, handling the turkey doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. I recommend going with a turkey breast roast — it has both white and dark meat, but no bones. That means less dirty work for you, plus the ability to please everybody — score. 

Since you’re handling the turkey, you should delegate all of the other side dishes, desserts, and drinks to your guests. I recommend putting a list together before inviting everyone; that way when people ask what they can bring, you’re ready. Make sure you have all of the Friendsgiving staples like mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and wine (lots of wine) covered. Pro Tip: always make sure you assign the appetizers to the person you can count on to show up on time.

Candles

Your table doesn’t have to look like it was set by a lifestyle blogger

Although Pinterest is full of impeccable Thanksgiving table settings with crystal stemware and handwritten place cards, Friendsgiving can be a bit more casual. Let the focus be on the laughs and the dishes, so feel free to cut the cleaning needs short by using disposable plates and silverware (you can even get the compostable kind to be more environmentally friendly). To keep things festive, I like to set my table using a fall-colored table cloth, a few candles and some gold-wrapped peanut butter cups to add some fun, yet simple decorative flare.

Food storage bags

Don’t forget food storage containers and games

Before the meal has even begun, it is really hard to dedicate time to prepping for what happens after the meal. However, that is just as important! Make sure you remember to purchase food storage bags or containers so friends can take home leftovers. That way they can remember all of the fun they had at Friendsgiving all week long and you aren’t left stranded with three gallons of mashed potatoes (although there are worse things). Also, make sure to pick up some games that you and your friends can play once the wine starts flowing. I recommend a deck of cards and my favorite board game, Ticket to Ride.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Above all, Friendsgiving is about celebrating the holidays with the people you love and those who love you! So regardless of how the meal turns out or how the table looks, cut yourself some slack and don’t stress out too much. The only thing that really matters is that everyone leaves with a full heart.

To my fellow hosts out there, what are your tips for hosting the perfect Friendsgiving?

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