How to Host a Friendsgiving in College

Sarah Reese
May 4, 2021

Before you pack your bags and head home for Thanksgiving/Winter break, a Friendsgiving is in order! What better way to celebrate friends (and food) than with this cherished unofficial holiday? Whether it’s just another excuse to party or you are trying to impress your friends with your cooking and/or baking skills… Friendsgiving is a must, and we are here for it! So get comfy, take out your phone and jot this down. Here are our top tips to host a Friendsgiving that will be hard to beat, until next year of course:

1. Start that group chat!

Ok, odds are if you are reading this, you’re heavily invested in hosting a Friendsgiving, so congrats! You are now pronounced the host(ess) with the most(ess). Your job as the host is to coordinate everyone you want to invite together, secure a date on the calendar, and then make it ridiculously easy for them to not forget. Which leads me into number…

2. Google Drive is your friend

Alright, this one is easy. Use a Google document to help you keep track of who is coming or not, and make sure to leave a spot for guests to share what they plan on bringing. No one can say you never asked them to contribute! The best part of Friendsgiving is there is no pressure on one person to buy and make all the food: a potluck is the way to go. A great way to try some new traditions you may have never heard of!

3. RULE: No pre-made food

Yup, you heard it. You’re stuck eating on-the-go pre-made food all of the time. When do you ever eat a home-cooked meal? That’s right, at home. So why not show off your cooking skills or put them to the test. Get down and dirty in the community dorm kitchen, and put all those hours you spent watching Tasty videos to good use. Unless the store-bought pie is world famous… it’s a no from me, dawg.

4. Declare a theme for the day

Since Friendsgiving is yours for the making, the formal Thanksgiving rules can be broken! Suggest some ideas amongst your friends and then go with whatever has been voted on the most. Or if you’re type A, just pick yourself and then order everyone to participate (hint: much easier option). Just to name a few ideas: Pajamas, ugly sweaters, ‘dress like a pilgrim,’ Gatsby Thanksgiving, all hail the 80’s.

5. Appoint someone to make the playlist/DJ

We all have that one friend who is obsessed with music, so why not put them to good use? In fact, no Friendsgiving (or any college party for that matter) is complete without a solid playlist. We know Spotify has pre-made playlists, but sometimes you want a mix of all different types of things, and just holiday music can get pretty lame. So rally the troops, appoint a DJ, and make sure to critique their music choices. Make sure you have a good/reliable speaker charged up and ready to go. This one is my favorite! 

6. Get a roll of brown wrapping paper and some Sharpies

This is a great one to make a tradition for your Friendsgiving celebration. Buy a roll of brown wrapping paper and get some markers. Use the roll of brown wrapping paper as a tablecloth on all of your tables, then set a marker down for each couple of people. We suggest one marker per two people so that no one has to wait too long to start writing. These markers are $5 for 12 on Amazon! Don't forget: Saving money is a year-round sport. Then follow these steps:
  • Pre-write:
    • “I’m thankful for _____”
    • “My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is_____”
  • Encourage people to draw or write whatever they want
  • Set up grids to play tic-tac-toe
  • Give everyone the format to write a Haiku then share them around the table.
    • The traditional format for a haiku is 3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, respectively
This is a really fun way to share around the table and make dinner more fun. And you’re sure to get a few laughs from some of the Haikus that are made.

7. Celebrate what makes you happy with some bonus carbs

For another activity, buy a few tubes of Pillsbury crescent roll dough. When everyone walks in, have them write down something they’re really happy about. Lay those pieces of paper on top of your crescent roll dough before you bake it, roll them up and bake them just before you’re about to eat. Pass them around, and everyone can go around and read the one they got out loud. Try and guess who wrote it!

8. College party 101: Start a drinking game

Get out the cards, it’s time for a drinking game (with a little spin, this is Friendsgiving after all). Something my family plays at Thanksgiving as a tradition is Cards Against Humanity (We finally graduated from Apples to Apples and my Grandma had something to say about that). Here’s a couple of rules to turn this (almost) family-friendly card game into a drinking game: Bonus points if you get the College expansion pack; it’s only $7 and hysterical Rules:
  • 1st place: Make a player chug ½ their drink
  • 2nd place: Make a player chug ¼ their drink
  • Everyone else has to take an additional sip on top of what they received from the 1st and 2nd place winners

9. Set up a photobooth spot

Head to the party store and pick up some fun photo booth props, or you can order some here. Then set up a spot in your dorm/apartment where you can take photos. This can be as easy as hanging up strings of leaves on the same brown paper you bought for the tablecloth. Simply tape up the paper big enough to cover a section of the wall, and then string the leaves over that. Then set up some form of camera on a tripod. The tripod is essential if you want to take a group photo, which I highly suggest. (Hint: Ask around, someone is bound to have a tripod, hello photography majors in your friend group!)

10. Don’t tell anyone in your family that Friendsgiving is way more fun than Thanksgiving

To be honest, what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Do all these things right and you’re bound to have a successful Friendsgiving san the family drama - or boredom! If any friends cause drama, the good news is they aren’t family - so next time they won’t get the invite. But that’s unlikely to happen because Friendsgiving is a time to eat good food, drink good drinks, and share the love with the people you spend every day with. Family depends on how you define it after all! Happy Holidays!