As the leaves continue to change color and the air gets colder, talks of Thanksgiving plans begin. Personally, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of the year. It means I get to see my family, get cozy in my favorite sweaters, enjoy the fall weather, and eat the best, most filling food. While I love spending time with my family, this year is one of the first years I get to have a true Friendsgiving without taking food from the cafeteria in a to-go box to bring or without the use of Zoom!

I am going to walk you through The Ultimate Guide to Friendsgiving, and hopefully, you can find the time to tell your friends how much you appreciate them! While some may dread Thanksgiving each year with family reunions and stress about the arrangements, Friendsgiving is the best alternative: Thanksgiving with your closest friends! Choose your own menu, venue, and guests to have a night full of laughs with your closest friends!

The Menu

Now, what matters most for Friendsgiving is that everyone has a great time and enjoys the food. Gather your group in advance and ask what everyone’s top pick of food, so that there is something at the table for everyone to enjoy! Also, confirm if anyone has any allergies or dietary restrictions.

For my Friendsgiving menu, we wanted to have vegetarian and gluten-free options for our group in particular. Now that you have a list of dishes, create a spreadsheet, and let people choose what they want to make and bring in potluck style. In order to make sure there is enough food for everyone, have everyone bring 1-2 dishes depending on your crowd size!

For our Friendsgiving of seven people we had decided on the following menu:

The Vegetables:

String Beans

The Carbs:

Focaccia Bread

Mac and Cheese


Mashed Potatoes

The Proteins:

Spiced Chickpeas 


The Desserts:

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Crisp


Apple Cider

Fall Themed Margaritas

Hot Chocolate

You may be thinking, Anabel, where’s the turkey? Mashed potatoes? Hey, remember, we’re still in college, with midterms still happening, limited time and budgets, and tiny kitchens, we have to be realistic about what we are going to be able to make.

In terms of prepping your recipes and dishes to bring, give yourself enough time to prepare. For example, I knew I needed to prepare the bread the night before, and that I would bake it the next morning. Make sure you communicate with your friends/roommates about when you are using the oven or stove so you don’t burn anyone else’s dishes!


One of the most challenging parts of Friendsgiving is getting everyone on board and committing to the plan. Set a budget! In order to make everyone feel comfortable, agree upon a budget. Look online at your local supermarket to see when items you want are on sale and plan ahead. It also helps to keep a Google Sheets spreadsheet so you have some extra accountability. 

Having a hard time, finding a time for all of you to meet? Create your own When2Meet to find a time that works for everyone!

The Decorations

In addition to all of this amazing food, it is really important to have the right environment! I highly recommend going onto Spotify and using one of their Friendsgiving playlists. Wear your cozy sweaters, maybe even Thanksgiving-themed, and bring over your favorite board games!

For us, that means Anomia, the best game for a medium-sized group and an awesome way to keep everyone engaged. If you don’t have a game to bring, suggest Scattergories, which is super easy to find online! Lastly, if you finish the meal and are feeling slumped, pick a movie and watch together — I would have to recommend a classic Pixar or Disney movie to match the vibes (a personal favorite is Ratatouille!)

The People

So, what happens if maybe your friends are far away, or maybe you do not have a group of friends to do Friendsgiving with right now? Reach out to people! This is the time of year where everyone is craving some comfort and support, so take a leap of faith and be that person that can set it up! Even if it means going to the dining hall and eating together with a big group of friends.

Friendsgiving (and ultimately Thanksgiving) to me is about being with others and just appreciating how absurd and wonderful life can be, but yet I can rely on the people sitting around me at that moment to give me a hug when I need it most. I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and get some really good food.

Courtesy of NBC.

Don't forget to follow CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 and have an amazing time! Be sure to tag us on Instagram and TikTok with your favorite Friendsgiving moments!