With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is the time for Friendsgiving. As much as we love having Thanksgiving with our families, enjoying the most anticipated meal all year with your friends is a blast. If you plan it right, the next two weeks can be filled to the brim with Friendsgivings. We want to help you make that happen!

Here are ten easy steps to make the perfect college Friendsgiving: 

1. Decide the level of Thanksgiving

The best part of Friendsgiving is that it can be whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be a full on Thanksgiving meal. It can just be pumpkin pie and hot cocoa. Or charcuterie boards and a variety of pies. When you are deciding on the level of Thanksgiving your goal is, you should ask yourself these questions: 

- How many people am I planning to invite?

- How much time do we have? (College in November is rough, we know)

- Does everyone have access to a stove or oven?

- Should we plan for store-bought or home-made? 

Knowing these answers ahead of time will help you be realistic and help your guests be prepared.

2. Reach out to your friends or club

A lot of “How to: Friendsgiving” articles suggest creating invitations and sending them out weeks in advance, which may not be plausible for college students. Instead, reach out to some close friends or your club to get their opinion on hosting a Friendsgiving and gauge their interest.

Once you gauged some interest and completed step 3, you can send a simple notes app invitation or text message to invite some friends over for the important day. Another great option is using Canva to create fun invitations. 

3. Pick a time and place

This part may seem obvious but it is extremely important. Once you know the engagement of your friends and guests, you can work together to pick a spot. Hosting a whole Friendsgiving in a dorm room might be difficult, but maybe there’s a spot in the Student Union you love. Or one of your friends has an apartment they would be happy to share. Clarifying the place and time is the key to getting people to come. If they don’t know when or where it is, they aren’t going to show up.

 4. Have everyone pick what dishes (and drinks) they will bring


Photo by Amy Shamblen

One of the most important parts of Friendsgiving is that everyone contributes. One suggestion to ensure everyone brings something is to allow your friends to decide what they would like to bring. If you are worried about having two of the same dish, send out a spreadsheet that everyone fills out what they are bringing. Or if your friend group is less Type A, just have them say it in the group chat. 

Communicating what everyone is planning to bring is important if you want to avoid repeats. If you aren't scared of repeats, good for you! (It's just extra leftovers. Personally, I will never complain about extra stuffing). 

My last tip about dishes and drinks is: don't forget the drinks. Whether you go B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Beverage) or leave someone responsible for bringing the sparkling cider; just don't forget the drinks. Otherwise, everyone will be passing around a Brita. 

5. Buy Thanksgiving plates and napkins 

Doing dishes in college is hard enough. Now I have to wash all of my friends’ dishes too? No. The more simple way is to go to the dollar store and pick out some sturdy Thanksgiving plates. They set the theme for the Friendsgiving, but they also don’t leave you with a mess to clean up. Of course it will always okay to use what you have, but if you are looking for an easy clean-up: go with the paper plates. 

6. Decorate!


Photo by Chris Vasquez

When you go to the dollar store to pick up your fun plates and napkins, grab some fun fall decorations. The dollar store is the perfect place for any broke college student that wants some decorations for any season. They will add to the fall mood of your Friendsgiving party. 

7. Brainstorm entertainment options  

Although food is the centerpiece of every Friendsgiving, the perfect party has a little extra something fun. Some good options for a fun Friendsgiving party include: a mood-shaping Friendsgiving playlist, your favorite Thanksgiving movie (highly suggest "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"), or some fun games for everyone to play. 

8. Plan the lay-out

College apartments are tiny. That’s why it’s so important to plan your layout of the food. Plan ahead if you’re going to go for buffet style or lay everything out. A simple plan allows you to maximize as little space as you may have and prevent foot traffic. 

9. Make sure everyone brings Tupperware

What is the best part of Thanksgiving? Leftovers! Everyone needs to be able to bring their own Thanksgiving feast home. We highly suggest including a B.Y.O.T (Bring Your Own Tupperware) on the invitation. 

10. Enjoy! Have fun!

Once you’ve planned it all out, now it is time to enjoy. Have fun with your friends! That’s what Friendsgiving is all about! But more importantly: enjoy some delicious food!