Thanksgiving is a great way to connect with friends and family, share a meal and enjoy each other’s company. But it can get quite pricey. If you’re planning on holding a friends-only get-together this year, here are some Friendsgiving party ideas to keep the budget low.
Typically I spend Thanksgiving out of town with my family out, but this year I’m sticking it out at home to give myself some roommate-free time and knock out the first few episodes for season three of The Lady Dicks Podcast which launches on October 31.
Since I’m staying at home and I’ll have a few of my besties around over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I thought I’d hold a little Friendsgiving get-together. But I’m on a limited budget, so I decided to do it in a budget-friendly way.
If you’re in a similar boat and you want to celebrate with friends, but don’t have a huge wad of cash to help make that happen then these budget-friendly Friendsgiving party ideas might help you out!
What is Friendsgiving?
First thing’s first, for those of you wondering, what is Friendsgiving? It’s exactly what it sounds like—a Thanksgiving celebration that’s spent with your friends instead of family members.
People familiar with the 90s sitcom Friends will likely be familiar with the concept, as most people credit it with starting the tradition (though the jury’s still out on that). But it’s an awesome celebration that’s popular, especially with young adults, that are not able to get-together with family members over the holiday (or can’t).
It’s basically a dinner party set over the Thanksgiving weekend where you invite your friends for some food and fun!
Budget-friendly Friendsgiving food ideas
As with any other kind of dinner party you host, Friendsgiving can get pricey. Especially if you’re going to go all-out in the food department. You know the drill—turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing. But, you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to do Friendsgiving on a budget, here’s how you can do it:
Keep the invite list small
When it comes to event planning, especially when food is involved, more people means more money. Even adding one person means adding an entire meal (a bit of everything you’re serving), and as a host, you don’t want to run out of food!
If you’re planning on going with the traditional Thanksgiving dish, turkey, Leigh Valley Live suggests having a 12 lbs turkey for eight people, 15 lbs for 10, 18 lbs for 12… and the list just goes up from there. So keep it small.
The other great thing about keeping the guest list small is that not only can you work with a smaller turkey, you can also cut out some of the side dishes. If you only have five people attending your Friendsgiving, you don’t need a HUGE turkey, plus all of the fixins’ (seriously, ditch the brussel sprouts).
Purchasing a smaller turkey and cutting things off the menu will keep your costs down AND reduce your cooking time!
Traditional Friendsgiving food can be pricey (depending on how much and what you’re getting). PLUS if you’re a mediocre chef like me, it can take a while to cook. And who wants to spend their whole day cooking?
One of my favourite things to do for a dinner party, including Friendsgiving, is to ditch the traditional meal and apt for appys. Not only can this be cheaper, but it can make my next suggestion much easier.
Make it a potluck
One of the best ways to cut down Friendsgiving hosting costs is to share the responsibility. Which is why one of my favourite budget-friendly Friendsgiving party ideas is to make your get-together a potluck.
This means you have to spend and cook less. Just simply figure out what everyone wants to eat and assign everyone a dish. Voila.
If you are planning on having alcohol involved in your Friendsgiving party, make sure that your alcohol is BYOB or potluck style because alcohol is REALLY expensive. And, quite frankly, if you’re on a budget (and even if you’re not) you do not need to fund someone else’s drinking!
Budget-friendly Friendsgiving decor ideas
When it comes to holiday-related decor ideas, I typically ditch them altogether. I don’t want to spend the extra budget to get them and I definitely don’t have the space to store them (seriously, I don’t even have a Christmas tree).
But not everyone has the same bahumbug approach to decor. So, if you’re looking for Friendsgiving decor ideas but don’t want to break the bank, here is my recommendation: choose one or two nice complimentary decor pieces and leave it at that.
Ditch the cheap cardboard turkeys and weird pilgrim cutouts and stick with one or two pieces that you absolutely love. A few classy decoration pieces you could go with include:
- A classy table cloth because who wants to eat on the cold, hard table
- A tasteful but fun table centrepiece
- Themed napkins or coasters
- Lighting or candles
Don’t go too hard on decor. Yes, it’s fun. And yes, it can look really cool. But it’s one night and it can get quite costly!
Fun Friendsgiving entertainment ideas
The best part of a dinner party is the entertainment. Sure conversation and wine is a great combo, but sometimes it’s fun to have something to play over. Thus, if you’re a board game enthusiast like me, I highly suggest pulling one out.
Other great Friendsgiving party ideas for entertainment include:
- Host a murder mystery party
- Good ol’ fashioned cards
Or really anything that you and your friends love to do!
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