How To Host A Nontraditional Holiday Celebration

Unable to spend Thanksgiving with your family this year? Consider hosting a Friendsgiving! This increasingly popular soiree generally falls on or around the Thanksgiving holiday. When planning a Friendsgiving, you can be as traditional or nontraditional as you’d like. Beyond the guidelines of hosting this celebration sometime in November and inviting your friends to it, there are few rules that dictate what you should serve, drink and do during your own, unique Friendsgiving.

Friends celebrating Thanksgiving

For example, you can forget about preparing foods traditionally served at holiday meals, such as turkey, ham or sweet potatoes. As an alternative, you can put together a tapas-style meal or specific ethnic foods. You can also host a chili cook-off and encourage your guests to bring their own delicious creation.

Keep in mind that you don't have to serve a dinner at all. Dana Holmes, the editor in chief of Gifts.com, suggests turning your Friendsgiving into a cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres, particularly if you're expecting several guests. "You can make all kinds of unexpected delicious bites with the flavors of the season. Just ask friends to bring wine and you'll be all set. You can have everything out on platters or bring them out in courses, but it will be much easier if you pick things that you can make in advance and store easily until the day of," she explains.

Another way to ensure your Friendsgiving is memorable is to offer guests a signature cocktail. According to Holmes, "A unique signature that is easy to do is to infuse some vodka with cranberry and sugar, or cinnamon, or ginger and make a delicious cocktail. You can give everyone a small bottle of liquor and the recipe as a parting gift. Infusing vodka is easy. You just need a big, air-tight container that you can swish around. You fill the jar halfway with lightly flavored items, or one-eighth of the way with any strong other flavor. For pears you will fill it entirely because of the delicate flavor. Then, you fill the jar with vodka, seal it up and keep it in a dark place for several weeks. You'll need to shake it vigorously at least one time per day. I like using ginger-infused vodka with apple cider, a cinnamon stick and a splash of club soda."

To keep guests entertained during your Friendsgiving, consider conducting a wine or beer tasting. Holmes recommends playing board games, bobbing for apples and making candy apples.

These are just a few of the ways you can set your Friendsgiving apart from every other Thanksgiving dinner you and your friends have attended over the years. They key is to forget about the rules and traditions tied to holidays and to be creative and considerate about what your guests would enjoy doing on this special occasion.

More on Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving favorites: Dishes to pass and share
How to start your own Friendsgiving
5 Reasons a Friendsgiving rocks!

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