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Friendsgiving - yes, it’s a real thing, and it’s worth celebrating every year. It adds a fun twist to the traditional Thanksgiving holiday, while offering the chance to spend some extra quality time with your best buddies. So, what exactly is Friendsgiving? It's simply the gathering of friends over a delicious Thanksgiving meal, whether that's a lunch feast or dinner party. Sometimes these gatherings bring together friends who are a long way from home. Think, college students studying abroad, or budding professionals carving out their lives in a new city far from where they grew up.
You might think Friendsgiving is a new trend, but in fact, the basic concept has been around for nearly 25 years. The first televised instance of celebrating Thanksgiving without one's family occurred during a 1994 episode of Friends (of course), though the term itself was not used. Only in 2007 did the first mention of Friendsgiving appear on Twitter, followed by a slow uptick in interest as seen in lifestyle articles and publicity pieces. After 2013, Friendsgiving heated up and has doubled in search volume every year since. This means 2018 will be a Friendsgiving to remember.
If you're familiar with how to host or attend a large dinner party, you’re Friendsgiving-ready. Follow all the same guidelines and tricks, such as:
Once you’ve settled on a turkey preparation, build an ample menu with dishes that bring back memories of the 80s and 90s, while honoring the diversity of preferences we all have today.
Start with a party-perfect beverage, like Sparkling Rose Sangria. With delicate bubbles and just 4 fruity ingredients (pure lime extract, sweet rose, and fresh pineapple and strawberry chunks), it's a refreshing addition to the menu. Once the glasses are passed around, it’s time to set out a light appetizer. Caper Deviled Eggs seasoned with tarragon and ground mustard are a great way to nosh without filling up before the main event.
Don’t worry about having a dozen side dishes to showcase every possible taste and preference. Instead, focus on classics that please almost any crowd and comply with most dietary restrictions. This means there must be Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes - the garlickier the better.
Ready your ladle and smother those potatoes with this turkey gravy recipe (use a gluten-free baking flour to if needed), which happens to taste delightful on nearly everything on the plate.
Plus, with McCormick Turkey Gravy Mix, flour, and water, making a delicious turkey gravy only takes 10 minutes.
For a comfortable side, serve up everyone's favorite: French's Green Bean Casserole. This masterpiece of tender green beans paired with crunchy crispy fried onions as a topping always calls for a second helping.
Lighten up your side dish menu with this smoky staple: Collard Greens with Bacon. It's all about our favorite greens loaded with crispy bacon - need we say more?!
If you're in the mood to cook, this super easy yet incredibly delicious slow cooker monkey bread recipe is perfect for the occasion. With ground cinnamon, flaky biscuits and few other ingredients, your friends will absolutely love this twist on a classic dinner roll. You could even serve it for dessert. Short on time? Check out this quick video showing you how to make monkey bread in a slow cooker:
Bellies full? But there's always room for another delicious side dish! Throw a huge pan of Candied Sweet Potato Casserole in the oven, then keep relaxing and conversing as the food settles. A perfect distraction is to invite your guests to take a stroll around the block. When they return, the aroma of sweet decadence will fill the air and suddenly appetites get a second life.
For maximum flavor, go with a Brined Turkey if you can free up the fridge space to pull it off. For ease, quick cooking time, and less carving to worry about, you can’t go wrong with Pressure Cooker Turkey Breasts. Bonus: the oven is free for all of those tasty sides!
Worried about making a turkey for the first time? Learn how to make turkey with this step-by-step Thanksgiving turkey guide.
For dessert, you could also make a modern take on pumpkin pie with this Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, or upend tradition completely with Pumpkin Creme Caramel. Bonus? This custardy pumpkin pie stand-in is totally gluten-free!
If you dare, take the party into the kitchen at the end of the evening, and encourage your squad to help you clean up. What might have seemed like an impossible task to tackle alone, might actually end up taking no time at all. A group clean-up is also a great way to bring everyone together one last time, ending a memorable night in smiles and laughter.
Looking for more Friendsgiving recipe ideas? Check out these Thanksgiving recipes here!