November 19, 2019 — 12:12 PM
Friendsgiving is Thanksgiving’s chill, more relaxed cousin—a relatively new festivity that’s all about eating, drinking, and catching up with friends before we all part ways and dive into holiday season formalities.
As Vox editor Nisha Chittal recently declared in an article that asked “Did Millennials Kill the Dinner Party?” (the answer: no), dining with friends looks a little different from how it used to. “The cornbread might get a little burned; some people might have to sit on the floor,” she writes. “But the important thing is getting together with friends and enjoying each other’s company—not stressing out about tablescapes and etiquette.”
Friendsgiving is the perfect example of this decidedly less stressful way of entertaining. It’s an excuse to wear cozy clothes, try out some new recipes that may or may not make the cut for November 28, and share why you’re grateful for your chosen family. If you’re the lucky host this year, here are some fun ideas for prepping your space for the occasion:
1. Cobble together the tableware.
First things first, the table settings: We as a society need to do away with this idea that casual means disposable. Single-use cups, plates, and silverware may make your cleanup easier, but they’re clogging the planet. (Plastic cups, plates, forks, knives, and spoons are now among the top 10 items found during beach cleanups worldwide!) Instead, just use reusable tableware. If you don’t have enough pieces for a matching set, you can get a color scheme going to add some rhyme and reason. For napkins, swap paper for cloth. If you don’t have any, how about following zero-waste advocate Stevie Van Horn’s lead and repurposing old linens or cotton curtains? Get creative, have fun, and see how much you can cobble together without heading to the store.
2. Add a handwritten note to each place setting.
This time of year is all about gratitude. Share yours by writing one thing that you love about each of your guests on small pieces of paper. You can use them as seating tags or just set them up in a row for friends to look through when they walk in. It’s a small gesture that will set the scene for a happy eve.
3. Top off your table with a natural centerpiece.
Putting a pumpkin on your table is one way to get the fall feels going, but you can also get creative with some other natural relics of this time of year. The day of the feast, take a walk outside and collect any fallen leaves, twigs, or pine cones you see on your route. You’ll come back clearheaded, with all the makings of a DIY centerpiece. You can arrange them in a Mason jar, tin, wooden bowl—anything you have lying around—and top off with cinnamon sticks for some aromatics.
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4. Set the scene with soft lighting and plenty of cozy moments.
Now that the table is set, you can think about the rest of your home. Blankets, pillows, and candles are the name of the game here: If you don’t have enough dining chairs for the guest list, set up some other seating by clustering cozy fabrics on the floor. Opt for clusters of candles and dim, yellow lighting over anything harsh. It will immediately feel more relaxing and hide the fact that the edges of your stuffing may be burned. Finally, drape some throws over the back of your chairs a la hygge Scandinavian restaurants.
5. Have a dish for every dietary restriction—just in case.
Make every keto, paleo, and vegan guest feel at home with some yummy, mbg-approved sides, mains, and desserts they can dig into:
- Keto: Kale Salad With Pumpkin Croutons, Keto Cheesecake With Pecan Almond Crust
- Paleo: Grain-Free, Paleo Erewohn Bread, Sweet Potato-Mushroom Pancakes With Spicy Skillet Spinach
- Vegan: Pumpkin Spice Vegan Creamy Dip, Shredded Brussels Sprout & Cranberry Salad, Healthy Sticky Date Cake
- Gluten-Free: GF Cornbread Oyster-Mushroom Stuffing, Turmeric Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup
And for the carnivores, check out mbg’s guide to finding an ethically raised bird on a budget. Happy feasting!
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