Last year we started a new tradition. We decided that every year, a few weeks before Thanksgiving Elsie and I would host our own Friendsgiving. We adore spending the holidays with our family, and finding time to invite a few friends over for a pre-holiday celebration is icing on the cake. We have the best friends. We truly do. That's one of the things at the top of "things I'm thankful for" list. We only wish we had a larger table to invite them all!We ate, we drank and we shared a lot of laughs together. Friendsgiving is fast becoming one of my number one things I look forward to every year! But I have to admit hosting a big meal for a lot of people can be very daunting. It doesn't have to be stressful though! Here are my top five tips from this year.
1. Make everything (that you can) ahead. I made all of the side dishes the day before. Elsie prepped most of her drinks and decorations the week before as well. So the day of Friendsgiving all we needed to do was roast the turkey, warm up the side dishes just before serving time, set all all the fresh flowers and set the table. We had enough spare time to spend an hour watching our grandfather in a parade honoring veterans.2. Tag team the event. You don't have to do everything yourself! This might be a no-brainer to a lot you, but I have a tendency to think I don't need any help (even if I definitely do!). It can be overwhelming and not to mention expensive to prepare everything yourself. I love hosting Friendsgiving with Elsie. She takes care of all the delicious drinks, the decor and preparring her house for guests to come over. I prepare the meal. If you plan to host your own Friendsgiving you might consider asking guests to bring a side dish or bottle of wine. Delegate however you wish but don't pressure yourself to do everything.3. Mac & Cheese. This year I decided to make a pot of macaroni and cheese (from a box!) for any kiddos who might prefer that to, say, the brussels sprouts I'd prepared. It was a hit! I will definatley be adding boxed mac & cheese to my regular Friendsgiving menu. The larger point here is to consider everyone. For you this might mean making sure you have a few gluten free, sugar free, nut free, or vegan friendly dishes planned depending on who you are inviting over. When planning out your menu take time to think of everyone on the guests list and what they may need.4. Try something new. I read all the time that you should never serve a totally new recipe (meaning, one you haven't cooked before) at a party. I get the logic behind this. What if it's a flop? But, I just couldn't disagree more. If you have a favorite/traditional dish that everyone loves why yes, certainly serve that every year. It's nostalgic. But I highly recommend trying something new too! I love making something new and hearing what my friends think. Even if it is a flop it may turn into the most hilarious and memorable thing from the event. Don't pressure yourself to plan for and expect perfection. Life's little messy moments and mistakes can be beautiful too. 5. Tupperware. Buy inexpensive tupperware or disposable take-home boxes to send guests home with leftovers. This is as much a tip for hosting as it is a diet tip. :) You don't need half a turkey all to yourself. Send those leftovers out the door with guests! They will be remembering your event the next day while enjoying a leftover stuffing sandwich. What, you don't eat your leftover stuffing in a sandwich? Well, maybe you should.Thanks for letting us share a peek into our Friendsgiving this year. We will be sharing lots of decor inspiration and recipes from the event this week. Stay tuned. And, feel free to share any hosting tips or Thanksgiving plans you might be making this year. We'd all love to hear it. xo. Emma + Elsie
Credits // Authors: Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson, photography by: Janae Hardy, project assistant: Laura Gummerman. A big thanks to all our wonderful husbands and dear friends: Johnny, Katie, Hope, Posey, Chris, Lauren, Brandon and Morgan.