How to Throw a Very Chill Friendsgiving

Just remember: store-bought is fine.

October 25, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

We’ve teamed up with Albertsons Companies to share our top tips and tricks for throwing a laid-back Friendsgiving with your closest pals. To make shopping for the occasion a cinch, our pick is FreshPass™—a handy grocery subscription program with perks like unlimited free delivery, a $5 monthly credit for annual subscribers, and a VIP customer service line you can reach any time so all your must-have holiday ingredients are just a few clicks away. Want to give it a test run? Start your free 30-day trial right here.

One of the best parts of the Thanksgiving season is the week before when I gather some of my closest friends for our annual Friendsgiving celebration. Before you jump to conclusions about what it’s like to host back-to-back dinners, hear me out: Friendsgiving is arguably ten times more relaxed than a big family celebration, and it’s a great way to see how your friends celebrate the holidays. With a handful of tips and tricks, you’re set to have the chillest Friendsgiving ever.

1. Skip the Holiday Grocery Store Rush

The week or two leading up to Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times to grocery shop. Rather than spending hours in a crowded store, lean into the perks of a grocery delivery subscription program, like the one from FreshPass™. There’s unlimited free delivery (in as little as two hours in most areas, making it a perfect substitute for last-minute trips) and a DriveUp & Go™ option, which lets you get groceries delivered right to your car. For any big dinner, I’d normally try to do multiple shops throughout the week (to avoid the dreaded 10-bag unpacking at home), but grocery delivery takes the headache out of the equation while simultaneously allowing me more time to prep at home.

2. Make a Plan

Remember: The goal here is to have a chill Friendsgiving. To keep things easy, delegate tasks to your friends to take some of the work off your plate. As the host, you’ll most likely be in charge of the bird (or maybe you’ll mix it up and do something different, like ham or roast chicken), so ask your friends to make their favorite sides; one of the best part about Friendsgiving is the variety of dishes on the table.

Practically speaking, I’ve found that making a spreadsheet where everyone involved can see what others are bringing is helpful to avoid doubling up on two cranberry sauces or three types of potatoes. Not everyone feels comfortable cooking, so assign those friends roles like buying wine, making a batch cocktail for the night, bringing ice, or making a festive playlist.

Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

3. The Buffet is Back

Since Friendsgiving is naturally a bit more relaxed than a big family gathering, set up a buffet near the table to allow guests to fill their plates in a more streamlined way. Since there’s usually so many sides, it’ll take the stress of trying to fit everything on the table at once, while also making cleanup at the end of the night a bit easier. If you have friends with dietary restrictions, this is a great way to designate what dishes contain certain potential ingredients. I like making little note cards to go in front of each dish to signify if something is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or even paleo. While wine generally goes on the table, keep the booze or punch bowl on one end of the buffet to keep things more organized—and out of the kitchen.

4. Store-Bought is Fine

You don’t have to cook everything from scratch in order to have a great Friendsgiving. With FreshPass™, you’ll get special perks and savings on O Organics® and Open Nature® products, which makes it even easier to utilize great store-bought options. Items to consider buying pre-made: dinner rolls, dips and spreads, pre-cut vegetables (to save time), cornbread, and even pie. If you want a no-stress store-bought snack spread, consider a charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, olives, jams, crackers, and nuts.

5. Accept Help

This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s hard to let go when you’re the host. If your friends are offering to help, whether that’s coming over early to set the table, offering to run out and buy more ice, or splitting the bill for the turkey (they’re not cheap!), take the extra support where you can. It’ll make your friends happy to be able to contribute, and take some of the stress off. And if someone offers to do the dishes, don’t hesitate to give an enthusiastic yes.

What are your favorite tips for a laid-back Friendsgiving? Tell us in the comments below!

Make hosting Friendsgiving a breeze this season with FreshPass™—a grocery delivery subscription program with sweet bonuses like unlimited free delivery, monthly exclusive Starbucks® perks, rewards that don’t expire, plus 5% savings on O Organics® and Open Nature® products. Ready to get started? Find your nearest store and sign up for a free 30-day trial here. You can check out the FreshPass grocery delivery subscription program from Albertsons Companies: ACME, Albertsons, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, and Vons.

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Alexis deBoschnek is a freelance recipe developer, cook, and video host based in the Catskills.