How to Host a Stress-Free Friendsgiving or Holiday Party

Yesterday, I shared my simple Thanksgiving tablescape and today I’m back to continue the conversation about one of my favorite holidays! If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or even a holiday party I’m here to help your party go a little smoother. Dare, I even say…stress-free?? Yes, I think these tips will show you how to host a stress-free Friendsgiving (or any sort of party!) this year!

I’ve never actually hosted a Friendsgiving (we have hosted regular Thanksgiving though!), but I absolutely love the idea of it! Bringing all of your friends and loved ones together for a big huge dinner party. What’s not to love?! If you’re the one hosting this little shindig, I don’t want you to lose any sleep over this dinner party. Instead, follow these tips to be the hostess with the mostess.

How to Host a Stress-Free Friendsgiving

How to host a stress-free Friendsgiving

Give Specific Instructions

The first and most important tip…don’t be a martyr. It’s silly to make every dish yourself and to think that every single item has to be homemade. Instead, make your dinner party a potluck! Have every guest bring a dish to share with the entire group.Split up tasks for your friendsgiving

But here’s the most important part of this task…actually give people specific instructions on what to bring. You don’t want to end up with 3 pecan pies (well, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Yum!). Avoid any confusion and tell people exactly what you want them to bring. How to make an easy charcuterie board

Susan brings mashed potatoes, Mark handles the turkey, Jessica brings 1 pie, you make the charcuterie board (since you’re now an expert after this post!). It’s your job as host to divvy up tasks, so be a leader and tell everyone what you want them to bring to the table.

Have guests bring their recipes

Bonus tip…if your guests are bringing an extra special homemade dish, have them bring copies of the recipe to the party. That way everyone can swap recipes at the end of the night (& with full and happy bellys!)

Decorate the Table Ahead of Time

How to host a stress-free Friendsgiving

I mentioned this yesterday, but it should be repeated. Instead of stressing on the day of your party to create the ultimate tablescape, decorate your table the week of! That way you’ll have plenty of time to tweak and get it just the way you want it. Then on party day, you can focus on the food and drink, not the table decor. How to create a simple Thanksgiving tablescape

Also, keep the decor simple. Yesterday’s tablescape was so easy to throw together and I was able to make it happen with items primarily from the grocery store. Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy tons of decor. Keep it simple and your guests will appreciate the small touches.

Have Guests Bring Crockpots

Have guests bring their dishes in crockpots

So remember how you’re divvying up all of the tasks for dinnertime? Well, it may be hard to make sure everything is hot and ready at the same time…especially if you only have 1 oven. Ask your guests to bring their hot dishes in a crockpot. That way you can keep each dish warm and just serve directly from each crockpot! And you certainly don’t have to serve your dish in NFL mugs (haha), that crock pot pic is from this post on how to throw the ultimate Superbowl party!

Make a Playlist

Make a music playlist ahead of time

I am the absolute worst when it comes to music. Seriously, I couldn’t name one popular song right now. But I do know the importance of music, especially at a party! If you suck at music like I do, enlist a friend to help you create a playlist before the big party. You don’t want to constantly be checking your phone to plan the next song throughout the night. Instead, make a playlist of great songs, set it up, and forget it!

Create a Dessert Table

Make a friendsgiving dessert table

Photo via Brit + Co

My family isn’t a huge one for desserts. In fact, we usually fill up so much on the real meal that we forget to even get the desserts out of the fridge. Don’t let this happen when you throw your own shindig.

Make pumpkin bars for thanksgiving dessert

When you’re having a big Friendsgiving, make the dessert an experience! Have a set area for guests to display their pies and other yummy items (like my favorite pumpkin bars!). Be sure to display napkins, plates, and forks so guests can help themselves after dinner. This will make things less stressful for you because your friends can dig right in and you don’t have to serve them.

Have a Plan for Leftovers


Thanksgiving leftover labels

Photo via Oh Happy Day!

The best part about any dinner party is the leftovers! But if you don’t plan ahead of time, you’ll be giving your guests your nice dishes to carry their leftovers home in, and you might not ever get them back.

Instead, buy lots of Tupperware or takeout boxes ahead of time that your friends can keep. Have everyone fill up their leftover bins right after dinner, and make sure they write their names on the containers. You can even put colorful washi tape out so guests can rip off a piece, write their name on it,  and put it on their tupperware! Or print these adorable labels from Oh Happy Day to make the box extra special.

How to host a stress-free Friendsgiving or holiday party

There you have it, how to host a stress-free Friendsgiving without going crazy! Hopefully, these tips come in handy over the next month as you entertain family and friends for the holiday season.

Are you hosting a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving this month? I’d love to hear how you’re preparing for your shindig!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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