Published: Nov. 9, 2023

Thanksgiving food

Friendsgiving has become a popular way to celebrate with friends around Thanksgiving. Whether you are planning a celebration before you leave for fall break or as an alternative to spending time with family, Friendsgiving can be a time to connect, enjoy delicious food and have fun.  

Here are some tips to help you make the most of any celebration. 

Celebrate with others 

Sharing a meal and celebrating with friends is a great way to strengthen your friendships and get to know people better. You can learn about new cultures and traditions and honor different ways of celebrating holidays by creating a warm and inclusive atmosphere. 

Fall break can also feel lonely for some students who may be staying in Boulder or won’t have family around. Planning a Friendsgiving meal can create a sense of community, comfort and connection.  

Ways to celebrate 

Recreating Thanksgiving favorites from home can be fun, but you don’t have to stick with a traditional feast. You can get creative with themes, foods and activities for you and your friends to enjoy. This year, think outside the box. For example, you can create an event tied to a favorite movie where everyone dresses up and plays movie trivia. Or you can ask people to dress in their favorite sports team attire and serve tailgating classics. The possibilities are endless! 

Whether you go the traditional route or choose a different option, here are a few tips to help you pull off a fun celebration. 

  • Choose a location. If you live in a residence hall, you can use a community space or gather in your room, depending on the number of people you plan to have over. If you live off campus, you may have more room to host a meal. Just make sure to check with your roommates before inviting everyone over. Remember that you don’t need a dining room or a large table for a meaningful meal. Ask your friends if they can bring a seat or have everyone sit on the floor. The point is that you have a place to gather and enjoy each other’s company. 
  • Make it a potluck. Food can get expensive. Splitting the responsibilities (and the costs) can make it less stressful and more affordable for everyone. Ask your friends to bring something to share. You can even create a signup list with appetizers, main dishes, sides, salad, bread, dessert and beverages. Don’t forget to make an effort to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences so everyone feels included. 
  • Add an activity. Think about ways to add fun to the party. If you choose a theme night, you can tie the activity to the theme, like watching a movie or making a craft. You can also keep with the theme of thanks and have everyone write down something they are thankful for and share it with the group. 

Menu ideas 

You can stick with traditional Thanksgiving menu items or ask guests to bring their favorite dish representing their traditions. Cooking a turkey can be a lot of work and stress, especially if you don’t have a standard oven and roasting pan. If you want an easier option, consider purchasing a rotisserie chicken or preparing boneless turkey breasts. 

You can also buy sides that you can heat in a microwave or require no cooking, like premade mashed potatoes, bagged salad, canned or frozen vegetables, premade rolls, cranberry sauce, jarred gravy and premade desserts. Many grocery stores also offer prepared foods in the deli section. 

Here are a few simple recipes to try if you want to cook.