Festive ideas & tips to celebrate Friendsgiving

Monday, November 7, 2022 Festive ideas & tips to celebrate Friendsgiving

Sign with cursive text that reads "Happy Friendsgiving" surrounded by pumpkins

Whether you want one last get-together before heading home for the holidays or need something to do with friends in Lincoln over the break, organizing a Friendsgiving is a wonderful way to celebrate your friendships and share gratitude for one another during the holiday season.

Here are ideas to help you plan a fun and successful Friendsgiving.

Schedule it early.

It's that time in the semester when your calendar is filling up with more exams and project due dates, and it may be harder to find time to hang out with your friends. If you want to make sure all your friends will be able to attend, make a plan early and give people plenty of notice. Use a scheduling app like Calendly or WhenAvailable to see what days and times work best for everyone. Consider having a virtual option for those who may be in a different location.

Find a place to gather.

Depending on the size of your group, you can host your Friendsgiving at a house, apartment or even your dorm room. For larger groups, you might consider using a lounge or rec space on campus. Whatever you choose, ensure that the location is convenient for everyone and that the space is conducive to your group size.

Give it a theme.

Make your Friendsgiving event stand out from other get-togethers by having a programming theme. This can help guide your decorations, dress code, food and activities. Below are a few ideas for fun and simple themes:

  • Movie marathon: string lights; favorite movie character costumes or pajamas; popcorn, candy, or specific movie-themed snacks
  • Sports: Husker décor; favorite team gear; tailgate recipes
  • Music: A playlist with everyone’s favorite songs; karaoke contest; paper music notes or sheet music decorations
  • Holiday: Fallen leaves and leftover pumpkins from Halloween or winter holiday décor; ugly holiday sweaters
  • Tropical: Beach towels; swim gear and sunglasses; colorful fruits and vegetables, pineapple salsa, and fruity drinks with fun straws
Make it a potluck.

If you don’t plan to have a theme, determine what types of food you want to have available and designate who will bring which items. This makes it easier on the host, adds excitement to see what everyone brings, and ensures there will be something available for guests with different dietary issues or preferences. Create a group chat and have attendees provide an idea of what they will bring to avoid duplicates.

You don’t need to serve a gourmet Thanksgiving meal, especially if you don’t have access to an oven or other kitchen tools. Try these easy Thanksgiving recipes that you can make in a residence hall. Put a twist on traditional Thanksgiving foods and opt for deli turkey wraps, french fries and pumpkin-flavored cookies.

There’s nothing saying you have to stick to traditions. Who says you can’t have pasta for Thanksgiving? Or if your gang is full of sweet-tooths, make it all about fall-flavored desserts.

For a cool aesthetic, hop on the popular charcuterie board trend and see who can create the most original board.

Bring on the games.

Along with the food, you’ll want to have activities planned to keep people engaged. Have everyone bring their favorite board or card game to play. Or get crafty and grab some pumpkins to paint (hint: pumpkins are often cheaper to purchase after Halloween) or have a cookie decorating contest. If you're feeling the holiday spirit, make some paper snowflakes or DIY gifts.

Share your gratitude.

Ask everyone in the group to participate in a gratitude jar by slipping in a piece of paper with something they're thankful for as they arrive. During the main event, everyone can take turns reading aloud the messages of gratitude. If you have a close-knit group, put everyone’s name in a jar, have each person draw a name and share a reason they are thankful for the person whose name they draw.

Capture the memories.

Make the memories from your event last a lifetime and take a group photo before everyone leaves. If you share photos on Instagram, tag @unlstudentlife for a chance to be featured on their account.

Skip the work.

If you don’t want to go through the effort of setting up a party or making food, let Dining Services do the cooking and invite your pals to join you at the Thanksgiving Dinner November 16. Use your meal plan to enjoy a delicious meal at any of the campus dining centers starting at 4:30 p.m. Guest prices are also for those without a meal plan.

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