With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I’m partnering with Honeybaked Ham to bring you a guide to throwing an easy, gorgeous, and delicious Friendsgiving. This time of year, especially for those of us who don’t live in our hometowns, can be absolutely crazy. Trying to squeeze in seeing friends before the holidays, packing for a few days away, waking up early for a Thanksgiving morning flight (okay, maybe that’s just us this year…), and the usual work and life obligations — trying to pull together a dinner of your own needs to be quick and effortless.
A few days before people starting taking off to leave town, ideally the week before, is the best time to host a Friendsgiving. I always prefer a Sunday to allow plenty of time for relaxing and set up beforehand. Make sure to send the invites a couple of weeks in advance so that you’ll get on calendars early. Paperless Post always has the best selection of invitations, and it isn’t too hard to find one that doesn’t cost money (or coins, or whatever they call them.)
As far as setup around the house goes, I like to make sure my apartment is freshly cleaned whenever we have people over so I’ll do a quick dust and vacuum, but I also don’t break my back cleaning knowing that people will come in with shoes that have picked up leaves outside, drinks may be spilled, crumbs will be dropped. No one will notice if you haven’t spent an entire day cleaning every nook and cranny, especially if they’re dining in a candlelit, dim room. Bottom line, don’t stress too much.
I’ll be honest, this might be the first true tablescape I’ve ever created. I always thought the idea of setting a table seemed intimidating so I stayed to the basics — white dinner plates, bamboo flatware, and cloth napkins. It seemed nice enough, but I decided to see if I could raise the bar a bit.
I found these placemats from Nordstrom that perfectly tied together the amber colored glasses I bought years ago and still absolutely love with my turquoise cloth napkins. I picked up gold charger plates from Target for just $2.49 a piece (they were delivered in just two days!), added some holiday table decor I had on hand and an adorable pinch bowl for coarse salt (usually I use it as a ring dish next to the sink…) I found these tortoise napkin rings at Crate and Barrel years ago and while they don’t have them anymore, they do have a great selection of other napkin rings.
This warm Thanksgiving look came together quickly and I realized that if you have the basics down, you can easily pull together a table by switching out the details like placemats and napkins. For New Year’s, I’ll swap the turquoise napkins for my white napkins with gold dots and these southwestern inspired placemats for a more modern black, tan, and white geometric look.
WHAT TO SERVE
Because it has to be all about easy when you’re throwing together a Friendsgiving during the busy holiday season, you want to have as much done by other as possible. A Honeybaked Ham is a great alternative to slaving away for hours brining and roasting a turkey. Plus, who doesn’t love a spiral sliced ham? It’s one of those holiday treats that brings you back to celebrations past. You can serve it on a platter and give guests the option of eating it on its own or on a roll. Honeybaked Ham also has an amazing array of side dishes to order pre-made. From broccoli casserole to mashed potatoes to green bean casserole and cinnamon apples, your Friendsgiving dinner arrives already made for you. It doesn’t get any easier than that. You can order your meal by the dish or pick up one of their combinations. When you place the order, you can select which day it’s delivered, so you can plan ahead and not worry about having a fridge full of food for days before your Friendsgiving.
Also, under no circumstances, should you neglect to order a pecan pie. Honeybaked Ham’s pecan pie is perhaps the most heavenly pie I’ve had all year.
WHAT TO WEAR
Forget dressing to the nines when you’re hosting a Friendsgiving. You want to look polished, but you also don’t want to spend much time thinking about it or actually getting ready. A sleek turtleneck and a faux fur vest is always a good combination. Dress it up with a pair of statement earrings. Throw on a pair of comfy (and stretchy!) high waisted jeans and definitely wear flats. This pair of leopard flats is one of my absolute favorite buys this fall.
I also decided to try out a middle part for the first time in 20 years. I did an at home blow out with it in a side part then flipped over to the middle part later the day and sprayed in a bit of texturizer so that it would have plenty of volume. I straightened the ends just to smooth it out a little. It probably won’t be my every day look, but a little change is always nice.
ANY OTHER TIPS?
Make sure you allow yourself at least an hour more than you anticipate needing to get ready! Even if you’re using a meal that’s already made, you never know what might come up. From a last minute bottle of wine or two, to extra place settings, things can always get a little bit crazy. If you have extra time built in, you won’t stress and you’ll be totally prepared and calm by the times guests arrive.
Remember, it’s a fun occasion and you’ve done all you can to set an easy but beautiful table and an effortless but delicious meal. Guests will be so grateful you’ve brought them together and they didn’t have to do a thing (besides show up with a bottle of red!)