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The 10 Essential Rules for Every Friendsgiving Host - Friendsgiving

The 10 Essential Rules for Every Friendsgiving Host - Friendsgiving
From The Kitchn - November 8, 2017

Thanksgiving with extended family comes with its own set of rules, and they are usually as unique and particular as the families themselves. Friendsgiving, however, is an entirely different story. That's because Friendsgiving is, at its heart, a potluck, not a longstanding family tradition. And like any good potluck, there are rules for engagement to ensure it comes off without a hitch.

If you are hosting Friendsgiving this year, we commend you. It's a big undertaking with lots of planning involved. If you are nervous or a little in over your head, remember these 10 rules and you will be fine.

1. Do not attempt to host Friendsgiving dinner alone.

Remember, Friendsgiving = potluck. This should go without saying, but I was once a young, over-ambitious food lover with too much time on my hands, so I know there's a legitimate temptation to "do it all." Resist, for the sake of your own well-being and that of your friends. They want to enjoy the best of you on this happy holiday, not the stressed-out worst.

2. Plan ahead.

Send out your invite as far in advance as you can, so the procrastinators have time to procrastinate and the planners have time to plan.

3. Create a flexible menu plan.

But know that you are the one with the oven just a few feet from the dining table, so that means you will have to make the turkey (and therefore the gravy too). Once you have the menu outlined, ask guests what they'd like to contribute to it. This way you can make sure all the essential Thanksgiving dishes are covered. When you have a house full of guests expecting their annual serving of green bean casserole, somebody better be making it.

4. Embrace technology.

The easiest and most effective way to plan a potluck is with a sign-up sheet everyone can access, so you can stay organized and not have to deal with a lot of back-and-forth questions. Google Docs is free and easy. Or try online planners like Perfect Potluck.

5. You can direct but not demand.

Managing the menu is good, but micromanaging the guests is bad. It's perfectly acceptable to ask people to bring specific dishes to avoid duplicates and make sure the essentials are covered. But remember it's an ask, not a must. Do not assign a dish or, even worse, a recipe, unless the guest asks for one. Nobody wants to feel forced into cooking something or feel handcuffed into a particular version of it. If there's a special family recipe you really want someone to take on, you can ask someone to make it, but do not be upset if they decline.

6. There's nothing wrong with too much food.

With a dinner like Thanksgiving, people tend to have not just a favorite dish they have been looking forward to all year, but also their favorite version of it. That means, even if the stuffing has already been claimed, someone might lobby to bring his or her favorite version too. It may be unnecessary to the meal, but it's probably essential to your guest's happiness, so just let it happen. Besides, there can never be too many carbs on Friendsgiving.

7. Be inclusive.

8. Do not forget to include non-cooks.

9. It's not all about the food.

10. Stock up on disposable containers for leftovers.

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