Thanksgiving isn’t just for families — more and more people are hosting “Friendsgiving” gatherings. These dinner parties are a great way to show your appreciation for the friends who make you feel so thankful every day! From the decor to the treats, a festive Friendsgiving meal is sure to warm hearts. Here are six ways to make yours extra special this year.
Wow them with a festive buffet.
Setting up a special “help yourself” spread is as easy as adding seasonal fare and a bit of harvest flair to a table. Party pro Brianna Adams, founder of Parties With a Cause, tops tables with serving platters filled with treats and to-go boxes, then sets a cake plate at the center of the table and displays a flower-filled pumpkin vase or hollowed-out pumpkin on top (see above). Sprinkle mini pumpkins, blooms, fruits, and veggies on the table to complete the look.
Surprise them with happy harvest favors.
Before the busy holiday season begins, give guests a gift that will inspire them to take some time to relax. Just pick up fall-scented candles, soaps, lotions, and bath bombs from the dollar store and place them in a small box. Wrap the package in white paper, then tie with plaid ribbon. To finish, cinch a bundle of leaves (real or faux) and rose hips together with ribbon and set atop the box.
Dress plates with autumnal charm.
Your everyday dishes get a fresh fall makeover with a few backyard snippets. To do: Fold a 20-inch square napkin in half, forming a rectangle, then roll into a cone shape. Set flatware on top and cinch with a thin orange ribbon. Finish by sprinkling berries, crab apples, and seasonal blooms on the plate.
Raise a glass to friendship with a spiced hot toddy.
A flavorful hot toddy is an ideal cocktail for a crisp fall day. To make: About 30 minutes before guests arrive, pour a bottle of white cranberry juice in a large pot and cook over low heat. Then, add 10 whole cloves, two cinnamon sticks, and one orange (thinly sliced); simmer for 45 minutes. For each cocktail, ladle juice into a mug, then stir in one ounce of apple-flavored whiskey (we like Evan Williams Apple Whiskey — Buy from Total Wine, $16.99). Garnish with a cinnamon stick, apple slices, and a mint sprig if desired.
Add gorgeous ambience with a seasonal twinkler.
The best decor for any party comes from what you already have on hand, like spare candles and fresh-picked foliage from the yard, says Adams. To make a festive Friendsgiving focal point, place a pillar candle on a saucer, cut a piece of floral wire to fit around the base of the candle plus two inches, then thread rose hips and leaves on the wire until covered. Twist the ends together and add it to candle base.
Boost the beauty with a heartfelt floral wreath.
Simple yet stunning, this wreath offers a gorgeous greeting wherever it’s displayed. To make it even more eye-catching, choose flowers with deep colors and lots of texture, suggests Adams. Some to try: zinnias, chrysanthemums, dahlias, and asters in rich, jewel-toned hues. To make: Bend a wire coat hanger into a heart shape, keeping the hook intact at the top. Cut 14 dahlias or other flowers to three inches and affix the blooms and extra leaves to the hanger using pieces of floral wire, spacing evenly. Fill gaps with handfuls of berries, heather, herbs, and other greenery, securing the clusters between the blooms using more wire. Hang from a hook and admire your handiwork!
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.