9 Fun Ideas for Hosting Friendsgiving During a Pandemic

Looking for some creative ways to celebrate Friendsgiving this year? For virtual or socially distanced gatherings, try these fun Friendsgiving ideas.

Maybe you’re a fan of Friendsgiving, or maybe you’ve never heard of it! An alternative to Thanksgiving and sort of a kick-off to the holiday season, Friendsgiving brings together friends on or around the Thanksgiving holiday, typically for a festive meal. But 2020 means those in-person parties may not be possible. Instead, try these nine Friendsgiving ideas to celebrate the joys of good friends.

Pick a Platform

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued clear recommendations against in-person holiday gatherings this year. So unless you live in a group house with all your friends, you should celebrate Friendsgiving from a distance. To host a virtual Friendsgiving party, pick a video call platform that works for everyone.

Send Out Invites

Make your virtual Friendsgiving event feel more like a “happening” by sending out online invites. You can specify date, time, theme, include the link for video call, plus any other details.

Evite has a bunch of free invitation templates, including several tailored to Friendsgiving. We also like the Friendsgiving designs from Greenvelope. They’re not free, but Greenvelope sends out the online invites with a virtual envelope, liner, stamp and allows guests to RSVP right away.

Have Everyone Choose a Background

To get into the spirit of things, have everyone on your Friendsgiving guest list pick a background for the video chat. There are tons of choices for Zoom, including these iconic TV locations with stage sets from Friends, Seinfeld, The Office and more. Of course, Home Improvement is our pick! Skype and Microsoft Teams also allow you to choose a background or add a photo as a background.

Pick a Friendsgiving Theme

Maybe your Friendsgiving party is akin to virtual Thanksgiving, with everyone gathered around their screens as they dig into their holiday meal. But you can mix it up by picking a different theme.

Host an ’80s party and have everyone dress up in their throw-back New Wave gear. Or have everyone wear their ugliest holiday sweater, then vote for the (worst) best one. Make it a cocktail-themed party with everyone playing mixologist and showing off their concoctions. Baking is a great theme, too — amateur Martha Stewarts can try to outdo one another with elaborate bread or desserts.

Pre-Party Recipe Swap

For a fun way to share a virtual meal, ask everyone in the group to share a favorite recipe prior to your Friendsgiving get-together. That way everyone dines on the same menu, and it’s fun to see how different all the recipes turn out. Seriously, who knew there were so many ways to mess up deviled eggs?! Taste of Home has an impressive collection of Thanksgiving recipes if anyone lacks a favorite to share.

Share an Online Photo Album

Take a stroll down memory lane with your friends by organizing an online photo album. Build the album as a surprise with your photos, or have everyone send you photos in advance. You can also create a shared album in Google Photos or iPhotos for everyone to upload their images. Share your screen during your Friendsgiving party — your group will love seeing all their old photos together in one place.

Create a Friendsgiving Playlist

For another blast from the past, create a shared playlist of songs that were popular when you all started hanging out. Nothing brings back memories quite like music. YouTube is the best platform for sharing playlists, since it’s free and available to Apple and Android users. Have everyone sync up so that they all start the playlist at the same time — and get ready for a spontaneous virtual singalong!

Send Out Party Favors

Be the party favorite by sending out party favors to your Friendsgiving attendees. We like these options from Greetable, which allow you to personalize a gift box with messages and photos, then add a little treat or trinket as a gift. Options include caramels, candles, photo ornaments and more. Or check out these beautiful DIY wooden coasters, which are small enough to stick in the mail.

If You Gather, Keep it Outdoors

The CDC considers small outdoor gatherings as moderate-risk activities. To us, that means it’s better to skip in-person gatherings altogether this season. But if you live in an area where it’s warm enough to gather outside and you decide to do so, space tables and chairs far away from each other so guests can maintain a six-foot social distance from one another.

And be careful once the drinks start flowing. A relaxed group of tipsy friends might just decide to have a hugathon. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the year for it.