Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season. It’s the perfect time of year to get your friends together to enjoy a meal before the effects of exhaustive travel and overwhelming family time kick in. For some of you, planning is not your forté, and the very thought of cooking and hosting for your crew can leave you feeling extra anxious. But fret not— we wouldn’t leave you hanging!
We’ve partnered with IKEA® to give you tips on how to prepare for a stress-free, affordable and fun Friendsgiving, especially for first timers. From dining tables to tableware, their 2016 Holiday Prep Guide offers inspiration and affordable items, making this year’s holiday prep that much easier. So read on, take notes and give thanks for our Beginner’s Guide to Friendsgiving.
Preparation: Work Smarter, Not Harder
The more time you spend with prep work allows you to have more time to hang with your guests during the party. So putting a little thought into your Friendsgiving ahead of time will go a long way in the end — read on to get some helpful tips! Plus, staging certain items in view allows that super helpful friend to step in and assist with your dinner party so it goes on without a hitch.
1. Set Up a Serving Station
Leave room for your dining table decor by setting up a buffet serving station. You can set up one course at a time, or have them out all together.
2. Make a Signature Drink: Lingonberry Cider Sangria
It’s great to have a signature drink prepared in advance so there’s no shaking, mixing or swirling during the party. You can make this fall-inspired Lingonberry Cider Sangria the day before, and have it ready to pour when your guests arrive.
- 1 bottle of dry rosé (750ml)
- 1 can of CIDER ÄPPLE (500ml)
- splash of DRYCK LINGON lingonberry syrup
- ¼ cup of agave
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- seasonal fruit (we chose 2 pears and 1 apple)
- cutting board
First up, gather your ingredients!
Cut your fruit into fun shaped slices. We love how the core of the apple makes beautiful little stars.
Add the wine, cider, agave, splash of Lingonberry syrup and cinnamon sticks, and stir. Cover and store in your fridge for at least an hour.
Add additional pieces of fruit to a glass and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick. Pour and serve!
3.Don’t Forget About Dessert
It’s great to be able to set out your coffee cups and dessert plates in advance, so you have easy access to them when the tryptophan from the turkey (and overeating) hits your system. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the dessert course. After all, pie is a VERY important part of the Thanksgiving meal.
Setting the Table: Bring Color to the Table With a Fall Tablescape
We love IKEA®’s STORNÄS extendable table and white INGOLF chairs as the solid base for creating the perfect fall tablescape. The solid pine provides the perfect canvas to bring holiday color to your table.
1. Arrange a Statement Centerpiece
Create a bold and colorful statement centerpiece using the foliage of the season for a totally Instagram-worthy table. One word: Dahlias. These fall flowers are extremely affordable and available in a rainbow of colors with a range of blossoms that never cease to amaze. Pick a bouquet to match your color palette and fill a large, wide vase to the brim demonstrating the bountiful seasonal harvest. But don’t stop there — add squash, pumpkins and gourds galore! We paired eucalyptus leaves with a toned-down selection of white and light green gourds to let the blossoms really pop.
2. Add Some Flair With DIY “Thankful” Placemats and Napkin Rings
To add some additional flare to this tablescape, since color IS our thing, we made custom DIY placemats and napkin rings. They’re so easy to make; just follow along.
Makes 6 placemats
- 6 white linen placemats (like these MARKNAD placemats)
- 6 copies of the pocket and napkin ring template
- 2 copies of the “I’m Thankful For…” template
- 6 yards of pom-pom fringe
- 4 sheets of 12×18-inch felt (we picked 2 colors)
- fabric scissors
- small precision scissors
- hot glue gun
Now that you’ve got your materials in order, let’s get started.
Cut two pieces of pom-pom fringe for the edges of the placemat and glue down. Press lightly, but be careful not to burn your fingers.
Next, make the pocket by cutting out the template. It’s helpful to staple the template to the felt to prevent slipping. Use the fabric scissors to make the large, straight cuts and the small precision scissors for the scalloped details.
Use the template to measure the fold and glue the sides down. Next, adhere the pocket to the placemat. You’ll want to glue two sides and the bottom, leaving the top open, so it will form a second pocket for the utensils to sit in.
Cut out the “I’m Thankful For…” template and fill it out to your heart’s desire. You can customize them for your guests or keep them general. Or take our Calligraphy 101 Online Class and learn how to customize your own and WOW your friends with your mad pen skills. The best part about these DIY pocket placemats is that you can reuse them and fill the pockets for different occasions with name cards or menus.
The napkin ring follows similar steps as the placemat and pocket. Cut out the felt using the template. Measure, cut and glue on the pom-pom fringe. Lastly, glue one end to the other, making a ring.
This place setting is a perfect fit for your fall tablescape, as the colors perfectly complement the floral centerpiece.
3. Get Your Flatware and Plates On Point
The pom-pom and pocket placemat and napkin ring go perfectly with the IKEA® 365+ dinner plates and DRAGON flatware. These lines are so affordable, so we recommend ordering a couple spare pieces for the unexpected guests or the occasional klutz.
Seating and Dining: No RSVP, No Problem!
1. Consider Investing in an Extendable Table
The STORNÄS table is seriously where it’s at. Its extending capabilities are key for any holiday hosting. Plus, it’s good to be prepared, since we all have that flaky friend who often shows up last minute, unannounced and with a plus one in tow.
2. Have Some Extra Seats on Hand
While you may not need to seat a table for six on the regular, having an extra folding chair or two makes it really easy to add additional place settings. These TERJE chairs fit in flawlessly to this dining table setup and are at the perfect price point for Friendsgiving first timers.
3. Make It a Potluck Party
Set a menu ahead of time, and ask your friends to help bring hors d’oeuvres and sides. This will help ease the burden of both cooking and hosting. It’s a nice touch to provide some cute serving plates and bowls for their tasty contributions.
Party Time: Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy
The holidays, while they can be stressful, are a time to spend with your loved ones. Using our prep tips will hopefully help you have a stress-free time. Don’t forget to raise a glass in a toast and enjoy some quality time with your guests.
What tips do you have for someone throwing their first Friendsgiving? Tweet them to us @BritandCo.
DIY Production + Styling: Lindsay Saito, Karen Pham
Photography: Chris Andre
Modeling: Torii Burnett