(additional reporting by Nicole Weinrich)

There’s no place like home for the holidays… except when you factor in plane tickets that cost a month’s salary, airport delays, snowy drives to your aunt’s house, crazy second cousins, your backseat cook of a sister and all those Thanksgiving traditions for which you aren’t too thankful. Friendsgiving is looking pretty good right now. If you’re saving family togetherness for December, we’ve got your ultimate Friendsgiving guide right here. Not only do we cover etiquette, but we also have a few tips to make hosting this holiday stress-free. You can thank us later.

1. Send Old School Invites: We are big fans of all things digital around here, but sometimes snail mail is just the way to go. A classy dinner party with your friends is the perfect excuse to find pretty paper invitations to invite your friends the old fashioned way. (via A Bar Cart in Brooklyn)

2. It’s Always a Potluck: The O.G. Thanksgiving was a potluck. This should be, too. Be that #girlboss we know you are, put together a list of all the Thanksgiving must-haves and tell people what to bring. Unless anyone requests to make a particular dish, don’t be shy about just saying, “Hey you, you’re in charge of the mashed potatoes. And you over there, you’re making the pumpkin pie.” But within that context, do let everybody have creative freedom to choose their own recipes or buy store-bought without judgement. And be sure everyone knows that they should bring their dishes fully assembled. Have them let you know if they’ll need oven or microwave space to re-heat so you can plan ahead. (via Style Me Pretty)

3. The Host Makes the Turkey and Gravy — End of List: Don’t wing it, people. Read how to make a turkey before you wake up on Thanksgiving morning and realize you’re effed. All that thawing, brining and roasting takes a lot of time (like, days). And while we admire you for wanting to take on more than that and cook some other dishes, don’t do it unless it’s something you can make the day before. (via The Food Charlatan)

4. Assign Appetizers (and Ice!) to the People Who Always Arrive on Time: Have the old reliables get the party started. (via Brit + Co)

5. Assign Main Dishes and Desserts to the Latecomers: Because ain’t nobody got time to be annoyed with a perpetually late friend on the big day of thankfulness. (via Brit + Co)

6. Take Note of Dietary Restrictions: Have friends that are gluten-free/paleo/vegan/allergic to nuts? Make sure there are at least a few dishes that everybody can enjoy regardless of dietary restrictions. (via Brit + Co)

7. Set the Table or Set Up the Buffet Before Guests Arrive: Find a place where are all your guests can comfortably wine, dine and socialize. Whether indoors or outside, stray from your traditional formal Thanksgiving setting and instead opt for something a bit more laid back and casual. And while setting up a magazine-worthy table is lovely (and we applaud the place cards), a serve-yourself buffet is almost always easier and still looks cute when filled with the holiday bounty. And let’s be realistic. Your friends will love you as long as there is food and beverage to be had… and a coffee table to sit around cross-legged while watching Home Alone 2 together. (via Style Me Pretty)

8. Give Your Place Settings Some Pizazz: Don’t ever be afraid to add a bit of color to your tablescape. We love this fun and eclectic mix of patterns and colors for a place setting with major personality. (via Dimples and Tangles)

9. Create Place Cards: You think place cards are a bit too stuffy and formal? Heck no! Make DIY place cards to switch up the seating and get people chatting outside of their typical friend groups for your festive fall celebration. (via Apartment Therapy)

10. Label The Dishes: Save yourself and your guests a bit of sanity by keeping every dish labeled in the most lovely way. This easy addition to your party planning will avoid that awkward “What is this dish?” question that can lurk around the food table. (via A Fabulous Fete Blog)

11. BYOB: Ask everybody to contribute something to share in the drink department. Wine, beer and hard cider are all great options to suggest. As the host, we’d suggest taking charge and grabbing stuff to create a signature Friendsgiving cocktail — or throw some mulled wine or cider on the stove. And coffee. The host is in charge of that, too. (via Style Me Pretty)

12. Institute a Sweatpants-Only Dress Code: What are jeans? Besides the most uncomfortable things in the universe after eating all that stuffing. (via Brit + Co)

13. Game Time: After the feast and subsequent group floor nap, organize something fun like a flag football game or pin-the-hat-on-the-Pilgrim (the drinking version). We suggest having everybody write down things that they are thankful for on scraps of paper and playing charades. We’ve actually rounded up some other fun activities for Friendsgiving here. (via Alpha Mom)

14. Make Mini Desserts: We are all about the pumpkin pie around here, but making your desserts mini can help all your guests continue to chat and drink as the night goes on without being burdened by holding a plate. This easy recipe for mini pumpkin pie bars will ensure that all your guests get their dose of sweetness and socializing. (via Eat Live Run)

15. Doggie Bags: At the end of the night, everybody (including you) should dish up whatever leftovers they want into their own containers to take home. A plastic Ziploc bag will do nicely in a pinch, but takeout containers are great as well. (via The Kitchn)

What other tips do you have for throwing an amazing Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving celebration?