1. Have enough food — and wine.
This super-handy chart breaks down how much food you’ll need depending on the number of people you’re having over. I know what you’re thinking: Only three bottles of wine to split between five people?!!!?! OK, so have a few extra bottles just in case.
2. Consider starting the day with breakfast.
Why limit the Friendsgiving food to the turkey? With breakfast, you can get everybody in the house early (more hands to help you get ready for dinner). It makes the whole day feel more comfortable and more like family. Throw a sheet pan of bacon into the oven and cook it in bulk, then set out eggs so people can DIY however they like them — you’re not a short-order cook. Or prep a quiche or breakfast casserole the night before so all you have to do is turn on the oven and heat it up the next morning.
3. Have snacks on hand for munching on throughout the day.
People eat. It’s unbelievable sometimes when you’re a host how much food people can consume, but the last think you want to do is leave them hungry. So stock up on the bagged snacks. Even chips and crackers should be enough to keep your friends busy and fed instead of starving, omg, feed me now.
4. Give your friends a chance to reflect.
Losing the thanks in Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you can’t find a moment to express your gratitude. Cover your table with packing paper, then draw some lines at each setting for people to write down why they feel #blessed.
5. Cut yourself some slack.
It doesn’t have to be “perfect.” You can go easy on the decorations. Repurpose those mini pumpkins you picked up earlier in the season, or buy a mixed bouquet of flowers, split it up, and fill two small mason jars with the blooms.
6. Get it all premade.
If the thought of making your own decorations gives you the hives, just throw down a few dollars and buy Friendsgiving in a box. The kit pictured above even comes with boxes for leftovers.
And, if you really can’t handle cooking the turkey on your own, you can preorder a precooked turkey for pick-up at Whole Foods Market.
7. Make an easy cocktail and look really classy.
For something this easy, the payoff is pretty amazing. Mix 8 parts apple cider and 1 part dark rum (you can also use a whiskey such as bourbon) in a punch bowl (or a mixing bowl like the one pictured above). Add apple slices or cinnamon sticks and cloves if you want to make it extra cute.
8. Play a drinking game.
If you’ve gone the paper tablecloth route for giving thanks, this might be overkill, but here’s one drinking game idea: Have everyone write down three things they’re thankful for on a notecard. Keep the cards anonymous and the thankful clues vague. Then, have each guest choose a card. This person should read the clues out loud for the other people to guess who wrote the card. If the group can’t figure it out, the reader keeps reading clues. If the group guesses who the card belongs to on the first try, the owner of the card drinks. If no one guesses, the owner of the card chooses someone who drinks.
9. Have containers for leftovers.
You’re most likely a supremely generous host who prepared way more food than everybody had room for. In any case, there will be leftovers! You can’t possibly eat all that food yourself, so give it away — and have containers on hand so people can easily take their leftovers home.