Thanksgiving is typically thought of as an opportunity to reunite with family. But it can also be a chance to bring together your chosen family—the friends you’ve surrounded yourself with over the years. These are the people who will always pick up the phone when you need to talk at some early morning hour. Who will listen to your stories, remind you of your strength when you’re down, and make fun of you when you deserve it. Thanksgiving can be the perfect time to reconvene with them and serve a home-cooked meal to express your gratitude for their company on the roller coaster of life. Things change as time passes, but a Friendsgiving vacation could be a great way to celebrate that which doesn’t: the love and support of your dearest friends.
How to plan a Friendsgiving vacation
1. Figure out who’s coming
Send out some feelers for who would be interested and able to attend your Friendsgiving vacation. You’ll want an idea of how big your party is going to be before you start planning where to stay and what your menu will look like.
2. Determine where you’ll host
While many of your friends may live near you, others have moved far and wide. Choose a convenient place for everyone to travel to and make a vacation out of the event. Ideally, your location will have a variety of vacation rentals to choose from so you can find the one best suited to your group. It will also have some cool attractions so you can make a whole weekend vacation and have fun with your friends. We recommend Saugatuck—but we’re biased.
3. Select your vacation rental
Find a vacation rental that suits your group. Make sure it has enough sleeping arrangements for your guest list, a well-equipped kitchen, spacious dining table, and any special amenities you think will bring your Friendsgiving vacation to the next level. Decide if you want it to be close to any attractions you’ll want to take advantage of or if you’d rather it be tucked away and private for a weekend spent in.
3. Plan the menu
Will you do all the cooking? Or will it be a potluck? Get an idea of what you’d like to eat and coordinate how to execute the feast with your friends. Don’t forget to bring some tasty beverages to pair with your Friendsgiving meal, too.
4. Send the invite
Make it official with a nice invitation. Let your friends know where and when the dinner will take place. If you’re doing a potluck, you could have your friends RSVP with the dish they plan to bring. Once you receive the RSVPs, you can figure out how to balance out your meal. Sending paper invites may seem over-the-top, but it’s an easy way to add an extra layer of care and cuteness to the party.
5. Make a Friendsgiving playlist
Get on Spotify and start compiling songs to play during your gathering. Make a mix of light dining music and toss in some throwback songs that will send your friends down memory lane and maybe catch some laughs. Background music is a necessary component of a dinner party, and it will set a festive mood.
6. Arrive, set up, and let your Friendsgiving vacation take off
Once you’ve planned everything, the next step is just to show up and let your vacation take whatever shape it wants to take. You’ve got all the ingredients you need for a memorable, unique Thanksgiving spent expressing gratitude for the wonder of friendship.