If Thanksgiving is a bit too much for you — or, simply, you live too far away from your relatives — there's a good chance that you might be celebrating Friendsgiving this year. It's always going to be fun to eat delicious food with your buddies, but, if this is your first Friendsgiving, you might be wondering what to bring to Friendsgiving to truly make the most out of the holiday. No need to stress out about it too much — Friendsgiving is rarely a rigid holiday, since it's often spent with people who might not have access to fancy kitchen equipment or expensive dinnerware. The main goal is to have fun, enjoy the incredible company you've surrounding yourself with, and feast on dishes made by people you love.
Of course, in order to have a successful Friendsgiving, you need to think about one key component — organization. Like all gatherings, you wouldn't want eight people to bring stuffing, and one person to bring a bottle of wine. Make sure the host communicates with their guests about what is still necessary, and what food needs should be fulfilled. If your Friendsgiving is focused around a turkey, make sure that the person preparing the main course isn't given any other task. If the party is big, two turkeys might be necessary, so also keep numbers in mind.
If it's not the main course, and you're looking for a few other creative things to add to the night, here are a few ideas that might help inspire you.
1. Mixed CDs
Or, if you're not into CDs, some kind of playlist. Since it's 2016, you might want to check and make sure the host actually has a CD player in their house. You'd be surprised, as they're slowly becoming a rarity.
If that doesn't work out, there are still plenty of ways to bring and share music, and you're going to need a lot of upbeat tunes throughout the night. Have fun with it, and perhaps use it as an excuse to finally listen to some brand new 2016 releases that you haven't had the chance to hear yet.
2. Mashed Potatoes
Can't all food be on this list? Well, yes — and spoiler alert, it won't stop at mashed potatoes. If the Thanksgiving episode of Friends taught us anything, it's that people definitely have preferences when it comes to mashed potatoes. Whether you enjoy yours smooth or lumpy, make it and gift it to the party. If someone else already laid claim to the mashed potatoes, you can also whip up some mashed sweet potatoes for a little change of pace.
3. A Side Vegetable
It's not fun, and it's probably not the first thing that'll get grabbed from the list of food for the potluck, but it's definitely important to have. Not only are vegetables fairly cheap, they're nutritious and will add some color to the table. Making cooked carrots (or heck, even bringing them raw with some dip as an appetizer) is one of the easiest tasks you can accomplish.
4. Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Since you love your friends, make sure they don't have to come face-to-face with the canned stuff. One truly festive recipe belongs to Jamie over at My Baking Addiction, who uses granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice to give it a bit of a kick. But even better? It'll take just 15 minutes to make, but taste like it took hours.
5. A Card Game
Friendsgiving is just like a party, so obviously you'll need a bit of entertainment. Besides Cards Against Humanity (which is great fun) you can also pick up games like Pass The Blame Game and the Awkward Moment Card Game to help liven things up a bit.
No matter what, you can never have too many pies. Even if someone already claimed pumpkin, it's a guarantee that adding a pecan or a hazelnut pie won't be a terrible thing. Pie is definitely one of the best parts of the whole meal, and unlike the green beans, friends will be dying to bring home leftovers.
7. A Specialty (Alcoholic) Drink
Fancy yourself as a bartender? Are you and all your friends over 21? Well, then maybe it's about time that you gave the gathering its own special drink. If Friendsgiving is a constant tradition, having a new drink to mark each year will make it more special. Of course, just make sure it's not ridiculously strong — it's called Friendsgiving, not Hospitalizationgiving.
8. Bottles Of Water
Speaking of too much booze, having some bottles of water that you can throw in the fridge is an incredible gift to bring. Not only will nobody naturally think of it, but it could be a lifesaver sometime during the night — especially if you hang out with a rowdy crowd. If you want to jazz them up a bit, some drink add-ins (think Crystal Light packets, or even Mio) might add a bit of zest to things.
9. Napkins, Plates, And Extra Silverware
You don't have to get fancy with these — surely your friends wouldn't turn down paper plates or plastic utensils. If it's a big group, it might even be ideal, since nobody wants to wash 20 dishes and 12 serving bowls at the end of the night. These items are easily forgettable, but truly important. What's the purpose of Friendsgiving if you don't have access to a fork?
10. A Willingness To Be Designated Driver
If you have no money, this might be the best offer of all. By vowing to stay sober throughout the festivities, you're allowing your friends to be able to let loose a bit without having to worry about transportation. Really, it's the best job of all, and your buddies will be really appreciative that you're looking out for the safety (as well as the safety of others on the road, of course.) Just, of course, make sure to volunteer if you know you can actually do it. If you say you can, and then realize you can't the night of, that's a lot of Uber fees you'll be in charge of.
11. Breakfast, For The Next Morning
If the friends don't have anywhere to be tomorrow (and the host has ample room) they might just bring a sleeping bag and crash. If that's the case, you can provide the supplies for the next-day breakfast. That way, nobody has to worry about calculating McDonalds breakfast orders. Or, leaving the house. Might this make you the Friendsgiving hero? Oh, but of course.
12. A Polaroid Camera
Sure, a lot of people will be taking Friendsgiving photos on their phone. But, what better way to celebrate than with tangible photos? Polaroids are fun, since you get instant satisfaction. Also, you can string your best shots together, create a bit of holiday decor, and compare them to next year's photos. It'll be a good way to see how much has changed since the prior year.
Image Credits: My Baking Addiction, Giphy, Joyce Diva/E+/Getty Images