If you're planning a get-together with your chosen family this fall, you're in luck, because I've found 15 books to read before you host Friendsgiving for the first time. Party planning is hard, but it doesn't have to be impossible, and these books are here to help you put together a memorable event for the most important people in your life.
Friendsgiving may be a relatively new holiday, but it's quickly becoming a major tradition in our lives. What's better than making your friends a priority during the busy, busy holidays — and sharing a meal with them to boot? Even if you're still on good enough terms with your family to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving, you shouldn't think of Friendsgiving as less important than any other holiday.
I've picked out the books on the list below to help you host your first Friendsgiving, and I've kept all your needs in mind. Whether you need help with menu planning, wine selection, or just the etiquette of hosting in general, there's something to aid you in your new hosting role.
The Friendsgiving Handbook by Emily Stephenson
What better book to read than the literal book on Friendsgiving? Emily Stephenson's The Friendsgiving Handbook contains 25 recipes perfect for any dinner table, plus advice on planning your meal, decorating for the season, and making your guests comfortable. If you only have time to read one book before you host Friendsgiving, make it this one.
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker
Friendsgiving is already a break away from more traditional ways of spending the holidays with relatives, but for anyone looking to shake things up — or to improve upon last year's get-together — there's Priya Parker's The Art of Gathering. This book tackles all kinds of social functions, from business to pleasure, examining what makes them successful and what will doom them from the start. It's a must-read for any budding party host.
It's All in the Timing: Plan, Cook, and Serve Great Meals with Confidence by Gail Monaghan
Have you ever tried to cook dinner, only to find that your side dishes had grown cold while your main course was finishing up in the oven? If you want to learn how to time your meals to be the perfect serving temperature when it's time to eat, you need Gail Monaghan's It's All in the Timing. Trust me, you'll still be using this book as a handy reference, long after your first Friendsgiving is behind you.
Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks by André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington
With advice on choosing your music and your signature cocktail, this book is a two-for-one deal you won't want to miss! Written by brother-sister duo André and Tenaya Darlington, Booze & Vinyl helps you pick out cocktails to pair with dozens of fantastic albums you can use to set the mood for your Friendsgiving celebration. With listens spanning decades and genres, you're sure to find something to love here.
The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
If some of your guests are vegan or vegetarian, or even if you yourself are, you may want to pick up a quick and dirty guide to meat-free holiday cooking. Isa Chandra Moskowitz's The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook is here to save your bacon... er... fakon? In addition to recipes for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, this cookbook also contains entries for Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo, so you can keep hosting great, dietary-restriction-friendly gatherings year-round.
The Unqualified Hostess: I Do It My Way So You Can Too! by Whoopi Goldberg
If you're stressed out about hosting your first Friendsgiving, don't be. In this slim volume, funny lady Whoopi Goldberg will make you feel super comfortable hosting things the best way you can. Whether that means using your grandmother's bone china, or picking up an extra pack of paper plates, The Unqualified Hostess will help you to be confident in whatever table-setting, party-hosting decisions you make this holiday season.
Wine Isn't Rocket Science: A Quick and Easy Guide to Understanding, Buying, Tasting, and Pairing Every Type of Wine by Ophelie Neiman
Hosting an alcohol-free affair is becoming more and more common as millennials go dry, but if you're planning to buy a few bottles of vino for your Friendsgiving dinner, you may want to give this book a try. No matter if you're not a wine drinker, or you just need a little guidance when it comes to pairing food and drinks, Wine Isn't Rocket Science will help to make your wine-buying process and quick and painless as possible.
Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion by Maegan Brown
Is your Friendsgiving more casual than a sit-down meal? Do you want to make a beautiful appetizer spread for your guests to snack on while you finish up the turkey and dressing? Check out Maegan Brown's Beautiful Boards for the inspiration to make a creative and tasty layout of finger foods that your guests are sure to love.
The Gift of Gathering: Beautiful Tablescapes to Welcome and Celebrate Your Friends and Family by Bre Doucette
Rooms for Rent blogger Bre Doucette has written this charming book to help you style your table to bring people together and uplift their spirits. The Gift of Gathering examines what communing with others around the dinner table can do — for us and for them. In addition to traditional holiday dinners — including Friendsgiving — Doucette's book also addresses more casual affairs, such as a picnic or a dinner date on the beach.
Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over by Alison Roman
Worried your Friendsgiving spread won't live up to your friends' expectations — kind of like Monica Geller's disastrous Thanksgiving on Friends? Alison Roman is here to help. In Nothing Fancy, Roman demystifies holiday cooking, offering up easy-to-fix — and easy to master — entrées, sides, and hosting extras that you can use to delight your guests. Not only will your friends be super-thankful to you for hosting Friendsgiving, they'll also be grateful that you've thrown the perfect, "unstuffy" soirée.
Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life by Radha Agrawal
From Daybreaker CEO and co-founder Radha Agrawal comes this book on curating your core support network. Although this may not seem like the kind of book you'd want to read before hosting your first Friendsgiving — I mean, you already know who your friends are, right? — believe me when I tell you that Belong is a must-read for any holiday host. Not only will Agrawal's book help you to identify the people who make you the happiest, but it will also teach you about who you are and what you need from your network of support. Whether Belong helps you trim down your Friendsgiving invitation list, or makes you appreciate your friends just a little bit more, it's the perfect read for your party-planning self.
Mixtape Potluck Cookbook: A Dinner Party for Friends, Their Recipes, and the Songs They Inspire by Questlove
A cookbook with a twist, Questlove's Mixtape Potluck combines recipes and music from your favorite celebrities into a unique read that will make a fantastic addition to your kitchen reference set. From Carla Hall's Pimento Cheese Dip and Biscuit Crackers to Maya Rudolph's Chocolate Chili, there's something here everyone on your guest list will love. Mixtape Potluck will inspire you to tailor your menu and playlist to your friends, with what are sure to be amazing results.
A Great Party: Designing the Ultimate Celebration by Bryan Rafanelli
With a foreword from Chelsea Clinton, Bryan Rafanelli's A Great Party is an event-planner's debut that belongs on your bookshelf. A must-read for anyone who dreams of being the dinner party host of their friend group, this book will show you how to put together unforgettable events that range from ultra-casual to glam and grand. No matter where on this spectrum your Friendsgiving falls, you're going to find something to love in A Great Party.
Bar Cart Style: Creating Super-Chic Cocktail Stations by Ryland Peters & Small
For drinkers who want to be just a little bit extra in serving their alcohol, there's Bar Cart Style — a book that will make you want to buy your own bar cart if you don't own one already. Less a cocktail guide than a how-to book of home décor, Bar Cart Style offers readers creative new looks and uses for the portable furniture items they love. If you want to make your signature cocktail even more of a focal point this Friendsgiving, this is the book you'll want to read first.
Time to Eat: Delicious Meals for Busy Lives by Nadiya Hussain
Look, we're all so busy now that we're lucky to get a Friendsgiving dinner together at all. Thankfully, Nadiya Hussain is here to rescue us from our busy schedules. With simple-but-tasty dishes you can put together at a moment's notice, Time to Eat can round out a Friendsgiving menu for even the busiest host. What's more, it's the perfect book to hand to the friend who offered to help you cook on the big day. You really don't want to miss this one.