Tips for Planning Your First Friendsgiving

When planning your first Friendsgiving you want everything to be just perfect. Right? Well, the first rule is don’t worry so much!

It’s so important to make sure while your guests are enjoying themselves that you are as well. Sure, we’d all like to entertain like Martha Stewart, but most of us are a bit more Sandra Lee—“semi-homemade.”

Yes, it’s OK not to make everything from scratch. So cut yourself a break and enjoy the day spent with your friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen. Pop some premade frozen appetizers (either store-bought or homemade) into the oven to have ready when your guests start arriving.

And speaking of those guests . . . lean on them a little! Ask them to bring a dish to share.

As with any dinner party (and perhaps more so on Thanksgiving) you’ll want to be mindful of your guests’ food allergies or preferences. If there’s a vegetarian in the group, make sure you have more to offer them than salad and potatoes—likewise with gluten-intolerant guests. Setting out a smattering of sides to accommodate most diets will provide variety and ensure that everyone feels included and gets enough to eat. A hearty rice dish, roasted squash and gluten-free cornbread are all crowd-pleasing options for even the pickiest eaters.

Finally, instead of leaving the table to prepare dessert, be sure to have a premade dessert on-hand, such as fresh bakery treats or a frozen pie to bake while your guests are digesting the bird.