How to Host a Virtual Friendsgiving That Doesn't Suck

How to Host a Virtual Friendsgiving That Doesn't Suck

If you’re anything like us, Friendsgiving is an event you look forward to the entire year. It’s the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, and World Series of hosting. Not to mention, it’s the official kick-off to the holiday season.

Friendsgiving encompasses your tried and true traditions (much like the Gellar Family Cup). It’s your pre-Thanksgiving. You know, the one that puts your head on straight before you have to see your extended family? It’s an essential precursor to getting asked “Are you dating anyone?” and “What happened to _______ (insert name of your ex who hasn’t been around for three years, and who was a total dud, but your family still loves him)?”. 

For some, it’s bear-hugging people you haven’t seen in 6 months. It’s that warm feeling on an airplane, flying home to see your chosen family. That’s like lightning in a bottle and we wish we could capture it. 

For people-people, it doesn’t get better than your favorite humans gathering around the same table. Not to mention the added bonus of the best comfort foods… pass the mashed potatoes, please.

In a world where the Thanksgiving table is now a virtual meeting room, how do we make the most of it? We’re going to be honest, virtual Halloween was tough. Even so, we pivoted and made lemonade from our lemons. But virtual Friendsgiving? This one stings. The whole point of the holiday is thankfulness and togetherness. And while we try to exercise gratitude often, it’s a bit harder to do when your loved ones aren’t within reach. We’re feeling the heartache and want to encourage you through the disappointment. This year can hold space for things to be both different and special.

To get you on-board, here are our favorite ways to make Friendsgiving not suck this year: 

Send an Invitation

For all your virtual events this year, we’ve recommended our friends at Paperless Post. It’s an easy, quick way to drum up some excitement for the event.

If you’d like to up your game a little more, Greetabl is perfect to send a little love to your faraway friends. You can include a mini-treat for your people (who says dessert can’t come first?) or something fun like confetti. If one thing is for certain, 2020 could use a little (or a lotta) confetti.

Meal Prep

In years past, we’d assign various dishes for one another to bring. Joe has the candied yams. Zoë is responsible for the turkey (yikes… short straw, am I right?). Brittany is in charge of the stuffing. This year, assign a recipe for each person to share. You will have to make the dishes yourself… but you’ll have a table full of Joe’s candied yams, Zoë’s turkey, and Brittany’s stuffing. Well, at least in theory. 

Not into cooking the whole spread? Here are a few other alternatives:

  • If you live within driving distance of your people, create a meal train of contactless delivery drop off. When you return home, your front door will be full of shared dishes. This takes the term “comfort food” to the next level.  
  • Not into preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal? We get that. It’s not a traditional year. We recommend you order Postmates from the same restaurant (or from ones with a similar cuisine!). It doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s something oddly comforting about DoorDash’ing McDonald’s. Think of the memories to come. Or, put a fun twist on dinnertime and swap names for ordering. You’ll be in charge of ordering Abby’s meal. Abby is in charge of ordering Justin’s. Justin is responsible for nailing Ali’s. It makes for a fun surprise at your door and switches up the traditional “scroll, order, and wait” song and dance. 
Image of bowl of Caramel Chocolate Popcorn on a Thanksgiving themed table

Make it Interactive

We like the idea of creating something interactive and personal within your group, like a game of “Most Likely To…” or “Never Have I Ever”. Is Courtney Most Likely to Run Late? Is Cora Most Likely to Burn Her Entree? Is Paige Most Likely to Get Emotional Over Old Memories? If your group’s love language is a good-hearted roast, we love this idea for some light-hearted laughs.

If you’re looking for something more activity-based, you could create your own “wine and paint” night. Appoint someone to be the Bob Ross of your group and follow along with their instructions. Remember, you don’t have to be artistic to do this. If you’re not the least bit artsy, it’s entertainment for everyone else.

Remember the Keeping Up With The Kardashians episode where everyone imitated a family member? Get creative like Kris Jenner, but maybe without the fallout afterward.

To explore game options, refer to this list from the experts at Good Housekeeping. 

Make it Festive

We’ve been staring at the same walls for months (we don’t even want to count how many). Make Friendsgiving feel extra special with some fall-themed decor. C’mon, you guys. We’re practically giving you a free pass to buy alllll the fall things you’ve been eyeing at Target and Home Goods. You’re welcome.

Create a Virtual Photo Booth

Create a Zoom background and take a screenshot of your group. This background could be your former college hangout spot. It could be the dining room where Friendsgiving is normally held. Heck, your background could be the moon. This year, anything goes.  If you really want to get into it, dress up in costume to support the theme. You’ll look back on this picture with great fondness. We’ll call it, “The One With The Quarantined Friendsgiving”.

Watch a Thanksgiving-themed Sitcom Together 

Speaking of… if you took the plunge on HBO Max, throw on any one of the Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes. We’re partial to The One With Brad Pitt (technically titled, “The One with the Rumor”) or The One With All The Thanksgivings. Seeing Joey with a turkey stuck on his head will never get old.

Honorable Thanksgiving episodes include Seinfeld, Cheers, Will & Grace,  Gilmore Girls, and How I Met Your Mother. 

Express Gratitude

Before you roll your eyes at us, wait. It’s going to be super easy to wish this year away and discuss how much 2020 sucks. And you know? That’s fair.

However, in the absence of missing normalcy with your people, don’t forget to tell them you love them. If we’ve learned anything, it’s not to take the small moments for granted. We sound like a total parent BUT remember to carve out some time to say who and what you’re thankful for. If you don’t do it on the video call, that’s understandable. Follow up with a text. Record a voice memo. Send a Greetabl gift. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to speak thankfulness to your people.

A Note on Teamsgiving

If you’re lucky enough to have a close-knit team, you’re really going to miss celebrating Thanksgiving together. Speaking for Team Greetabl, we’re missing one another extra this time of year.

To combat the holiday blues, we recommend carving out a few hours in your workday to pause for a few moments of gratitude. Maybe you have a Thanksgiving-themed team lunch. Maybe you all dress up as turkeys to one of your team meetings. Maybe you send a Greetabl gift to your co-workers and tell them you’re thankful for them. Just like your friends, take this as an opportunity to express gratitude for the people in your life. It’s been a heck of a year and we all need to hear it.

To our amazing community, we’re sending extra love and support this holiday season.