Hosting an Ugly Sweater Friendsgiving in December

Who said you can't have a Friendsgiving in December? Personally, it was more magical with the house decorated for both Hanukkah and Christmas and we turned it into a Ugly Sweater Friendsgiving! It's fun during the holiday season to gather with friends and family and celebrate with delicious food, cocktails and conversations!

Whereas Thanksgiving can be a stressful meal, the premise in my opinion of Friendsgiving is more of a relaxed and casual meal enjoyed by friends you treasure! This year, knowing we didn't want to spend time in the kitchen cleaning post meal we decided to go with upscale looking paper goods from a local place, Amazing Savings. This not only saved time on cleaning but allowed for a quick setup and breakdown and more time spent with friends!

We went back and forth on the color of the tablecloth and it is something we probably should have picked first, but lets be real, doing things backwards sometimes is more exciting. I love how the gold popped on the sparkle red tablecloth and in the end the table looked wonderful!

For centerpieces, which many believe make or break the table, we took some fake flowers from a vase we keep in the entry way and split it, make two pieces for each vase! Keeping with the reds and oranges it really did give the table a little more pizazz!

We lucked out with the first snowfall this year falling on our Friendsgiving. We didn't know how bad it would be and if guests wouldn't make it; however everyone was so looking forward that it worked out and everyone showed up! Looking out the window, watching the snow fall as we were surrounded with friends and family made the party!

What is a friendsgiving with out the cocktails, beer and wine? Our house is stocked with a great mini bar and we always have a few extra beers laying around. When planning a party, I tend to go by a 2-3 drink rule, minus a DD. Having been a designated driver I know that I would probably only have one or two drinks. Our party went from 3:30-11 so you have time to stretch it out. 16 people 3 drinks means two beers. 1 glass of champagne for a toast and an after dinner drink! For the most part my calculations worked and we have plenty of beer and wine left over! Keep the beer and wine simple and make one holiday cocktail!

Does anyone ever under cook? We have enough leftovers for 2 more full friendsgiving parties if we wanted too! Be sure to invite your family over if they live close by for dinner the next night, a great way to get rid of some of the food! You can also repurpose it for lunch and dinner for the week as well!

Happy Hour from 3:30-6 is for all the appetizers. A mix between hot and cold is usually a good call. My sister loves her a good cheese platter and insists on making them for any holiday gathering. Can you tell me one person who doesn't love Pigs in a Blanket? They are always the first to go and somehow this year we have  a few left over. Shrimp Cocktail platter, chips & dip, and Mozzarella Sticks are also a good bet! Chips & Beer were a big hit and I recommend getting a salsa from a local authentic Mexican restaurant if you can!

Dinner and dessert follow and by the end of the night no one can breathe and you know you threw a wonderful party! Be sure to make sure to constantly refill the dips as they usually go pretty quick especially if they are in smaller bowls.

When your guests are arriving be sure to be ready, in costume to greet them! As the hosts, make sure you set a good precedent for the Ugly Sweater Party. Santa, the Christmas Tree, and Elf make the perfect, 3's Company, right?

Since the menu was made, the friends were able to fill in the blanks, bringing the stuffing, baked ziti, lo mein, and brownies! This year we changed things up offering both Ham or Chicken Cutlets. If you are going to make cutlets and have the time, make them the night before the party to save cook time. Anything that can be pre-prepped would be great! Being thorough we made a cooking timeline, an oven reheating timeline, and an app prep timeline.

Take your time at dinner. Start with a champagne toast, let everyone mention something they are thankful for, and then dig in. We passed around plates so everyone could sample a little of everything. Once your plate made it around once you were able to hand it on if you wanted more of one thing over another. Be sure to thank the guests who brought the gifts and let them know if you enjoyed their contribution!

Sit back and watch for a minute as multiple conversations are happening, and soak in the moment when everyone has a smile on their face. My sister and her BF the main hosts of our Friendsgiving really go all out and it's wonderful to see the smile on their faces as everyone is laughing, drinking, and eating!

I acted as the photographer for the evening and it was fun to get photos of some of the costumes as well as the friends surrounded by each other. Some of my greatest memories are in photos and I love being able to look back! You can have a fun Polaroid camera as well as professional one. In this day and age the phone camera is the quickest and sometimes the best!

Friendships are key to having a wonderful friendsgiving and these ladies have friendships dating back to elementary school. They've shared weddings, engagements, and so much more!

As for the Ugly Sweater Costume be sure you have a small gift for the winner if you are making it into a contest. We had a small Starbucks gift card for the winner, after three rounds of ties.

 And the winner was:

Always end the evening with dessert, my favorite part, and one in my opinion that should include Chocolate in any form. We broke out the fondue pot and it was a hit! Marshmallows, fruit, rice crispy bites, and more are perfect for it!

Send friends home with leftovers and you will still have enough for lunch/dinner for the week. Thank everyone for coming and clean up the food the night of the party. The next morning is when you will do a deep clean of the house! Overall HAVE FUN!!!!!

Have you hosted a Friendsgiving or Ugly Sweater Party?



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