Look at you, all grown up and hosting a Friendsgiving gathering.

Chances are that up until now you’ve either scraped up the money to head home to celebrate turkey day with your family or other friends have hosted.

Throwing a Friendsgiving celebration is a huge adult milestone, but it isn’t without its stress. For many Americans, Thanksgiving is an incredibly special holiday that is both nostalgic and incredibly personal. That being said, pulling off a delicious and memorable holiday meal is no easy feat.

Here’s the truth: You’re likely to shell out a fair amount of money in order to feed your friends, and you’ll probably have to battle different and conflicting expectations on what, say, the turkey and dressing should taste like.

There is no need to freak out, though. Follow this guide and you’ll have a foolproof plan to not only ensure you’re serving some amazing dishes but also making memories and new traditions with your tribe.

Get a headcount

Whether this is your first time opening up your home and cooking for a party of people or you’re a pro, you’ll probably want to get a guest count. Technology has made it easier than ever to get in touch with anyone you’d want to invite.

Other Friendsgiving recipes you could serve:

Brussels Sprouts with Country Ham

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Dill

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts

Sea Island Red Pea and Vegetable Purloo

There is no need to get all fancy and send out actual invitations -- who has the spare money anyway? Instead, consider sending out a mass text or an email to figure out how many people to expect. This is step numero uno to figuring out how much food you actually need to purchase and cook.

Create a menu

Speaking of food, Friendsgiving is a good time to veer off the beaten path since everyone will be eating the traditional fare soon enough. If you’re tired of baked turkey, fry it. Better yet, skip it altogether in favor of an herb stuffed pork loin or crowd-pleasing pot roast. Can’t imagine eating another spoonful of mashed potatoes? Put truffle oil in them. Secretly can’t stand green bean casserole? Make this dish with clams and bacon in it instead.

Friendsgiving is also the perfect opportunity to celebrate the different cultures and traditions in your friend group. Consider opening up the menu to include dishes like Vietnamese Pho, a Low Country boil or even tamales. 

Keep table decor easy elegant

If you’ve never gone down the Pinterest décor rabbit hole, you know the possibilities for Thanksgiving decorations are endless. While you may be tempted to bust out your best DIY and create name cards and bespoke squash decorations, please don’t.

Your energy can be better used elsewhere (like coming up with cocktails). Consider getting brown craft paper to use as a sort of table cloth. Not only can guests write their names on it, but once you’re done with dinner, it’s easy to just throw away.

If you absolutely have to decorate tea lights and acorns can be purchased in bulk at craft stores. They’re a relatively inexpensive way to set the mood.

Speaking of setting the mood

Music goes a long way to setting the tone for the evening. A great playlist will help put your guests in a festive mood and give them some direction in terms of what kind of event they’re in for.

No, you don’t have to spend hours selecting individual songs you want to play. A lot of streaming services offer curated playlists already or you could always select an artist you like and play a radio station based on that.

Have your drinks ready (a lot of them)

Make one large batched cocktail and make sure there is plenty of wine as well. The absolute last thing you want is to be making people cocktails one by one.

Also, ask your crew to bring their favorite bottle (or two) of wine with them. You are cooking after all!

Send everyone home with leftovers

During Thanksgiving, leftovers are almost more exciting than the actual dinner. To ensure that you’re not stuck with a month’s worth of leftovers, make take-home containers available to everyone and encourage (read: force) your guests to each take home a portion of food before they leave.

Remember to be grateful

Moments such as these truly make up a life. Remember during the hustle and stress of putting on your Friendsgiving celebration to take a moment to be grateful for the people who have chosen to gather with you and observe a holiday that is all about appreciating what you already have.