It’s not always easy to get everyone together for the holidays. In the case of 2020, it was downright impossible with the spread of COVID-19.

Still, let’s not forget that Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful. The year may have been kind of “blah,” but you have so much to be thankful for, whether it’s good health, delicious food, or for many of us, an awesome group of friends.

So don’t let anything stop you from celebrating Friendsgiving! You can still host an epic celebration, even if you can’t all get together. All it takes is a little creativity!

What is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is a party where you share a traditional Thanksgiving meal with your friends rather than your family. It’s usually potluck style with everyone bringing their own dish and is scheduled sometime before or after the holiday.

The point of Friendsgiving is to spend time with your crew, which often feels like your second family. It can be a bummer to not physically be in the same room with these people for Friendsgiving, but rest assured, you still have plenty of ways you can celebrate!

How to Celebrate Friendsgiving If You Can’t Get Together

You can still celebrate Friendsgiving as a group, even if you can’t visit each other in person. Give any of these ideas a try!

#1: Write an Old-Fashioned Letter

Ask all of your friends to share a few kind words about what they appreciate about each other. Everybody can write a letter on old-fashioned stationery, and mail them via snail mail to one central location. You can then have a designated host read the letters out loud over a group Zoom meeting.

Make it feel more special by doing a toast after every letter. After all, who doesn’t like an excuse to drink wine?!

#2: Cook the Same Easy Meal as a Group

Even though you’re not gathering around the same table, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat the same delicious meal. Typically, one friend will make the turkey, another will whip up the potatoes, and someone else will bake the pie. Forgo this division of work and give everyone the same easy recipe to make on their own at home instead.

Get on FaceTime while you eat, or even while you’re wearing the apron and doing the cooking. It won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything if you’re all eating the same food!

#3: Mail Gifts

Christmas may be a month away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mail gifts to all your friends early for Thanksgiving! Choose something that’s themed for the season, whether it’s custom whisks for holiday baking or stylish scarves for the cold weather.

It’s a little something, but it can make them think of you when you can’t be together. You’ll love seeing pictures of them using your gift on Facebook and Instagram!

#4: Watch a Feel Good Movie

Pick an uplifting movie that you can watch as a group. Netflix Party, a service released by the streaming site in 2020, makes it easy for you to watch the same movie online, pause it whenever you want, and chat with your friends while it plays.

Here are some movie suggestions (if they’re available via streaming):

  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • Home for the Holidays
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Ratatouille
  • Soul Food
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Look for comedies or animated films that make everyone smile. Now’s not the time to put on a tearjerker, or a slow-paced period piece. Pop the popcorn and enjoy the film (and the hilarious commentary) as a group!

#5: Deliver DoorDash

It might be weird to eat McDonald’s or pizza in honor of Turkey Day, but sometimes it’s okay to shed tradition. Order a meal for your friends from a local restaurant and have it delivered via DoorDash or Grubhub.

Are you saving up for holiday gifts and short on funds? DoorDash and Grubhub offer promotional deals all the time! Do a quick Google search before you send the order to your friends.

#6: Make a Leftover Cookbook

Get an email thread going and ask all of your friends to share their favorite leftover recipe. This can be any recipe that involves reusing Thanksgiving food like turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. Once everyone’s submitted a recipe, ask the most creative and tech-savvy person in your friend group to put it all together into digital cookbooks that everyone can use!

This is an easy thing to do as a group, and the recipes are sure to come in handy for all those leftovers. While you’re not actually seeing each other, you’ll still feel close working together on the same project.

#7: Drive in a Thanksgiving Car Parade

Move over, Macy’s Day Parade! Everyone can decorate their car in festive Thanksgiving décor, balloons, and streamers and drive by a central location. Choose a place you all know and love like the high school you graduated from, or one of your childhood homes.

This idea may not work if you live in different states, but it’s great for those who live in driving distance from one another. If you do live farther away, make a TikTok video of your decorated car and share it with your friends that way instead. You can even tape pictures of your friends onto your car to make it seem like they’re there with you!

#8: Create a Spotify Playlist

Music makes everyone happier! With that in mind, ask your friends to contribute Thanksgiving themed songs to a Spotify playlist. You can then choose a dedicated date for your “Friendsgiving” and play the music throughout the day. Text each other and share your thoughts and feelings about the music choices!

It might seem like Christmas gets all the good songs, but there are some wonderful Turkey Day tunes out there! Here are some recommendations:

  • “Mashed Potato Love” by Chubby Checker
  • “Gratitude” by The Beastie Boys
  • “Be Thankful for What You’ve Got” by Massive Attack
  • “Boogie Pilgrim” by Elton John
  • “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by The Four Tops
  • “Soul Kitchen” by The Doors
  • “Thank You” by Sly & The Family Stone
  • “Flying Turkey Trot” by REO Speedwagon

This playlist should be fun and uplifting, so try to avoid any slow jams or songs about loss. You may not be able to be with your friends this year, but you still want to feel all the same good vibes that you get when you’re together!

#9: Plan a “Day After” Turkey Trot

Boy, that was some Thanksgiving feast! All that turkey, stuffing, and pie has you feeling like you need bigger pants. To deal with the carb overload, plan to walk or run a few miles with your friend group the day after Thanksgiving.

You don’t all need to trot the same path to make this work! Go to a forest preserve near you, or stick with your respective blocks. From there, get on FaceTime as you stroll, or have a group Zoom meeting with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate after the jog is over. Technology makes it so easy for you to stay connected!

#10: Share Old Pictures & Stories

The best way to celebrate your friendship is by sharing memories! Reach out to your group, and have everyone share their favorite picture of you as friends, along with the story behind the picture.

Make it even more special by downloading a photo sharing app. Family Album is a great one to use as you can comment on individual photos, and even utilize the video feature that compiles all the photos together into a mini “movie.” It may not be as cool as talking about these memories in person, but it’s the next best thing!

Final Thoughts

It’s always better to see your friends in person, but sometimes that’s just not an option. Maybe someone just had a baby, they moved to a new state, or as is the case in 2020, a national pandemic has shut everything down and forced everyone into quarantine.

But let’s not forget we have our brains and we have technology! We can easily stay connected with our friends during the holidays. Give any of the ideas above a try, or use them as inspiration to brainstorm your own ideas. Either way, make sure to celebrate your friendship this Thanksgiving!

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.