Friendsgiving celebration

How to Have a Friendsgiving You’ll Never Forget

November 1, 2021  |  Carter Mountain Orchard

Category: Food & Recipes  |  Tags: Charlottesville, holidays

Friendsgiving is an opportunity to gather together and celebrate those who hold a special place in your heart. It’s a special blend of old traditions and new.

Whether you are hosting or attending a celebration this year, follow these creative ideas, desserts, and activities for a Friendsgiving you’ll never forget!

Divvy Up the Duties

These days, we could all use a little stress reduction. What better way to lift the weight off your shoulders than to share the Friendsgiving responsibilities? Everyone can pitch in: hosting, decorating, bringing dessert, contributing wine, and preparing side dishes. Nothing beats a good potluck!

To really make Friendsgiving preparations a breeze, send your friends a digital signup sheet before the big event. Google Docs is a helpful resource, as everyone can collaborate to ensure every base is covered. Otherwise, your Friendsgiving may end up looking more like a dessert bar than a meal!

Save Time With Tried and True Goodies

You’ll have plenty of time to stand over a hot stove on Thanksgiving Day, so save time by stocking up on prepared items. Plus, if you do decide to cook, those ready-made treats will serve as a backup in the event of a kitchen disaster (we’ve all been there). 

Cozy fall desserts are a Thanksgiving staple. If you’re looking for the same curl up next to the fireplace feeling at your Friendsgiving, pre-order a Carter Mountain apple pie by November 21.

Fresh-baked apple pie

Prepare Homemade Dishes in Advance

If possible, start preparing your Friendsgiving contributions in advance. Nothing is worse than planning to make a stellar side dish, only to have forgotten about a doctor’s appointment and finding yourself out of time to cook. 

To take the semi-homemade route in dessert preparations, use apple cider donuts to make cider donut bread pudding!

Carter Mountain's homemade cider donut bread pudding

One important thing to consider when preparing in advance is how exactly you’re going to reheat the food for dinnertime. Consider choosing something that doesn’t have to be reheated, like roasted pumpkin seeds, cranberry sauce, or deviled eggs (remember: oven space is limited). Need the inspiration to get started on your Friendsgiving dish? We’ve got plenty of holiday cooking ideas to help you out!

Set the Scene

Harvest decor, of course, is an integral part of any Friendsgiving feast. If you’re the artistic friend in the group, here are a few ideas to kick off your decorating!

Use mini pumpkins as name cards. Write each of your pal’s names on a small pumpkin to leave at their place setting. It’s an adorably thoughtful and really easy addition to the decor.  

Get crafty with a leaf bouquet. Homemade bouquets are a cost-effective way to level up your harvest decor, all you’ll need are leaves!

Turn colorful gourds into a centerpiece. Miniature gourds come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Stack them in a glass vase or carefully place them in a tray for a unique and festive centerpiece!

Carter Mountain gourds in basket

Make a playlist. Music can set the scene just as well as any decorations! Do you want the evening to be relaxed or more upbeat? If you’re looking to get everyone smiling and dancing, your group’s all-time favorite throw-back jams should suffice.

Set a theme. Maybe your pals want to have a pajama party theme or dress up in ugly sweaters for the upcoming holidays. It’s your party, so go ahead and make it your own!

Relax the Rules

Usually, Friendsgiving is more casual than a traditional Thanksgiving gathering, so you can make it your own. Dress down the event by wearing cozy sweatpants. Or, deviate from a typical Thanksgiving menu with a more time-friendly course than a full-sized turkey. Nobody wants to fuss about cooking a whole ginormous bird twice in one year!

If you’re experimenting with a new appetizer or side course at your big Thanksgiving dinner, test the waters with your pals! One thing’s for sure: they’ll give you honest feedback. The most important thing is the time you share together, food flops and all.

Plan Activities to Bring Everyone Together

Friendsgiving is more than a meal; it’s a time to pause and celebrate your close-knit community. It’s the perfect opportunity to do something interactive where everyone can focus on what’s important: gathering together. 

Artistic activities are always enjoyable for crafty friend groups. To put a creative twist on pumpkin decorating, consider painting pumpkins together. Not only is pumpkin painting a fun activity to share with one another, but it’s also a good way to take the joy of the event home with you! 

Carter Mountain checkers board
It’s apples versus donuts in our Logo Checker Board!

If your pals aren’t artistic, no worries; there are plenty more ways to savor your time together.  Our personal favorites are working on a challenging puzzle, playing flag football, and volunteering at the local food bank or animal shelter.

Capture the Moment

Commemorative photos are the key to making sure that your Friendsgiving is unforgettable. Taking plenty of photos throughout the meal helps savor the small moments, from a funny joke shared to taste-testing the pie selection. 

To take the photography up another notch, stage a group photo that becomes a tradition every year. Try frolicking in piles of leaves, or better yet, posing with the beautiful food that you brought for the meal! Setting up a “photo booth” with a camera, silly props, and a festive background is another wonderful way to get some fun shots!

When you’re ready to prep for this year’s Friendsgiving, visit our Country Store & Bakery in-person or shop online for all of your fall favorites!

There are plenty of different ways to celebrate your chosen family around the holidays, and that’s what makes Friendsgiving so special. 

In our many years of welcoming visitors to the orchard, we’ve witnessed the magic of families and friends gathering together to celebrate the seasons. Here’s to many more years of tradition, both old and new!