guest room life & family table settings Thanksgiving

How To Host the Perfect Friendsgiving

How to Host the Perfect Friendsgiving

I’m so excited the holiday season is finally upon us, though wondering where the year has gone is probably on your mind as much as it is on mine. The leaves have almost all fallen from the trees and the cool winter chill occasionally makes its presence known via swift blustery breezes leaving my fingers and nose ice cold. And though I’m dying to pull out my Christmas stuff and start decorating, I have to take a deep breath, relax, have a little patience, and live in the moment, one holiday at a time.

Since we’ve moved up into the mountains and left our family back on the flatlands, we’ve been trying to sort of establish new holiday traditions but are still working out all the kinks. Generally though, we’ve been spending Thanksgiving with friends and Christmas with family, and this year is no different. Though throughout my life Friendsgivings have been an on-again-off-again tradition depending on which friends are nearby without family for the holidays.

Ecco Domani Prosecco

This year I’ve partnered with Ecco Domani to help me host our Friendsgiving and I’m so excited I’m counting down the days until our friends get here. But first, I’m sharing my advice and general tips on how to pull together the festivities with out-of-town friends to help you plan for yours. From guest room necessities to turkey day survival tips, including nailing down the menu and planning ahead, this holiday should be a fun and memorable stress-free experience for {me}, you, and your friends.

Ecco Domani Prosecco- Thanksgiving table top

ecco domani wine for thanksgiving

Tips for Hosting a Friendsgiving…

1. When hosting any event, begin planning as early as possible to ensure a stress-free day and fun holiday for you and your guests. If you save everything until the last minute, you’ll be running around frantically and everyone will feel the tension, not just you.

2. Decide on the menu with your friends ahead of time. Making it a group effort is far more fun and efficient. You can go the traditional menu route with turkey, stuffing and gravy or opt for something completely different if everyone agrees on it. One year we had pasta on Thanksgiving with friends, but allowing everyone to bring or make their specialties and sharing recipes is part of the fun.

3. Have everyone’s favorite drinks on hand. Cover all your bases with three different Ecco Domani wines: Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, and Merlot, because everyone has a favorite. Since Ecco Prosecco is light, refreshing, easy to drink, and also goes great with food, it will be served with appetizers and be available for daytime enjoyment. Have some healthy non-alcoholic beverages on hand as well and remember coffee and tea for dessert.

4. Think about appetizers that aren’t too filling and that are easy to prep and clean up. My favorites are light cheeses and gourmet crackers paired with grapes and olives for that salty and sweet combo that goes well with most wines. Keep it light to leave room for the big meal.

5. If you have overnight guests, make their stay a little more special by preparing a Friendsgiving gift box or basket including all their favorite goodies. Make sure their room is prepped with the essentials like tissues, a waste basket, clean towels, and extra blankets for that winter chill. It’s also nice to offer charging devices for their phones and computers if you have extras.

6. Make your tablescape fun and festive by including your guest’s names on custom hand-written place cards at each place setting. Assigned seating isn’t necessary but it’s fun to see your name already included at the table and invites everyone to sit and be merry. I enjoy a buffet-style dinner, where everyone makes their plates of food at the counter then meets at the table. This way you don’t have a cluttered table of food and mess, but simply with drinks and happy faces.

7. If you’re not the football or parade-watching bunch, create a playlist of easy music you know everyone likes and have it ready to play at any moment to set the tone, mood and even to add a soundtrack to your day. If you’re making a day of it or you have overnight guests, have games handy for some fun after all the cooking is done or even have a small puzzle-table set up in the corner for easy moments alone. Chat with your friends before they arrive about new movies they haven’t seen and get a few ready for the late night-fall-asleep-on-the-couch-food-coma time that’s so enjoyable at the end of holidays.

8. Don’t worry about a messy house. I like to begin as neat as possible and clean up the kitchen as needed, but don’t fret about a messy house once your guests arrive. There’s something really cozy about a holiday mess that everyone enjoys and somehow makes it feel really homey.

In preparing for guests and a Friendsgiving, planning is key and the things that are the most fun for me also take the most time, like setting the table and preparing the guest rooms and guest gift basket. I’ve gone into more details below to inspire you to get started now for a stress-free holiday.

Setting your Friendsgiving Table…

friendsgiving tablescape

A Friendsgiving table can be a bit more casual than a traditional Thanksgiving tablescape, so it’s a great time to really have fun with it. I usually use traditional Fall colors, which I have here, but was inspired by Ecco Domani’s bright apple green logo to include pops of the same color within my design. Paired with a few faded pumpkins, jewel tones, and rustic accents, I pulled a fun and festive tablescape together that I loved.

thanksgiving table with friends

I added a cute little apple green tassel detail to the ends of my favorite woven rustic table runner which I quickly stitched on with a needle and thread so I could remove it later if I wanted to. I also wrapped it around a few of the pumpkin stems to tie in the accent and color.

Thanksgiving table with Ecco Domani

thanksgiving tablescape

I layered up various styles, sizes, and colors of pumpkins along my table runner, then cut a few boxwood branches from outside and scattered them around for color. To keep the centerpiece low I used short candles in ivory and metallic gold instead of candlesticks, then added a few faux purple flowers for some rich color.

thanksgiving table

cozy thanksgiving tablescape

Friendsgiving place setting +tabletop+tablescape

I easily created cute name cards with simple white card stock, pinking shears, and sweet hand-writing. I grabbed a few cinnamon sticks to place on each plate to set the name card in {which adds a yummy scent to the table along with a warm rustic brown color}, then layered my metallic plaid napkins between my plates, added a faux twig for greenery and set my new name cards standing upright in the cinnamon stick seam on top.

table setting - DIY name cards

Friendsgiving table - tablescape

Then came silverware placement to finish each setting {though I think my knives may be facing the wrong way}. I also added my chunky crystal glasses for a little bit of light reflection and to be used for any drink. I don’t follow glassware rules usually and just drink from what I love.

thansgiving place settings

I love the casual mixed seating with the pouf because it really adds a cozy feeling.

cozy thanksgiving table

Guest Room & Guest Basket…

Two friends will be here from Wednesday through Saturday for a full Friendsgiving holiday weekend experience while a few others may just be stopping by for the day. I prepped the guest room with festive pumpkins and pulled together a “welcome friends” guest gift box as a thank you for joining us in the festivities, sharing the cooking with us, and to get them excited to begin their little holiday vacation with us.

guest room gift basket-friendsgiving

Ecco Domani translates to “Here’s tomorrow” in Italian, which I adore! Since our friends are arriving the day before Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect treat to start off the festivities.

Ecco Domani’s newest addition to their wine collection is Prosecco, and it is delicious! It’s super easy to drink, a little fizzy and definitely refreshing. Though it seems like the perfect celebratory drink, it’s also perfect for everyday occasions. Since it has a twist off cap that is replaceable, I included it in the gift basket making it easy to enjoy today, tonight & tomorrow!

Friendsgiving guest room basket

I also included their favorite raspberry licorice to help toast their arrival, a yummy candle they can light in their room for scented ambiance, fancy playing cards to keep them busy, and a short but sweet book they can each read separately in about twenty minutes flat if they desired.

Since we’re in California and pretty close to Los Angeles where the weather rarely isn’t warm, our guests usually underestimate just how chilly and dry it gets up here in the mountains and by the lake. I included a few pairs of gloves for our leisurely walks outdoors and small sample sized face creams to soothe their skin when we return.

* Including a few bottles of water is another great option. Our friends in particular always bring their own eco-friendly water bottles they refill from our fridge, so in this case water wasn’t a necessity.

guest gift basket for Friendsgiving weekend

Make it special by including their favorite treats and hand-writing a “welcome friends” card with a special message inside.

Friendsgiving welcome guests basket

welcome friends guest room gift basket

And that’s it! I hope this helps you make your Friendsgiving a little more fun and memorable without the stress that usually comes with the holidays. I can’t wait for our actual Friendsgiving and to share with you our photos of the fun holiday weekend to come!

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This is a sponsored post by Ecco Domani… all opinions and ideas are my own.


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Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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