Dos and Don’ts for the Ultimate Friendsgiving Potluck


This year I hosted my third Gobblefest, a pre-Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving potluck that’s become tradition over the years. It’s a way to “rehearse” before the real deal and a great excuse to spend some quality time with friends over a meal before the hectic holiday season starts to ramp up.Here are some tips that I picked up after throwing this year’s friend-filled feast that might come in handy for your Friendsgiving celebrations, whether you’re hosting or attending.

If you’re hosting:

DO move traffic. It’s a known fact that people will congregate around food and drink, so place different appetizers and drink stations in strategic places to get people moving and mingling.

DO have a little something extra planned. Whether it’s some rousing 90s karaoke or a crafting session (find some ideas from Etsy sellers here opens in a new tab), it’s nice to have a little diversion when you’re stuffed. This year I threw together a compound butter bar in my kitchen, and we screamed our way through a few rounds of Taboo opens in a new tab!DO make it easy for guests with special diets. Ask guests ahead of time to bring a notecard to place by their dish with an ingredient list (remember to provide some extra cards), or do a quick roundtable rundown and ask each guest to “introduce” their dish right before everybody digs in.

DON’T be too hard on yourself. Prep for the things that you can do ahead of time, but set your scope realistically. Assign yourself a dish or two, and trust your friends to fill out the feast. Clean the kitchen, dining area, bathrooms and other gathering areas, but worry less about the rest. (I just shut doors to the rooms I couldn’t get to.) If your friends are anything like mine, they’re there to eat – not inspect your baseboards.

If you’re a guest:

DO try to cook something. Whether it’s a tried-and-true family dish or a new experiment, it can be a fun bonding experience to share your kitchen pride. My friends get major bonus points for trying new recipes. Plus, some of their more adventurous attempts have been the most delicious.DO contribute something if you absolutely cannot cook. A few nice cheeses opens in a new tab, spiced nuts or a bottle of wine opens in a new tab are easy wins. Ask the host if they have any last-minute needs, such as ice, toilet paper or extra serving spoons. And I always appreciate guests that ask if they can help with after-party cleanup!

DON’T be shy if you love a dish. You’d think we’d be quiet with mouths full of food, but at Gobblefest, our conversation is punctuated by:

OMG Molly, this dip is so yummy!”

“Can you send me that truffle mac n’ cheese recipe?”

“Aaron, this turkey is SO amazing.”

Quite honestly, aside from the food, those warm-and-fuzzy moments are why I throw Gobblefest.

Oh, and be sure to arrive hungry. It’s not called Gobblefest for nothing!

What are your dos and don’ts for a successful Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving potluck? Let me know in the comments below.

From carving with confidence to pouring with pride, our online Holiday Cheat Sheet opens in a new tab means more of your best for less stress. Order holiday meals online opens in a new tab too; we'll do the work, you'll take the credit.

Explore More