It’s A Good Year For Friendsgiving (Here’s Your Plan)

Or how to be the host with the most this holiday season

Friendsgiving is a magical Thanksgiving feast where friends come together to share a meal, imbibe some drink, and talk about all those taboo topics that shouldn’t be discussed in mixed company.

Perhaps you’ve heard mention of it before, like a whisper in the breeze as you walked down the tarmac to board your ridiculously overpriced flight home for a long weekend of overeating and midnight shopping with the fam. There you are, sitting on Grandma’s couch slowly digesting some dry turkey.

You’re lethargically thumbing through Instagram when you catch a glimpse of your friends drinking fancy cocktails and eating food that looks like it came from a Smitten Kitchen post. The smiles on their faces resonate through every bone in your body and suddenly the lyrics to Roy Orbison’s “Only The Lonely” takes on a whole new meaning.

Now we understand that you love your family, and spending the holidays with them is great — you don’t have to tell us that. But we also know you are the kind of person that wants to have it all, Thanksgiving with the family and Friendsgiving with your friends. We don’t blame you!

So this year it’s time to take the turkey by the gizzard and host your own Friendsgiving celebration. Of course your friends here at Trello are ready to make it the most organized event ever, because holidays should be a breeze. Goodbye infinite email chains! See you later spreadsheets! Bring on that board!

Friendsgiving Central

Setting up a Trello board to host an event like Friendsgiving is a cinch and it is really easy to get all your buddies on board (pun most definitely intended). Whether they are browser based folks or the kind of people that live out of their mobile devices, Trello syncs across browsers and devices instantly so your friends can collaborate on the medium of their choice.

Re-use your board year-to-year!

Before inviting all your friends to the party, however, it is best to get that board set up and ready to go. (Or you can just copy this sample board if that’s your thing.) For my event and party boards I always like to start with a “General Info” list that provides some insight on how to use the board as well as some basic Trello tips, because even though Trello is simple to use, some friends still haven’t tried it yet. (Crazy I know, but then again some people still have landlines, so what can I say?)

The next list I set up is my RSVP list with cards that my guests can add themselves. This is a great way to keep track of who is coming, who is bringing a date, and who is totally boring and quite possibly not worthy of my friendship… I mean busy. I always add a due date to the “Yes” cards so that my friends get a reminder 24-hours before the party, as if they weren’t already counting down the seconds until the festivities.

Have families or people with +1’s on your list? Use a checklist on their card to list out each potential party guest. The RSVP-er can check off who on the list is coming (or add more attendees — the more the merrier!) so you can get an exact headcount without checking in too much.

Planning Your Potluck With Pizzazz

Friendsgiving is best when it is done potluck style, because then your guests get to outdo each other’s tasty dishes, and you basically just reap all the benefits. Sure, things can get a little off the hook (is homemade swan pâté even legal? In some states, yes!) but you’re a budding gourmand and there’s nothing you want less than some boxed mashed potatoes.

I set up two lists, one for the food and one for the drinks, because in my mind good food and good drinks are both equal parts in the equation for an excellent night. Other lists include “Other Things I’m Bringing” because, you know, Twister. Also I made a list for suggestions, since I am not the type to let people down.

Of course, you make the lists that work best for you. After all, you’re the host! Friends can add cards to the appropriate list for whatever they plan on bringing and add their avatar to the card. They can even drag and drop a recipe URL or upload a snap from their phone to add an enticing card cover. This way everyone can easily see what everyone else is bringing and you’re not hunting through 27 email replies to see if someone’s making stuffing.

Finally, as someone who likes to keep things organized I also set up labels for my board — Apps, Mains, Sides, Desserts, Boozy, Non-Boozy. When guests add cards for what they are bringing they can label their cards accordingly. This way I can easily filter the cards by label to keep track of dishes and get all like “There’s not enough pie! I shall make 5 more!”

And since allergies are pretty common these days, you can take advantage of custom fields to add in a special requests field to avoid any unwanted nut or dairy mishaps.

Now that your board is ready, it is time to invite some friends, because it wouldn’t be Friendsgiving without them. Inviting someone to your board is easy: in the Members section just click “Add Members…” and enter their email address. If they have a Trello account already then they will be notified that they were added to your board. If not, they will receive an email that they were invited to your board and once they sign up they will be able to participate in all of the fun. Simple, as all great holidays should be!

Hosting a Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving feast of your own or planning on attending one? We want to know your Friendsgiving food and drink must-haves. Tell us in the comments, and have a great holiday!

Written by @briancervino and originally published at