Throw a Fabulous Friendsgiving in Santa Fe (and elsewhere)

One of the best things about owning a home in Santa Fe is that all your best friends want to come and visit. A lot. (Some folks might say this is one of the worst things about owning a home in Santa Fe. But I love having company.)

Santa Fe Plaza. Tree lighting is the day after Thanksgiving, so don't miss it!

Santa Fe Plaza. Tree lighting is the day after Thanksgiving, so don’t miss it!

They especially want to come during the holidays. So I find myself a bit of an expert on Throwing a Fabulous Friendsgiving. That’s the hip term for having your friends rather than your family for the Thanksgiving holiday. If you’re in Santa Fe, consider exactly this sort of celebration. Or if you’re elsewhere and can’t get home to be with your family, throwing a Friendsgiving Party is a great way to feed everyone. It’s also the perfect method for paying back all those entertaining obligations.

And guess what, folks. We are only two weeks away from Thanksgiving!

Here are a few tips to help you throw the best Friendsgiving in town:

1.  Invite Early. Now’s a good time (earlier would be even better) to either send a printed or email invite to the folks you’d like to have around your table. The fun guests, especially, will get snatched up early. Plus, it’s just good manners to invite a couple of weeks ahead of time.

2.  Consider your space AND your guests. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have a large Santa Fe style home with plenty of room. But if you’re like me and you live near downtown, you probably only have limited space. And limited parking. Also, Friendsgiving should be intimate – your best buds rather than everybody you meet around the bar at Del Charro to watch football. Make sure you create a gathering that will be fun, sweet, and most of all, easy for you.

Tip:  If your kitchen and your oven is tiny, consider buying or borrowing a roaster. This is a separate appliance that you can set up in the laundry room or even a bedroom where your turkey can roast while the casseroles and bread and stuffing are in your oven.  You’ll thank me for this tip later.

3.  Make it a Potluck. Delegate. Unless all your guests are coming from out of town, it’s nice to get to create at least one signature dish for Thanksgiving. When someone asks, “What can I bring?”, I tend to ask back, “What’s your favorite thing to make for Thanksgiving dinner?” You may just discover that your work colleague is an amazing pie crust creator. Or that the geeky guy from church makes a mean roasted sweet potato casserole. And that brings me to:

4.  Be flexible. If you have the perfect Thanksgiving vision in your head, immediately throw it out. Your job here is to have fun and provide a sincerely kind place for your friends to enjoy a meal and express their gratitude. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. You’re combining a lot of personalities, some of which you may not know very well. Let the big stuff slide. Concentrate on the experience rather than the place settings. If you end up with three pumpkin pies and no green bean casserole, let it go. This is not about the meal. This is about the camaraderie and no one having to be alone at home on Thanksgiving.

This is about your friends.

5.  And if you need a plan, create a schedule. Every women’s/cooking website or magazine in the world has a guide for planning your Thanks/Friendsgiving meal. There’s a whole heck of a lot you can create ahead of time. And if you get frustrated, see #4. And when you delegate, have the person who will show up early bring the wine. You’ll want to have a drink or two to help you get to #4.

6.  Have fun. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday because it’s so unpredictable. Sometimes your family shows up. Sometimes your unattached friends show up. Sometimes you have a client or two drop by because they just closed on their home and they need a place to land while they’re organizing the kitchen. Regardless of who shows up, it’s my policy to make my ultimate goal be their enjoyment and relaxation. I have friends who have made lifelong bonds over my Thanksgiving dinner.

7. Don’t forget the gratitude. Have a bowl into which each person can throw their list of things they’re grateful for. This is somewhat less intimidating than the practice of going around the table asking what you’re most thankful for. At dessert, pass the bowl and have each person read someone else’s list. If the person who wrote it wants to fess up, great. If not, just relish everyone’s hopefully very long lists of what makes this day and this year special for them.

Need a home in a very friendly Santa Fe neighborhood? Give me a yell or drop me a line. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your’s!

Bunny Terry 505.504.1101

20 Vereda Serena Santa Fe, NM 87508