Thanksgiving is a time to spend with loved ones while eating delicious food. With the current surge in COVID-19 cases, however, some students are opting to stay in the Binghamton area over the holiday and through finals week. Many are missing their families during what would usually be a big gathering of relatives. If you’re staying in Binghamton this Thanksgiving, why not plan a Friendsgiving with your housemates and close friends instead? Here are some Friendsgiving ideas and tips to ensure a fun experience.

Host a potluck

This idea brings the most variety for the most essential part of any Friendsgiving — the food. Each person can bring unique dishes they would eat at their family Thanksgiving, and everyone contributes. Potlucks can help people with dietary restrictions because they can bring a dish they are guaranteed to be able to eat. The best part about potlucks is that it distributes the cooking and food preparation evenly among all guests.

Make sure to only invite people you have been quarantining with or have already been in contact with

Knowing how many people are coming is always important for a good experience. This way, you know how much food to make and can ensure that everyone has the chance to try everything. However, in the age of COVID-19, this is absolutely critical in order to keep yourselves and the community around you safe and healthy. New York state guidelines state that indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to no more than 10 people. To be safe, you should only celebrate with people you are already in constant contact with, such as your housemates.

Have entertainment ready

Sitting and eating are only a part of the experience. Another ingredient to a wonderful Friendsgiving is good entertainment. Having a playlist of singalong songs running in the background is key, but also sitting down to watch a movie or football can be enjoyable, especially after a large meal. To keep the energy up, playing board games, card games or video games can pass the time delightfully as well.

Set up a dress code

Since we are spending the majority of our time at home this year, 2020 hasn’t given us many opportunities to plan fun outfits and go out dressed to the best. Why not turn Friendsgiving into a rare occasion where you can finally wear your fancy clothes? Letting all your guests know of a dress code such as black tie, formal and more, will make everyone feel included and excited to dress up for a fun evening. A united fashion sense among guests will also translate well in pictures.

Host or no host, help out

Everyone needs to do their part in contributing to food, drinks, cups, plates, napkins and silverware to make Friendsgiving easier on the host. Make a list of who is bringing what to organize this. In addition, if you are not the one hosting, help clean up afterward because putting work on just one person is unnecessary stress that is not needed during this time. It can also help show your appreciation for the host and is simply the polite thing to do on a holiday intended to celebrate gratitude, graciousness and giving. Friendsgiving is a team effort from beginning to end.


Festive decorations complete the Friendsgiving experience. A banner that says “Friendsgiving” or one that parodies a name of an episode of the show, “Friends” by saying “the one with the Friendsgiving” will get the spirits going. String garlands with LED maple leaf lights, props, pumpkins and candles can also be cool additions.

Hopefully, these tips help make Friendsgiving a lovely time hanging out with friends and eating tasty food!