Sometimes Chicago can feel like the biggest city, and we here at Aqua at Lakeshore East understand that. We know that people move to Chicago for the experience, the lights, and the fun. But we also know that many people who have moved here, have another city they would like to spend the holidays at. When you can’t go home for the Thanksgiving holiday, you do the next best thing, which is of course Friendsgiving! A time to gather, and most importantly eat, with those who have become your chosen family. Here are some tips on how to host the best Friendsgiving for you and all those who need somewhere to spend turkey day.
The best way to prepare for any event is to plan ahead! Create a guest list and find out who is coming to your dinner. This will help you have a headcount so you can plan a menu and look up recipes. Always remember to expect the unexpected and plan for a guest to bring a plus one, or two! You never know who will show up unannounced! As a thoughtful gesture, ask each guest what kinds of snacks and drinks they prefer, so you’ve got something for everyone. It is also essential to plan ahead for the oven as different dishes require different temperatures and cooking times. You don’t want the Thanksgiving turkey to be undercooked because the sweet potatoes needed to be warmed up!
A Plan for Shopping
The great thing about living at Aqua is that you are within a 10-minute driving distance to five different grocery stores! Create your shopping list ahead of time and stick to it! Whether you are heading to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, planning out your grocery list ahead of time will keep you from wandering down every aisle and turning your 20-minute grocery trip errand into a two hour trip to the market! Make sure to grab lots of drinks and easy snacks like chips and dips. Your guests will thank you if you lay out some hors d'oeuvres while they wait for dinner to be served.
Delegate the Menu
Just because you are hosting the dinner, does not mean you have to do it all alone! Once you’ve come up with a basic menu, ask your guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish. Encouraging your friends to bring an item will help keep their Thanksgiving traditions alive, even if they are unable to spend it at home! Make sure to keep everyone included in who is bringing what to ensure there are not three big bowls of cranberry sauce on the table and seven pumpkin pies. Ask those friends with dietary restrictions and allergies to bring their own favorite dishes, with enough for everyone to share, as to make sure their bellies will be filled as well!
Set the Mood
Etsy and Pinterest have changed the game when it comes to how to throw the most Instagram worthy Friendsgiving. Look up do-it-yourself placemats, centerpieces, paper invites, and Thanksgiving-inspired decor for each seat. A pumpkin spice candle will really make it feel (and smell) like Fall. If you’re looking for the easiest way to get this done, get a big roll of butcher paper to use as your table cloth, and use your fanciest handwriting to write everyone’s name directly above their place setting. You can also turn this into an art piece in itself and write, color, and draw however you like!
When everything is all done at the end of the night, look around you and remember what, and who you are thankful for. This could become your new Friendsgiving tradition among you and your close friends. Our final parting advice; make sure you eat breakfast the morning of your dinner, stay hydrated throughout, and enjoy an amazing Friendsgiving feast at Aqua at Lakeshore East!