Tips for organizing a “Friendsgiving” dinner

No need to worry about slaving away in the kitchen all day if you host a potluck dinner. Flickr/CreativeCommons

No need to worry about cooking all day if you host a potluck dinner. Flickr/CreativeCommons

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and with the brisk wind and chilly temperatures this past week, things are starting to feel festive. One way to cut through the monotony of the days before break is by organizing a pre-Turkey Day dinner with your friends. Though the thought of cooking up a Thanksgiving feast might seem overwhelming, there are plenty of stress-free ways to celebrate the holiday. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your “Friendsgiving” both stress-free and unforgettable.  

Potluck Style:
No college student has the time or energy to spend hours in the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal. Instead, organize a family-style potluck dinner, and have a few people bring main courses and side dishes and another few bring dessert. That way, you’ll have a Thanksgiving-worthy meal without any of the hassle.

White Elephant:
This twist on Secret Santa is both easy to organize, and tons of fun. Have everyone bring a present (make sure you set a price cap), and wrap it up so that it’s impossible to tell what’s inside. Put all the presents in the center of the room and then let people decide if they want to pick an unopened present or “steal” one that someone has already unwrapped. This game is especially entertaining when silly presents like a jar of peanut butter or a bottle of shampoo are mixed in.

Goodie Bags:
Have each person write his or her name on a brown paper bag and line all the bags up against the wall. Keep a few stacks of pens and paper lying around, and write little notes to slip into people’s bags throughout the night. Afterward, everyone gets to take home their bag and open up their notes. They’re often both sweet and unexpected, and make the evening that much more memorable.

Hot Chocolate and a Movie:
For those of you who want to keep things really simple, this is the way to go. After dinner, make some hot chocolate and add all the whipped cream and marshmallows you’d like over the top. Then pick out your favorite movie and hit the couch for a few hours. At this point in the semester, you deserve it.

Downtown Dinner:
If you don’t have a kitchen or don’t like to cook, L.A. is the place to be. You can find everything from Korean Barbecue to Italian comfort food within just a few miles, and many of restaurants are conveniently located close to Metro stops. I recommend heading out a few hours before you plan to eat so that you get a chance to explore and experience the unique culture of the “City of Angels.”

Here at USC, many of us have been lucky enough to find some lifelong friends. Take some time to celebrate with them, and show them how much you appreciate and value their company. Happy Friendsgiving!