How to Host the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving

October 29, 2020
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
Get ready to nail the art of hosting the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving! We're talking good friends, mouthwatering plant-based eats, and a celebration so laid-back it practically plans itself. I've got all the tips, tricks, and tasty recipes you need!

How to Host the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving

Unlike traditional Thanksgiving dinner, Friendsgiving is the place where you get to enjoy good times with close friends and extended family--- For many, Friendsgiving has become their new tradition and with more people wanting to maintain a healthier lifestyle, this list of How to Host the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving comes in handy.

It's all about creating simple ways to make this moment the most memorable. Plus enjoy exploring my all-time best + fully vegan Thanksgiving recipes to make your celebration truly exceptional. Gluten-free options!

Full Charcuterie board including olives, bread, fruit, and crackers.

Learn How to Host the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving

How to Host the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving-----includes a list of simple, easy, and often budget-friendly ways to make the moments with your closest crew the most memorable while keeping things fully plant-based with plenty of vegan recipes! Everything from creamy vegan mashed potatoes to delciously cheesy vegan mac + cheese!

We all know that when it comes to the Holiday season, keeping costs down is super important especially since there are so many small elements that rack up the cost easily. That's why I found it important to create this list as a way to introduce the idea of Friendsgiving (if you've never heard of it or participated), break down what it entails, and also create new ways to make it just as epic as Thanksgiving dinner. Be sure to check out my list 30 Ultimate Plant-Based Thanksgiving Recipes too!

Jump to:

Whats The Difference Between Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving?

So, here's the lowdown: Thanksgiving is your classic family affair, happening on the fourth Thursday of November, with all the traditional eats and a formal vibe at someone's family home. Now, Friendsgiving? That's your chill, flexible shindig with pals. No fixed date, diverse menu, and you might end up celebrating in a friend's place, an apartment, or even outdoors. It's all about good times, good company, and creating your own vibe without the formalities.

Vegan cheese on a charcuterie board with olives and fruit.

Tip #1: Start with your Budget + Schedule a Date.

OK, so this is the MOST important part. When it comes to creating any event, ensuring that you best understand your budget and the actual date is key, especially if your guests need to travel to attend. Simply, double check the amount of money that you have to spare (always leaving extra leverage in case things cost a tad bit more) and then making your list of things needed. Do you need little things like tableware, napkins, bottled drinks, etc? If so, factor in the main things that you know for sure.

Then of course, know which date you plan on hosting this dinner. That way, you can begin sending out your invites in advance (at least 2-3 weeks) and best understand how long you have to save up within your budget if it isn't already readily available.

Tip #2: Create Your Vegan Menu

Obviously, the next important budget would be the main thing----food. As we know, food is a bill that can be the greatest of all bills if you go to the grocery store unprepared and just randomly. Therefore, I recommend choosing your menu, making a list of ingredients that you don't have/need before making the trip to the store. 

While many people often feel stumped on what menu to create when it comes to vegan dishes, I'm here to tell you that there are so many options-- I did want to create a mini menu below to help get you started. 

Delicious Vegan Side Dishes

You can always make veganized traditional dishes try these friendsgiving food ideas:

Vegan Hearty 'Mains'

These gems can totally pull double duty as side dishes, but they bring an extra dose of heartiness and satisfaction to the table!

Lastly, making your vegan Friendsgiving a potluck-inspired theme helps with the cost + stress of making your entire menu yourself as well. Offset a few dishes for your guests to bring and wallah----easy! Oh and if your friends aren't comfortable with creating vegan dishes, Pinterest has a ton of ideas + easy recipes.

Up close shot of stuffed butternut squash with two forks and garnish.

Tip #3: Get Creative with Your Setting or Decor.

Honestly, most people get extremely overwhelmed with this part, especially if they don't naturally have an eye for decor or interiors. However, there's no need to stress with this. It's really all about keeping your decor simple if it's not your strongest suit and ensuring that you have a "stand out piece" that I mention more about below.

With close friends and extended family, the most important aspect of a memorable event is really all about good food, great games, and awesome laughs. Focus more on the experience and not solely on the decor if it's something that you struggle with. 

For basic rules of decor:

Understand your room area and pick the most spacious part of it to avoid cramping, if using a table---simply add decent plating (salad plates, dessert plates, + dinner plates), utensils, fabric napkins, and a beautiful centerpiece. Also, you can choose to add little inexpensive touches such as lighting on the walls (white or yellow Christmas lights work too), candles, fake or real plants/florals, etc.

Woman spreading guacamole on a cracker over a charcuterie board.

Tip #4: Keep the Snacks + Appetizers Light but Abundant.

I know, it sounds almost like an oxymoron, however, my main tip is to focus on having less snacks + appetizers, however, making the ones that you do have more abundant in one dish. For example, Cheeseboards are the perfect appetizer since they offer so many different options on one single board. That way, if your guests aren't into the finger foods as much as you'd like, you wouldn't have wasted much. 

Besides, most people like saving room for the main dishes and meals, therefore, snacks aren't always everyone's choice. Nevertheless, I've created an easy Vegan Cheeseboard option just so that you aren't stumped on the idea of how to create one. 

What You'll Need:

Plate of crackers with a bowl of hummus.

Tip #4: Scrap the Multiple Desserts. Highlight One.

While regular Thanksgiving dinners usually cater to a large variety of dishes, including many pies, cakes, and everything in between---for your Vegan Friendsgiving, simply highlight ONE amazing dessert.

If you choose to purchase a nice cake from a bakery or bake one yourself, simply focus on making that one dessert the most beautiful. Granted, cakes might feel a bit difficult or intimidating, however, there are still plenty of beautiful vegan dessert options out there, such as:

Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts

Of course, you can always select 'vegan desserts' in our recipe index for a ton of other options.

Slice being taken from a Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Tip #5: Minimize the Drinks + Make Unique Homemade Ones.

Honestly, when it comes to drinks for vegan friendsgiving, sticking to the classic canned or bottles juices + sodas can be fine, however, to make things more memorable, I always recommend trying your hand at homemade Mocktails + Cocktails or Juices.

Despite popular belief, they aren't that hard to make, and plus, you have more control over using healthier ingredients. Simply make 2 or 3 different types and add the individual drinks to mason jars so that it's a 'grab n go' type of situation. 

My Fave Festive Drinks:

For extra pizzaz, simply use a few of the ingredients (easy sliceable fruit, herbs, etc.) as decor within your glasses or jars. Wallah!

Peach basil drinks in small glasses.

Tip #6: In the End, Just Forget Tradition + Make it Your Own!

To end off my simple tips, the main tip of all is to forget tradition and make it fun and memorable based on the things that you and your friends love + enjoy the most. Movies? Cool. No Sweets? OK. Games? Perfect. Music? Sounds good. 

Whatever it is, simply make it a night to remember. Oh and as mentioned, don't stress the idea of creating elaborate dishes. Focus on the sides and make your dessert the star. 

Friendsgiving was created as a space for you to enjoy time with your closest friends and extended family, not stress about everything else. Change things up if you'd like and skip the table and create a beautiful floor scene where your guests can sit around and eat. Think soft decor pillows, a nice drape or floor rug, platters, server-ware, or whatever else you need.

For cups, if you want something a bit less unattractive as regular plastic cups, go for clear compostable cups or as mentioned, smaller mason jars are cute + reusable.

Either way, your Vegan Friendsgiving is one to remember! Just close your eyes, plan it out, + enjoy!

Shanika with her eyes closed and holding a red mug.

Friendsgiving Q + A's

What Are Some Vegan Turkey Alternatives?

Explore options like tofu or seitan-based roasts, stuffed mushrooms, or a hearty lentil and vegetable loaf or a vegan BBQ wellington work great for a satisfying vegan centerpiece.

What day to celebrate vegan friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving doesn't play by the calendar rules. You can pick any day that suits you and your crew. Whether it's weeks before, after, or right on Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is all about flexibility. So, circle a date that works for everyone and get ready for a feast with your chosen family.

Who invented friendsgiving?

Alright, so Friendsgiving kind of just happened, you know? No one specific genius can claim they invented it. Probably someone said, "Hey, why not have a Thanksgiving with friends?" and the rest of us went, "Genius! Let's call it Friendsgiving." And there you have it, a new tradition born from the spirit of hanging out with your buddies and enjoying good food. BUT some do claim it came from the TV show we all knoe and love Friends!


Awesome Meat Substitutes to Try This Year is all about finding out the various ways that you can substitute meat on those days where you just feel like giving your usual eating habits a break or for those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate in your diet. Plant Protein–the latest trend that has been transforming into years of “no-meat” is just one of the many ways that you can say ‘yes’ to eating a whole diet and ‘no’ to eating meat if desired.

Charcuterie plate with text: \"How to Host the Perfect Vegan Friendsgiving.\"

More Thanksgiving + Holiday Guides!

It's that time of year, y'all, and I'm prepped and ready to make it smooth and enjoyable! Check out my other guides for all the tips and tricks you need!


If you tried any recipes from my Vegan Friendsgiving guide or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram  and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!


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