Thanksgiving is all about family, but it’s also fun to honor the family you have chosen: your friends.

Friendsgiving a Thanksgiving dinner party for your friends — is a great excuse for a party and a fun way to show friends your gratitude.

While some schedule their party on Thanksgiving Day, most reserve the day for family and choose a different day in November for Friendsgiving. Party planner and mom Christine Faust and Greenville mom Jodi LaValla are long-time fans of Friendsgiving. Each was having Thanksgiving for friends even before Friendsgiving was trendy. We asked them for tips to host the perfect party!

Manage the menu. Faust suggested using an online site for sign-ups to eliminate duplicate items. “I love having friends bring family favorites,” she said. “For some people, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without certain dishes. This way, everyone gets food they love.”

Prepare the turkey and the appetizers. “If you make the appetizers yourself, it ensures that there is food when guests arrive,” Faust said. “If you assign that to a friend, there is always the chance that person will be late!”

Don’t forget about the kids. LaValla, a mom of two, hired a sitter when the children were young to help entertain and keep an eye on the little ones. “The baby sitter was fabulous,” she said. “She did arts and crafts and face painting with the kids. They were busy the entire time.”

Make sure you have plenty of seating. Faust rents tables to create one long Thanksgiving table.

Make sure there is plenty to drink! Many Friendsgiving celebrations include alcohol. Ask friends to bring their favorites. Make sure to have special non-alcoholic drinks for the kids — and for adults who choose not to partake.

Bring out your best china- or just use nice paper products. Faust enjoys being able to use her favorite china each year. LaValla prefers not be to stuck in the kitchen doing dishes and uses paper products!

Don’t be afraid to vary your guest list. Faust likes to invite friends who don’t have family in town. While many of the guests didn’t know each other the first year, her part has become a tradition and friends have gotten to know each other during the yearly party.

Don’t stress over the decorations!Faust uses items from around the house and yard to decorate. “Choose a color scheme and go through your house looking for fun decorations,” Faust said. “You might find interesting tins or vases. It is also a great time to use colorful fall leaves or magnolias if you have those in your yard.”

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