It's somehow already October and the holidays are just around the corner. Has it really been 6 months in quarantine? Now is the time to start planning for Halloween, Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas & the New Year.
(To be honest, 2020 has been scary enough, so we're skipping Halloween.)
Onto Friendsgiving! But should we even host a party or be entertaining at our home?
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2020 BC: “Before COVID”
For the past 2 years, we've invited 30-40 people in grand potluck style & fall fashion! Each year, we smoke a giant turkey, (and by “we” I mean Justin…) and party through the night. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. We’re so grateful to be able to gather all of our friends together in our home.
Generally, we start at 5:00 pm with dinner served at 6:00, followed by a full night of fun until 1 or 2 am. (Of course there was plenty of cooking, cleaning and decorating even before then.) By the time everyone arrived, there would be a giant cheese plate set out to pick at, bowls of chips and dips in every room, music playing around the house, and candles lit on each table. Food would be overflowing on the counter, and we’d be stocked full of delicious leftovers for days after!
Did I even mention how many bottles of wine made it to the bar last year? Well it was too many to count, and most of them disappeared…
2020 AV: “After Virus”
This year, things must be different.
2020 would mark our Third Annual Friendsgiving Feast at the Smith household.
Justin and I mulled over a decision on this for about a week, (and too bad we weren't drinking mulled wine!) When we talked about the possibility of still hosting a party, we agreed that it would take immense responsibility to do so. We talked about how we could make people feel comfortable and safe. We weighed the pros and cons, and then made a decision.
Spending time with very-missed friends
Giving back to our friends through a delicious meal
Having a sense of normalcy
Carrying out our cherished annual tradition
Could be uncomfortable and/or unsafe for some to attend
Possibility of spreading germs, COVID, and other viruses (especially with Flu Season approaching)
A lot of work for 2 people to cook all food (not having a potluck style meal)
After talking about what special considerations we may need to make, we decided that we're moving ahead with hosting our Third Annual Friendsgiving.
We're hosting it in early November to ensure that everyone will be able to more safely attend with at least 2 weeks' time in between the party and the actual holiday, (so that we won't be spreading potential party germs to our families.)
This truly was a tough decision to make, knowing that some friends may not be able to join us for so many reasons this year, and that we may make some people uncomfortable with the idea.
However, in acknowledging this upfront, we understand, (for any reason and for no reason at all,) if some of our friends are not able to come. Everyone must make a personal decision for what is safest and best for them, and we sincerely respect each and every decision.
And let’s face it, not much has been “easy” in 2020. So we’re going to try to make the most of it.
“Transparency & trust are essential.”
– said someone wise… oh wait – that was me!
In the same sense, we are going to ask our guests to not attend if they have any COVID or flu-like symptoms. We will be checking in with everyone that RSVP'd via email 2 days before and 5-7 days after the party to ensure everyone is in good health. If they're not, we promise that we will be as transparent as possible with anyone that attended and share that information.
We're also switching things up a bit to make them safer. Our party is going to start at 12:00 (noon) and end at 4:00 pm this year. We will be hosting the party outside on our back patio. Guests will be welcome to come into our home if they chose to, but can otherwise attend through our back gate without entering our house.
We will have hand sanitizer, tissues, and cleaning wipes available outside. There will be antibacterial hand soap and disposable paper towels in the bathroom, too. People will be welcome to wear masks if they chose to, but they will not be required.
All of the food will be prepared by us in advance to lessen the chances of spreading germs from house to house to house. We're going to make efforts to provide some foods pre-packaged and bagged so that people don't have to share. This can be done in baskets, disposable or reusable containers, or even gift bags.
(Charcuterie cones anyone? See our other ideas here!)
We will also be encouraging everyone to BYOBB&LC: bring their own beverages, blankets, and lawn chairs, (although we will have plenty of seating available.) This way, people can have a socially distanced picnic in our backyard, tailgate in the driveway, or dine al-fresco on one of our lounging couches.
Instead of wine markers this year, we’ll even have stickers to put on your glass with your name on them!
“In this fluid situation…”
– said everyone at least once this year.
And as we get closer to the event, we recognize that things may change. Our circumstances have the opportunity to get better with the potential of a vaccine coming soon, and they also have the opportunity to take a turn for the worse with flu season approaching. Depending on local regulations, we may be constricted to only allow so many people to be in attendance at once. Honestly, who knows what 2020 will bring us for the last few months of the year! One thing is clear: the closer to the event, the more information we will be able to give.
But at minimum, we’ve already extended invitations to everyone that's invited and at least they know we're thinking about them, we care about them, and we love them.
(Friends – if you’re reading this, I miss you & can’t wait to see you again soon!)
Sending the Invitations
For any party I’ve hosted in the past 3 years, I’ve used Minted to send my invitations. Why? Because they offer free, online, interactive invitations & tracking.
By the way – they’re gorgeously designed with a cinematic video experience of opening the invitation once you click on the emailed link!
Not only does Minted save all of my contacts information for me to easily invite friends to my next party, but they always have beautiful design options and track my RSVPs. I can even send notes and reminders out to people as the date gets closer.
To get started with your free Minted online invitations, go to their website and under the Digital tab, hover over Online Invitations. You’ll have tons of options to choose from for any occasion you have coming up. You can also choose your background video experience and add in your own notes.
We also use Minted to print our Annual Christmas & Holiday postcards each year. They do such an incredible job of printing high-quality, high-resolution images on the best cardstock & paper. They also preprint the addresses & messages for you! With the extra postcards that I get printed, I make bookmarks out of them, which are always the sweetest reminders.
BTW - if you're already thinking about ordering your holiday cards now like I am - use my coupon code: MINTEDAFF15 for 15% off your first order!*
If you couldn’t tell, I truly love using Minted for all of my extra special occasions and know you will too. Start planning your next party with Minted today.
With all of this fuss over how to safely host a COVID Friendsgiving party, I've got a lot to plan! Honestly, the novelty of doing something new is exciting, even if it's trying to figure out how we will serve individually plated charcuterie. (Who knew this was a thing!?)
Luckily, I've got a plan.
From my notes last year, I created a planning guide to work from with everything I need to host another amazing Friendsgiving Feast! You can find it on my Etsy shop regularly for $5, but it's on sale through Sunday October 4 for only $3 now.
This 18-page set of cute Thanksg
iving-themed planning worksheets walks you through how to plan your upcoming party. From tracking your guest & RSVP lists, to planning your menu, and even tips for cooking your turkey, it's all included!
Do you love checklists? I do. Checklists are my world. That’s why my favorite part of this set are the 2 pages of Planning Tips. I’ve pre-organized a checklist of things that needs to be done as the party approaches. From 2 months in advance (right now!) to the morning of the party, I’ve already made your checklist for you! There’s even a few spots at the bottom of each section for you to add in your own reminders.
The best part? Its 1 PDF file to instantly download - so you can start planning now!
Do you have a Thanksgiving Party to plan soon?
Don't wait and get this on sale today for only $3.
Friends, see you at Friendsgiving!
Psst - are you also planning a Christmas Party? Get started with our Christmas Planning Bundle, on sale also for just $3!
Eek - there's so many things to plan through the end of the year!
*Coupon code excludes discounts on art at minted.com.