45 Virtual Friendsgiving Ideas (+ Printables)


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A hallmark of Friendsgiving is holding hands around the table and giving thanks.

Unfortunately, things are a little different this year. Instead of hand-holding and passing plates, you’ll likely be giving your thanks through a video camera.

Despite the change in circumstances, you still have plenty to be grateful for. For one, virtual Friendsgiving means saving on travel expenses and pricey holiday decor. Being virtual also means you won’t have to pretend to like your friend’s terrible cooking. Here’s a list of 45 Friendsgiving ideas for you to celebrate your blessings virtually and make the most of the day with your friends!

You can also jump to these fun printable activities:

Start with the Preparation


If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving in person for your extended family, you know how much heavy lifting needs to be done leading up to turkey day. Thankfully, virtual Friendsgiving isn’t as labor-intensive. Here are some ways to prepare for your virtual Friendsgiving.

  • Gather old photographs. Remember when you celebrated Friendsgiving in person? Or when your one friend dropped the entire plate of stuffing? Compile some of your favorite memories to share during the meal.
  • Get the ingredients ready. Assemble all the essentials for the perfect Thanksgiving meal beforehand. You don’t want to start cooking only to realize you forgot the cranberries for the cranberry sauce.
  • Make a festive Fall playlist. Get your gobble on by grooving to some tunes. While Christmas gets all the credit for holiday hits, there are some gem songs about counting blessings, food and more food.
  • Make a shared Pinterest board. Thanksgiving invokes a feeling of belonging and appreciation. Capture that feeling from a distance by putting together a collective pinboard.
  • Make it Snap-worthy. If you didn’t take a picture of it, did it even happen? Make your very own Snapchat Friendsgiving filter!
  • Make sure it smells the part. Cinnamon, pumpkin, warm spices and cider — these are the scents of Fall. Get some candles to light during the event to make sure it truly smells like the season. (Editor’s tip: Looking to buy new candles? Check out these Yankee Candle coupons to save on some of your favorite Fall scents.)
  • Prepare a speech. Capture your many blessings in a speech for your friends. Or if your friends are the self-deprecative type, put together a sarcastic “roast” to get the crowd laughing.
  • Send out hand turkey invitations. Whoever invented the “hand turkey” was on to something. It’s a holiday staple that’s easy to make and costs just a scrap paper and a pen. Save on generic invitations by instead tracing your hand, turning it into a turkey and including the event details.
  • Set up the virtual decorations. Since you aren’t hosting in person, you don’t need to go above and beyond decorating every room. Instead, use this Thanksgiving-themed Zoom background!

Match Zoom backgrounds with your friends with this Thanksgiving-themed Zoom background!


Pick the Entertainment


Now that you’re prepared for Friendsgiving, it’s time to focus on the entertainment. Entertainment is where all the memories are made. It includes the stories shared, the laughs out loud and the exchange of blessings. Here are some ideas to have a memorable time:

  • Dress up in traditional attire. Time to bring out that old top hat picking up dust at the back of your closet. Make your friends dress up as pilgrims for a traditional Friendsgiving.
  • Host a Thanksgiving-themed trivia night. What’s the origin of Friendsgiving? What was the first Thanksgiving meal? Test your turkey day knowledge with trivia. Loser needs to send the winner their extra leftovers!
  • Make a toast. You’ve prepared your speech, now it’s time to make the toast. Did you know that the tradition of making a toast before a meal dates back all the way to the Ancient Greeks? It is a long-lasting tradition because there is something special about sharing words with the people you love.
  • Make it a mystery. Have a Clue-inspired Friendsgiving by making the meal a mystery. Can you solve the case of who stole the turkey? Find out by playing a Thanksgiving murder mystery game.
  • Create some memes. You know the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? If that’s the case, a meme is worth a thousand laughs. Make some custom Friendsgiving-themed memes or share the classics.
  • Put on a comedy show. Take the mic and provide one-of-a-kind entertainment with a stand-up comedy show. Who can make the best turkey joke? Try to do better than this: “Hey I just met you, and this is gravy, but here’s my stuffing, so carve me maybe.”
  • Hold a DIY puppet show. Bring Tom the turkey to life by putting on a puppet show with this popsicle stick craft. (Editor’s tip: You can save on the materials for the project using these Michaels coupons.)
  • Take a photo. Okay, this isn’t going to be the photo you hang up in your living room, but it’ll be a memorable one. Take a screenshot of your Zoom screen to capture this atypical Friendsgiving. Make sure everyone is looking into the (computer) camera!
  • Get involved with virtual volunteer opportunities. Not everyone has the means to have a full Thanksgiving celebration. Some may not even be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal. The holidays are a great time to volunteer, even if it’s virtual. (Editor’s tip: Need some volunteer ideas? Check out these virtual volunteer opportunities.)
  • Play “What am I?” Thanksgiving edition. Am I stuffing? Am I mashed potatoes? Am I the grand behemoth: the turkey? Play the card-guessing game, “What am I?” by printing out these cards, holding one up to your head and having your friends ask questions for you to guess.

Have some laughs with this printable “What Am I?” guessing game!


Enjoy the Meal


Put a spin on the traditional turkey-and-stuffing meal with these Friendsgiving food ideas.

  • Brew up some seasonal drinks. From pumpkin spice lattes to hot apple cider, there are a lot of signature seasonal flavors you can make into fun drinks.
  • Compete in a food photography challenge. #Food on Instagram has over 409,506,452 posts. Add to the trend by taking a photo of your meal before you dive in. Make sure your placement is on-point using this foodie photoshoot printable.

Use this foodie photoshoot placemat to arrange your plates and take the perfect picture!

  • Do a virtual pantry potluck. Have each of your friends go into their pantry and dig up whatever they can find. Use some culinary creativity to make these random ingredients into something to share for a virtual potluck!
  • Eat the whole meal on the camera. It’s been found that eating with someone is connected to elevated levels of “agreeableness” and positivity. So, whatever you decide to cook, make sure you eat with your friends on camera!
  • Have everyone cook the turkey in a different way. It can be deep-fried, roasted, wrapped in bacon or marinated in beer. Have each of your friends cook a turkey in a different way and rate them on-screen!
  • Have a cook-off. You have 24 hours to make a full Thanksgiving dinner. Once you’re done, send the food you made to one of your friends. Have them use this Thanksgiving cook-off sheet to vote for the winner. See who is gourmet-caliber and who should stick to buying from the frozen section!

Download this printable Thanksgiving Cook-off voting ballot to score your friends’ meals!

  • Indulge in a pie bar. Pies, like ice cream, come in an abundance of flavors. Sometimes you want a little of this one and a little of that one. Sample all the options by having a pie bar.
  • Make a “mug size” desert in a Fall cup. Autumn weather is when weird mugs make their seasonal debut. Use the cat puns, tea jokes and coffee mantra mugs to make a dessert in a cup.
  • Pass the plate TikTok challenge. Adapted from the Internet hit “Pass the Brush” challenge. Have each of your friends take a selfie video of them taking a bite of food from a plate and then passing the plate off-screen. Compile all the individual videos together and see how it comes out!
  • Use delivery to send your friends food. While take-out on any other traditional Friendsgiving is a big no-no, this year’s virtual feast is a little different. (Editor’s tip: Save on delivery costs using these Postmates coupons and discounts.)
  • Host a virtual cooking class. Set up a Thanksgiving-themed cooking class and have your friends cook along. You can even stream a Gordon Ramsey masterclass if you’re really feeling like turning up the heat.

Incorporate Thanksgiving Classics

There are some signature Thanksgiving elements: food, football, friends and family time. Here are some ways to translate the Thanksgiving classics into a virtual format:

  • Go on a socially distant turkey trot. Go to your local park, put on a mask, stay six feet apart and enjoy a stroll with your friends.
  • Break the virtual wishbone. The tradition goes that two people break the wishbone, and whoever gets the bigger half, their wish comes true. Unfortunately, you can’t break a virtual wishbone. But you can participate in this shooting-star type of wishing online.
  • Make a new tradition. While it’s fun to keep to tradition, it’s always a good idea to make a new one. Maybe virtual Friendsgivings will be the new normal, or maybe you’ll make the virtual cooking class a new tradition among your friends. Whatever it is, embrace the untraditional by turning it into a new tradition!
  • Play football online. While you can’t go out to a field and play the traditional flag-football, you can still get in that friendly competitive spirit by playing football online.
  • Prepare for holiday sales. The biggest sales of the year are right around the corner. Do some research so you have your savings gameplan.
  • Set up Secret Santa early this year. Are you the type of friend group that waits until the last minute to get each other gifts? Avoid that this year by setting up a secret Santa during Friendsgiving.
  • Take a nap. Have you ever had a nightmare that the stuffed turkey from the table was chasing you? That’s because research has been done correlating diet and disturbing dreams. So, before you get too deep into a food coma, take a nap to ward off those turkey-rampage nightmares.
  • Talk sports. How’s your fantasy football team doing? Did you see that play last Friday? Talk sports with your friends to bring some normalcy to the evening.
  • Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The iconic scene of Charlie running to kick a football, whiffing and falling on his back is a humble reminder that even the greats make mistakes. Stream A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for some nostalgic feelings.
  • Watch the Macy’s parade online. There’s something about watching a giant inflatable turkey float around Midtown that you just can’t draw your eyes away from. Watch the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving parade virtually.

Make Use of the Leftovers

Your food coma is in full gear and you’re all laughed out. It’s time to wind down, but before you leave the Zoom meeting, you can’t forget about all the leftovers.

  • Use them for breakfast the next morning. Use that extra stuffing and make it into a waffle. Drizzle some maple syrup and it’ll be like having your Friendsgiving meal all over again.
  • Reuse the corks for crafts. Don’t be quick to throw out those empty wine bottles. Use the corks for crafts like this placemat.
  • Send leftovers to guests who couldn’t attend the virtual event. If your friends weren’t able to make the video-event, send them whatever leftovers you made at your house. While they weren’t able to be there, they could still get a taste of it!
  • Use recyclable containers. Opt against plastic bags and cardboard take-out boxes. Instead, use reusable containers. (Editor’s tip: Don’t have containers? You can save on some using these Container Store coupons.)
  • Do good by composting. If you’ve exhausted all of the creative ways to cook leftovers, try to compost the remaining food instead of throwing it in the trash.

Tips for Hosting a Virtual Friendsgiving on a Budget

The holiday season is infamous for depleting bank accounts. This year, however, the virtual element of Friendsgiving can literally be your savings saving grace. Here are some tips for keeping your virtual Friendsgiving low-cost, something we all can be thankful for.

  • Focus less on the decor and more on the memories. This year the talk of Friendsgiving isn’t going to be how lovely you set up your house. So, focus less on the decor and put your attention on the entertainment.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Holidays have a way of sneaking up on people. Before you know it, you have a packed table of guests looking at you for food. While you might not be physically together this year, don’t use that as an excuse to procrastinate. Get ready early!
  • Save your decorations for next year. In 365 days, Friendsgiving will be back. Instead of tossing your decor, save it for next year.
  • Use digital as an advantage. While hosting Friendsgiving online isn’t ideal, it does help your wallet. Staying at home and using online activities and decorations saves you a ton, so take advantage of the digital format.

Thankfully, this year your tab doesn’t have to be a long one full of turkey-themed decor. Virtual Friendsgiving consists of three essential things: a computer, food and friends. You can’t buy friends, but you can save on food using these Giant coupons and discounts to Giant and a computer with these Microsoft coupons. Most importantly, give thanks and enjoy!

Sources: How Stuff Works | National Library of Medicine | National Geographic

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