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Published November 27, 2013, 11:30 PM

Tips for hosting Friendsgiving

FARGO – Kirk Stevenson and Mallari Page have learned a thing or two about hosting a successful Friendsgiving.

By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM

FARGO – Kirk Stevenson and Mallari Page have learned a thing or two about hosting a successful Friendsgiving.

The Fargo residents have been planning pre- or post-Thanksgiving gatherings with friends for years.

Their ultimate advice? Try it.

“People say, ‘Friendsgiving, what is that?’ ” Stevenson says. “It opens this huge dialogue of fun and good friends getting together on a yearly basis.”

Plan early.

“We try to decide as early as possible, and I think that’s why it’s been successful. It kind of becomes a sacred weekend,” says Stevenson’s friend Kristina Hein.

Use Facebook, but also send paper invites.

Facebook is a quick, efficient way of ensuring that everyone is aware of the event and their responsibilities, but also send paper invites.

Troy Davis, one of Stevenson’s friends, keeps Friendsgiving invites on his fridge as reminders of the fun times. He says the formal invites “take it up a notch.”

Assign food.

Somewhat structured menus ensure the meal is cohesive and five people don’t show up with the same dish.

Let people find their bliss.

Some friends, especially those with kids or ultra-demanding jobs, don’t get many days/weekends off.

One of Hein and Stevenson’s friends naps frequently during the three-day Friendsgiving celebration, and they let him.

“It’s his time to chill out and relax,” Hein says.

The number of people doesn’t matter.

Stevenson’s crew numbers more than 30, but even a group of four friends can start a yearly Friendsgiving tradition.

Keep it simple, special.

Candles and a few centerpieces can amp up the ambiance and create a special feel for any dinner.

Stevenson supplies heavy-duty paper plates for the meals since the friends don’t want to spend their nights washing dishes.

Share traditions.

“Bring a traditional dish and something that your family shares together,” Stevenson says. “We all have one in our family, whether it be a soup, side dish or something else.”

Create a signature drink.

The signature cocktail at Stevenson’s Friendsgiving combines Pimm’s liqueur, orange, lime, mint and Sprite.

Everyone usually brings wine, beer and other beverages to share.

Expect imperfection.

The first year Stevenson and his friends held their event, they bought a turkey that was too big for the fryer. They flipped it mid-fry, and finally cut it. It was raw.

“Most memories revolve around the turkey,” Davis jokes.

Make it yours.

Page and her friends choose a theme each year. This year, they went with a turkey-fall theme. One year, they did black and white.

Page also requires her friends to wear dressy attire. She says it makes the event more memorable.

Consider parting gifts.

Last year, Page painted glasses from a dollar store with chalkboard paint and wrote the person’s name on them.

The clever glasses served double duty as place cards and favors.

Capture a moment.

Both friend crews take group photos at each of their Friendsgiving events. It helps them to remember who was there and how much the group does or doesn’t change.

Don’t forget to give thanks.

Stevenson and his friends say what they’re thankful for before their Saturday evening meal. Page and her friends write it down on paper.

“Year after year, people keep coming back because it’s a fun tradition,” she says. “It’s just a fancy way of hanging out.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525