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The New Dinner Party Rules

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t arrive too early, don’t stay too late.
  • Figure out who is bringing what.
  • Check with everyone before posting on social media.

By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff

Although it’s not exactly an age-old tradition, “Friendsgiving” — or celebrating Thanksgiving with friends — is a great opportunity to share a meal and make memories with your chosen family. However, hosting an event like this can be an ambitious undertaking, so, as a guest, you’ll want to be helpful and well-mannered. Don’t be that friend who gets roasted in the post-party group chat because you brought uninvited guests or showed up empty handed.

Due to Friendsgiving’s more casual style, you may not be expected to eat with the correct fork or have to sit in assigned seats. However, there are social standards you should observe to ensure your Friendsgiving is both heavy on fun and light on your budget.

Fashionably late is the new on time

If the invite says 4:00 pm and you arrive at 4:00 pm, your host will be in the shower wondering who’s ringing their doorbell. Being fashionably late (15-30 minutes) is completely acceptable — and in most cases expected.

On the other hand, you don’t want to arrive too late. You never want to hold up the group from eating. So, if you’re going to be late, call and provide a realistic ETA (don’t say you’re five minutes away if you’re still mentally preparing to get out of bed).

Don’t come empty handed

The crux of a successful Friendsgiving is that everyone contributes, so the burden isn’t completely on the host. A popular course of action is to do a potluck. Having everyone use SignUpGenius or Google Docs ™ is a great way to stay organized and hopefully preventing seven sides of mashed potatoes from showing up. If you want to keep it simple, instead of doing large dishes like baked mac & cheese, you can all bring apps and a bottle of your favorite wine to share.

  • Money tip: Precooked holiday meals are a thing. Places like Whole Foods or Cracker Barrel offer Thanksgiving packages for under $100. By splitting the cost with your friends, you can have a complete meal with considerably less hassle.

Leave your alcohol behind

Bringing a bottle of wine or spirits to share is an important part of any dinner party. At the end of the night, if the bottle you graciously brought remains unopened or half empty, decorum dictates that you leave the bottle as a gift to the host. Yes, even if it’s a large bottle. Yes, even if you paid a lot. Yes, even if there is plenty of alcohol just sitting there.

  • Money tip: If you and your friends are tight on cash, consider pooling your money together and designating one person to do the liquor store run. An uncoordinated BYOB event runs the risk of yielding 12 bottles of identical pinot grigio.

Ask before posting/tagging others on social media

If you don’t post pictures of your dinner party, did you even have a dinner party? Following this popular school of thought, you should assume that pictures will be taken. However, it’s important to ask before posting and tagging others in your photos. Your friends may not want the world to see pictures of them taking shots on Facebook. Also, if you had to limit the number of guests, then you don’t want to hurt the feelings of those friends who didn’t make the cut.

  • Money tip: Instead of buying expensive decorations, get your party Instagram-ready with some DIY or dollar store hacks. When the party is over, save your decorations for next year.

Know when to leave

If the host provided an end time on the invitation, then be respectful of that. They’ll have a lot of cleaning up to do after the party. If the invite said “5:00 pm until …” then you may need to rely on social queues. Here are a few signs that the host is ready to wrap up:

  • They close down the bar.
  • They start cleaning up.
  • They thank you for coming, and talk about the party in the past-tense. “This was great; we should do it again soon.”
  • They are yawning uncontrollably.
  • They talk about how early they have to get up in the morning.
  • They hand you your jacket.

What to remember

Friendsgiving doesn't have to be expensive to be special - It's meant to be a stress-free time with your chosen family. Plan to laugh until your face hurts, eat until you're full, and reflect on everything you are grateful for. 

More information

Want to quickly and easily transfer money among friends? You can enroll in Zelle ® by downloading the Citizens Bank mobile app* or enrolling in online banking.

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