When you’re hosting a party, you generally know to have enough food, but it’s surprisingly easy to overlook certain other necessities until it’s too late. Avert Thanksgiving disaster by making a list and checking it twice (never too early for that), so you’ll have plenty of these all-important items on hand for Friendsgiving. It may not go off without a single hitch, but your odds are much better if you’re prepared.
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While #1 on the list may not apply if you’re switching things up (say, hosting a Friendsgiving brunch, cooking an alternative bird to turkey, or otherwise going nontraditional), everything else is on-point for any type of Friendsgiving—or any other party—you’re having.
If you’re serving turkey (and mashed potatoes), you can almost literally never have too much gravy—and if you ultimately do, it’ll freeze nicely until you want to use up the rest. Luckily, it’s easy to make extra gravy with a pack of turkey or chicken parts, and you can do it ahead of time so that’s one less thing to worry about on the day of. Get our Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe and double it if you’re still worried you won’t have enough!
NorPro Porcelain Gravy Sauce Boat with Stand and Candle, $19.95 on Amazon
Keep that precious gravy nice and warm with this handy candle-powered gravy boat.
Whether you only have a couple ice cube trays and are gonna need more than that for cocktails, or you need to free up fridge space for things other than bottles of wine, soda, and beer, you may be in need of extra frozen water. You can probably ask a friend to bring a couple bags of ice when they arrive, but if you only trust yourself, get plenty the night before and store it in lidded coolers if you’re out of freezer space.
If you want to use some of the ice in cocktails, though, be sure to separate that in a freezer-proof container so it stays pristine.
Threshold Silver Aluminum Beverage Tub, $15.99 at Target
Regular camping coolers are totally fine for parties, but beverage tubs are a definite step up in style.
Even if you eschew traditional table setting, calculate the size of your crowd and make sure you have enough forks, spoons, plates, and such so that they can all eat at once. If you don’t, you can stock up on some inexpensive reusable flatware if budget and storage space allow, or go with high-quality disposable if that’s what you prefer. Don’t forget about glasses! Or napkins, for that matter. (Or at least have enough paper towels in case you need back-up.)
First Choice Eco-Friendly Disposable Biodegradable Wooden Cutlery, 300 pieces for $17.95 on Amazon
Plenty of spoons, forks, and knives for at least one party; you get 100 of each in this pack.
Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Palm Leaf Plates, 25 for $20.95 on Amazon
You get 25 7-inch square plates in this set.
Don’t forget about the serving vessels and accessories, either. Take a moment to list out all the food items on the menu (this includes anything you know guests will bring, since they may not remember to tote along the proper tools) and then inventory your kitchen drawers to make sure you have enough large spoons, spatulas, or whatever else you’ll need to dish them all out.
Related Reading: Special Occasion Dinnerware & Linens for Every Budget
If you don’t, you can usually pick up cheap versions at the dollar store, or spend a little more for higher quality pieces at Target or somewhere similar. You don’t absolutely need a dedicated serving utensil for every single dish, but it’s nice not to have to serve sweet potato casserole with a regular soup spoon.
AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Square-Edge Serving Set, 5 pieces for $16.99 on Amazon
A set of simple, classic serving utensils, from slotted spoon to pie server, to get you started.
Even if there won’t be any kids or known teetotalers at your event, it’s still nice to stock up on plenty of non-alchoholic drinks for whoever might want one—and ideally, not just one kind of soda, because everyone deserves options. Get a variety of soda, sparkling and still juices, and flavored fizzy water, and if it makes you feel more excited about doing it, pick ones that would also be good cocktail mixers. Nothing wrong with multitasking!
Related Reading: Fall Fruit Mocktails & Cocktails
Whether you invest in some reusable containers you don’t mind giving away or just get a bunch of gallon-size Ziploc bags, be sure you have plenty of storage containers of some sort for sending friends home with leftovers (or at least keeping them in your own fridge if you’re not feeling quite so generous). Foil and plastic wrap are handy to have too, so check your cupboards before you head back to the store for all the other stuff you forgot.
Leakproof Plastic Containers with Lids (Mixed Sizes), 45 for $17.99 on Amazon
Leftovers stay secure in these deli-style containers, and you won't care if your friends never give them back.
Sure, this seems like a no-brainer, but you definitely don’t want to leave it up to chance—and when you’re super busy with other things, the basics can sometimes slip by the wayside. (I still shudder to recall some of the early-20-something apartments I went to where such things were overlooked, so I speak from experience.) Stash extra TP in an obvious place too, so if a guest kills a roll, they can replace it without feeling sheepish about asking if there’s any more.
Be sure you have enough hand soap as well, and consider stepping it up from the very cheapest version to something a little nicer on the skin; if it smells good, all the better. It wouldn’t hurt to put it in a classy dispenser if you have one, or to set out a bottle of hand lotion beside it either (just two of many small touches that can make your place cozy and inviting as can be).
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, $39 at Nordstorm
This cult fave liquid soap is scented with orange, rosemary, and lavender.
Yes, linen towels are lovely, but most of us still like to have paper towels on hand for cleaning up spills and patting things dry (from poultry skin to salad leaves)—plus they can save your metaphorical bacon if you forgot about napkins (and maybe about the TP too, but only if it’s literally impossible to send someone to the store for a quick pick-up).
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Paper Towel Holder, $24.99 on Amazon
This sleek brushed stainless paper towel holder promises easy one-handed tearing.
That said, if you’re trying to cut back on consumption, check out these eco-friendly products to help reduce paper waste in the kitchen.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.