11 Fun Friendsgiving Ideas for College Students

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11 Fun Friendsgiving Ideas for College Students
portrait of Christina Payne
by Christina Payne
Published on October 25, 2021


Not all college students can return home during the holidays. Students who remain at school during their Thanksgiving break can make the most of the fall season. One way to do this is by organizing a Friendsgiving.

What is Friendsgiving? It's a gathering of friends and loved ones, much like Thanksgiving. Students can make Friendsgiving as casual or as formal as they like. There are no rules.

Use this guide to discover fun Friendsgiving ideas to liven up the celebration!

1. Repurpose Thanksgiving Decor

Friendsgiving decorations can set a festive tone for a fun day with your friends. Repurpose Thanksgiving and other fall decorations for your Friendsgiving gathering. Or invite friends to shop with you for new decorations. Whoever finds the best Thanksgiving decoration wins!

2. Host a Potluck

Hosting Friendsgiving may seem overwhelming — especially if the host is responsible for all the cooking. Consider hosting a potluck dinner instead. Invitees can bring their favorite dishes to share, or — to avoid any duplicates — the host can assign one item for each person to bring.

3. Cook a Thanksgiving Feast With Friends

Instead of hosting a potluck, consider cooking a Thanksgiving feast with your friends. In preparation for the big event, plan some fun food ideas together. Then pool your resources for a trip to the grocery store. When the big day arrives, open up the kitchen to anyone who wants to help.

4. Hold a Pie-Baking Contest

Dessert is one of the best parts of any Thanksgiving meal. For your Friendsgiving gathering, challenge your friends to a pie-baking contest. See who can make the best dessert. Friends can bake together or separately, use old family recipes, or try out new recipes just for fun.

5. Plan Party Activities

Friendsgiving doesn't have to only focus on food. Plan some party activities for before or after dinner. Underage Friendsgiving groups can find plenty of fun card games to try. Friendsgiving gatherings with those 21 and over may include alcohol. Plan activities that are fun — and safe — for your gathering.

6. Play Board Games

Friendsgiving groups can also play board games together. Encourage friends to bring their favorite board games, or challenge them to bring the strangest board games they can find. Your Friendsgiving group can play them all. Or you may decide to just try out a few and save the rest for another day.

7. Throw a Football Friendsgiving

There are plenty of college and NFL football games to enjoy during the Thanksgiving break, so you may decide to host a football Friendsgiving. Even if your school team isn't playing the day of your gathering, there are many other games to watch. Cheer on your favorite teams while eating good food and spending time with friends.

8. Bake and Decorate Holiday Cookies

Thanksgiving meals traditionally include pie, but your Friendsgiving doesn't have to. Gather friends to bake and decorate holiday cookies for dessert. To save time, prepare and refrigerate the dough beforehand. Cookie-decorating supplies are available at almost every grocery store. You can gather all the supplies beforehand: sprinkles, icing, and fun-shaped cookie cutters.

9. Plan a Virtual Get-Together

Everyone makes different plans during their college Thanksgiving break, so it may be difficult to gather all your friends in person. But there are still ways to include everyone. You can host a virtual Friendsgiving for friends far and wide, including those who have traveled home. Invite friends to remain on video the whole time or just part of the time — whatever works best for the day.

10. Decorate Pumpkins

Fall means it's pumpkin season! A fun Friendsgiving activity can include decorating pumpkins. Paint them to create festive decorations. If you decide to carve the pumpkins, clean and toast the seeds. They will be a tasty snack for later in the day.

11. Host a Movie Marathon

Watching movies with friends is a great activity for a fall day. Turn Friendsgiving into a Thanksgiving movie marathon. Watch Thanksgiving classics such as "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." You don't have to limit the marathon to just Thanksgiving-themed movies — choose any films that you and your friends enjoy.


Feature Image: Emily Suzanne McDonald / Getty Images

Discover 18 Friendsgiving food ideas for college students. Explore options for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Many students find making friends in college challenging. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can put yourself out there and meet new people. It's time to bring out the autumn maple leaves and pumpkin decor. Explore fun fall decor ideas for college students.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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