Photos by Kelly Larkin
I have to admit, I love a fancy dinner party that requires heels, Pinterest-worthy decor, a turkey, and the whole nine yards.
But sometimes, you just need a low-key get together without all the fluff, am I right?
So, in lieu of the traditional “Friendsgiving” this year that takes days of planning, I went the casual route, for a fun, low-key lunch with some of my best girlfriends: Lauren, Kit, Kelly and Erin. Let’s call this a “Girlsgiving” shall we?
The idea? We swapped the traditional party dresses and heels for cozy Gap Factory sweaters and comfy socks; we forgot the turducken, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, and went for a better route: lunch! On the menu: Turkey salad sandwiches with cranberry aoli, and super easy caramelized onion potato soup!
The best part? You can even host this get-together after Thanksgiving, and serve up a delicious lunch using your leftovers. OR just stock up on a couple extra ingredients when you do your Thanksgiving run, and host this a couple days before. (Why haven’t I always been doing this?)
So, for the perfect “Girlsgiving” read on for our guide on what to wear, what to make, and how to pull together the simplest decorations (with items you probably already have on hand!)
What to make
I don’t know about you, but when I keep the menu super simple, I always seem to have a lot more fun! Nobody wants to be rushing around the kitchen juggling 10 different dishes. You do that once a year at actual Thanksgiving, so don’t torture yourself by trying to do it over for your friends! This inevitably results in burning the bread (ALWAYS burning the bread), and stresses out your guests!
Instead, go for this simple, Thanksgiving-inspired lunch route instead: meat and cheese for nibbling beforehand (Kit picked these goodies up at Aldi beforehand for just a few bucks!).
For the main course, it was mini turkey salad sandwiches with cranberry aoli, and a simple caramelized onion potato soup. (The caramelized onions make ALL the difference–such an easy way to add depth to a simple soup!)
The best way to do this? Plan your girlsgiving a day or two after Thanksgiving, so all you need to do is use your leftovers! A little bit of turkey, cranberry, onions, and potatoes…all things you already have on hand, or need to buy anyway!
If you aren’t digging the turkey idea, pick up a rotisserie chicken, it’s just as delicious!
Get both recipes below…
[yumprint-recipe id=’7′][yumprint-recipe id=’8′]
How to decorate
With so many projects to wrap up before the holidays, it’s difficult to find the time to run to several different stores to plan your decor! Luckily, a low-key party requires some low-key decor, so I improvised with what I had on-hand!
My favorite vintage plaid blanket I picked up at Randolph Street Market became our tablecloth. I always keep a roll of butcher paper on-hand for various projects (it becomes a great counter runner to set up a buffet on your island, an impromptu table cloth, and even doubles as cute rustic wrapping paper! This stuff is genius, I tell you.) Today, it became a runner to add a casual, rustic touch to my table. A cute touch would be to ask everyone to write what they’re thankful for on the runner, but, you know, we got distracted chatting and forgot to do this part.
I usually attempt to keep fresh flowers on hand (hydrangeas are my bouquet of choice!) For more of an impact, I split up my typical bouquet into three mini bouquets, using mason jar glasses (we usually use these for beer and water!) in lieu of vases.
Finally, I had picked up a few mini pumpkins for halloween a month or so ago, and they were the perfect finishing touch for a fall table scape!
What to wear
One of my favorite parts of having a casual lunch instead of a traditional dinner, is that the pressure is off to get all dolled up. It was cozy sweaters from Gap Factory for the win at this low-key fiesta! Budget friendly, warm and cozy, they made the perfect outfit for the occasion. They’re also having a major sweater sale right now (starting from $19.99!) so you can stock up on several for the big Thanksgiving dinner, holiday parties, and Christmas, too!
Shop Our Sweaters:
Other Cozy Favorites:
Have you ever thrown a “girlsgiving”? What are your tips? What are you wearing this year?
Thank you to Gap Factory for sponsoring this post and allowing us to put together the perfect “Girlsgiving” guide! All opinions are solely my own.