A Property Manager’s Guide to Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving can be stressful. But a low-key event with your residents can help boost spirits. Here's how to pull it off.

On the surface, it seems like there wouldn’t be much to complain about when it comes to Thanksgiving. There are so many positives:

  • Holiday revolves around food, most of which being brown carbs (which are the most delicious carbs)
  • No work/school
  • Parade
  • Friends episodes with Brad Pitt/Underdog

Yet, dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover some not-so-fun aspects:

  • Never enough oven space
  • Football all day
  • Someone always brings up politics
  • Traced hand doesn’t really look like a turkey
  • Hot take: pecan pie is actually too sweet/disgusting

Maybe this is why Friendsgiving has become so popular. You get to choose who to invite. You’re not stuck slaving over a hot stove all day because other people are bringing dishes as well. The food doesn’t necessarily have to be Thanksgiving food, just delicious. And there’s wine. So much wine.

As property managers, you can throw an equally fun Friendsgiving (Residentsgiving? Tenantsgiving?) at your apartment buildings. It could be a great way for the residents to bond and feel like they are really a part of a community. Here’s how.

Have the event a few days after Thanksgiving. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, your residents are going to be cooking, figuring out their travel plans and silently weeping in the corner after they realize the grocery store is out of pumpkin pie filling. They don’t want to do anything at their communities. But after, they’ll feel much more relaxed and way more into doing something fun where they live.

Keep it casual. This is not the time for fine china. You don’t want your residents worrying about breaking anything. Paper plates are totally fine, and will make your clean-up a lot easier.

Encourage a leftover exchange. You’ll pry that leftover stuffing out of my cold, dead hands, but beyond that, most people are looking for ways to get rid of their Thanksgiving leftovers. Ask your residents to share the wealth. This way, nothing goes to waste, and everyone can try Aunt Ida’s famous corn bread.

But also have food prepared. You know what I always volunteer to bring to a potluck? Cups. I’m the absolute worst. For your apartment Friendsgiving, you can have residents RSVP in advance and tell them to bring a certain food item or leftovers. But not everyone will. They’ll “forget.” You don’t want a party with no food, so make sure to have something. Again, it doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving food. This is all about giving your residents a community feel. How about trays of ziti, catered from a local Italian place? Or something similar. You might even be able to get the food for free or cheaper, because the restaurants might want to drum up business.

Have an activity. Your Friendsgiving might be a little awkward at first, especially if the residents don’t really know each other. You want to avoid people taking a plate of food and then just running back to their apartments, because an empty room does not make a fun party. Set up games, a craft, karaoke… Anything  that will encourage people to interact with their neighbors and relax.

Instagram everything. If you don’t, did it even really happen? Plus it’ll be great content to market your community to future renters.

What other suggestions do you have for an awesome Friendsgiving at your community? Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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