When Cardarella says go nuts, he really means it. We’re talking gourds galore, an eight-foot-tall inflatable turkey on the front lawn, and papier-mâché cornucopias.
“My point is, lean in. The holidays are fun, and nothing levels up Friendsgiving more than going all-out,” he says, adding that if you’re debating whether or not to put your pet in a costume, you should go ahead and definitely do so. “They hate it, but it’s adorable and funny.”
While you’re dressing your dog, don a costume yourself. Given the tumultuous times we’ve been living in, we could use a little extra laughter this holiday season. Not sure if you can commit to an over-the-top costume? “Rock a turtleneck,” says Cardarella. “It’s a power move.”
We also encourage you to put your phone away for a few hours, so you can actually be with the people you love in a non-virtual setting. And, of course, set those bottles of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky front-and-center on your bar. Nothing spells Friendsgiving like goofy pet costumes, corn stalks, and cocktails.
Play Some Stellar Tunes
“A great way to get people in the spirit of the holidays is with some well-curated playlists—but keep in mind there are people who should and shouldn’t be in charge of the music,” Cardarella says. “Recognize who they are in your group of friends, and find a way to politely tell them why they’re not allowed to ask Alexa anything besides the weather forecast.”
Cardarella recommends head-bobbin’ soul, jazz, and R&B from the 50s and 60s. Oldies like Doris Troy, Miles Davis, The Drifters,, and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. “Your friends will have another thing to be thankful for.”
If You’re Not Hosting, Bring a Gift
While Cardarella is fairly certain most folks know this, it bears repeating: “Never, ever show up empty-handed—even if your host says there’s no need to bring anything,” says Cardarella. “The old under-promise-over-deliver is a classy pro move. My pals and I usually set up a group chat, make fun of each other for a few good weeks, then get to business—entrusting one another with turkey-day prep and responsibilities.” If all else fails, adds Cardarella, a bottle of Dewar’s 15-Year Old ought to do the trick. If the celebrations are taking place at your place, make this palate-pleasing drink for your crew.