Planning your Friendsgiving
How do YOU Friendsgiving?
If you've ever been to one of our past Friendsgiving celebrations, you might be thinking it's a tall order in asking you to recreate the experience on your own. But, if there's anything this year has taught us, it's that we could all show a little more kindness to ourselves. One thing we like about what having to do this new approach to Friendsgiving offers is the opportunity for folks to tailor their celebrations to their own styles, comforts, and creativities! Below, we've rounded up some inspiration, ideas, and tips for putting together a unique Friendsgiving experience. This is by no means an exhaustive list of every idea, and we're so excited to see what you come up with for your own celebration. But, we're hoping these suggestions at least show you some possibilities and help in the planning of your own awesome Friendsgiving Feast!
Step 1: Pick your date
If you've already registered your Friendsgiving celebration with us, you were asked to pick a date for your party. That was just a formality. Need to switch dates? No problem! Want to celebrate more than once? Go for it! This is your Friendsgiving, after all, and you don't even need to loop us in on the change. We're asking folks to celebrate Friendsgiving anytime in the month of November, but this portal can be accessed through the end of the year, so even if you need to push your celebration back, as long as you make your party's donation by December 31, 2020**, that goes toward our 2020 Fiscal Year, which is a MAJOR help to us!
**To be considered for the competition to win the artwork by collecting the most in donations from your Friendsgiving celebration, we must receive your party's donation by 11:59PM on Monday, December 7.
Step 2: Pick your vibe!
Once you've got the date settled, now it's time to figure out HOW you're going to celebrate! While a fancy dinner party in a beautifully-lit tent under Janet Echelman's Where We Met is always a gorgeous way to go, you can put your own spin on Friendsgiving - and it can be super simple!
For our own Friendsgiving celebration with GDPI staff this year, we held a small picnic in Carolyn's Garden at LeBauer Park, photographed by our Park Photographer, Jennifer Scheib, of Happy Labs Photography.
We took advantage of the gorgeous Fall weather to get outside to one of our favorite quiet spaces in the parks. Nestled among the roses and feathery purple Gulf Muhly Grass, six of our staff gathered to celebrate together for lunch outside of the office on a Friday afternoon.
Autumnal hues of rust, golden yellow, and emerald in the plush pillows and other small furnishings from Prettiest Pieces gave the picnic an instantly-elevated seasonal feel. Easy and delicious picnic fare from the Undercurrent Restaurant and 1618 On Location - turkey and brie wraps, salmon cakes, a salad with hazelnuts and roasted grapes, fresh fruit, and cookie bars - made the menu planning a breeze! A gorgeous display of white roses, red berries, and greenery in a picnic basket centerpiece from ABBA Design anchored the stunning and simple display. And, champagne kept the conversation bubbly! Food, drink, flowers, and comfort made an easygoing Friendsgiving special and fun.
Looking for even more creative ideas to do Friendsgiving YOUR way? Check out some other possibilities:
Do things the most 2020 way you can, and make it a Zoom Party! If you're a newbie to the Zoom Party concept, check out some advice from the LA Times and super fun ideas to bring your virtual event to the next level from Buzzfeed. And, hey! Want to add some park pizzazz to your digital fête? Check out our FREE downloadable downtown parks Zoom backgrounds.
Socially distance in your own backyard. If you don't have a 'quarantine bubble' (a group of select folks you've been exclusively seeing throughout this time) but would still like to Friendsgiving at home, Today.com has some awesome advice from party planners and public health experts on the best ways to fuse safety and fun at your next celebration.
Try a masked outing! Who said Friendsgiving had to be a meal? This is 2020 - the rules are out the window, and the times, they are a'changing! Any way you can think to have a little fun with the people you love, while getting them to show a little love to the parks at the same time, certainly qualifies as a celebration worthy of being called a Friendsgiving. So, what can you do? Playdate at the playground, hit up a drive-in, take a dance class together, head downtown and shop 'til you drop, and so much more. Looking to make your Friendsgiving easy and fun? Check out our roundup of Program Partner Resources - offering info on classes, workshops, and fun things to do from our very own program partners in wellness, arts, children's programming, and more!
Bring it to the Park! Want a gorgeous outdoor venue for your Friendsgiving? Reserve space at LeBauer or Center City Parks. We can accommodate events of up to 100 people under North Carolina's Phase 3 Guidelines. With top rate facilities, gorgeous public art, unique equipment add-ons, and plenty of room to spread out, the parks might just be your next great space for a celebration in downtown GSO. And, there's an added BONUS! For Party Hosts only, the rental fee goes toward your party's total Friendsgiving donation, upping your chances of winning big in the competition for the park artwork. Oh yeah, and we'll even throw in a 20% discount on your park rental for the Friendsgiving celebration! Learn more about exclusive deals for Friendsgiving Party Hosts here.
Step 3: Invite the crew
Once the vibe is set, it's time to get the word out to your VIPs. Text, email, phone call, and old fashioned invitation by mail are all great options for telling your friends and family when and where to join you for your Friendsgiving celebration. But, if you want to throw in some beautiful, simple tech into the invitation game, we LOVE Paperless Post's Fall Entertaining Collection. This e-vite platform makes it incredibly easy to design, edit, send, and update your invitation to guests in real-time.
What to include on your invitation? You already know the What, When, and Where, but don't forget to include the Why! You're hosting this Friendsgiving celebration in support of Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc.. You love your local downtown parks and are asking your friends to share in the support of these vital urban greenspaces.
Feel free to get specific and offer a suggested donation amount per guest. Something like, "No need to BYOB - we've got you covered! Instead, we're asking each guest to bring $20 to show some love to these parks that we care for so deeply. The more we raise, the more we help!" is plenty enough to get the point across to your nearest and dearest. Even better? Get specific about what makes LeBauer and Center City Parks special for you and your community - make it personal!
Step 4: Celebrate!
This is the good stuff. Now's the time to take it easy and have fun with your Friendsgiving guests! Check out some last minute tips for your celebration:
Bust out some FREE entertainment. Check out our lineup of video performances and Spotify playlists from local musicians who have played at the parks over the years to set the soundtrack for your celebration.
Take plenty of pics to share! Want to show off your Friendsgiving? Tag @greensborodowntownparks on Instagram, @Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc. on Facebook, or @GDParksInc on Twitter
Don't forget to make the ask! Check out all they ways you can collect donations throughout your celebration on our Collect Donations page. Remember, the Party Host that collects the most in donations from their celebration will win a beautiful piece of park art!
That's it! Be sure to check out more on this Party Host Portal to help make your celebration the best it can be. And, thank you so much for signing up to celebrate Friendsgiving your way in support of your downtown parks. We are so grateful to you and your guests for the love and care you show to LeBauer and Center City Parks and to the dedicated team who work for the benefit of our community through placemaking in these incredible spaces. We couldn't do this work without you.