How to host a memorable Friendsmas

Spending Christmas with family isn’t possible for everyone. And even if it’s an option for you, it no longer has to be your only one.

“Friends are the family we choose,” or so it’s said. If that idea rings true for you, perhaps it’s time to start including a different group of loved ones into how you celebrate the holidays.

What is Friendsmas?

Friendsmas is a wonderfully inclusive recent invention. Created to be both complementary to and an alternative for family get-togethers, Friendsmas includes all the eating, drinking, gift-giving and merry-making commonly associated with Christmas day (inc. the optional wearing of gaudy Christmas sweaters). However, where Friendsmas differs is that all the celebrating is coloured by the fact the people coming together share nothing more than a close and personal attachment they’ve cultivated out of choice to enjoy the moment. 

When and where do you host Friendsmas?

Friendsmas combines the best of Christmas day celebrations with a cocktail glass of flexibility, so those time-honoured traditions can better suit the realities of today. 

For example, Friendsmas parties aren’t confined to being held specifically on Dec. 25; that might not suit everyone’s diaries and circumstances. The priority is finding a date when friends can be together and then planning accordingly.

There’s flexibility when it comes to choosing venues, too, with the main variable being how large the group of friends is anticipated to be. As such, a favourite restaurant or bar might be a more suitable alternative to one friend hosting it at their home. 

But Friendsmas is not just another catch-up between friends; it’s a very special occasion held but once a year, and that means planning and effort well beyond the everyday. So if it’s to be hosted at a friend’s home, festive decorations, wrapped gifts, and a joyfully presented dining table are definitely the order of the day. 

One of the easiest yet most beautiful ways to theme a table laid high with mouthwatering Friendsmas dishes is with Royal Doulton’s range of beautiful Christmas tableware. Our collection provides a modern and stylish way to both elevate the menu and show how much the get-together means to you.

What are popular Friendsmas foods?

While there’s a lot of leeway, we suggest making your dining menu equal parts easy and festive.
Spending hours in the kitchen adding flourishes to impressive culinary creations is all well and good, but it can also severely restrict your own ability to enjoy the party. Instead, select a few key dishes you can make in advance, platter on the day, and that will allow all attending to casually help themselves. 
Here are a few ideas for bite-sized dishes to start you off, all ideal to serve on Royal Doulton’s platters and trays:

Cheese Boards

Have fun curating and presenting your unique combination of breads, crackers, nuts, fruits, dips, and of course, cheeses both hard and soft.

Cold Meat Platters

From smoked, roasted and cured and from mild to red-hot, welcome your guests with a cold cut spread that’s overflowing with choices. Make sure to include vegetarian options such as plant-based deli meats, olives and cut-fresh vegetables.


There are simply too many appetiser possibilities to mention, but we do recommend applying these three criteria to make your canapes tray rise to the Friendsmas occasion: Taste. Colour. Texture.

Small desserts

Continue the help yourself format by having single-servings of a variety of sweet treats - we strongly recommend home-baked cookies made the day before for when it’s eventually time for coffee.
If, on the other hand, you and your friends would prefer a sit-down dinner setup, Royal Doulton’s classic white tableware is ideal for reconnecting with nostalgic Christmas moments. 

Friendsmas gifts that’ll last a lifetime

Gift-giving is a standard ingredient of the festive season experience. But buying a present for everyone attending Friendsmas can be tricky and awkward. That’s why a lot of friendship groups opt instead to do a Secret Santa (also known as Kris Kringle). It works like this: well in advance of the party, each friend is randomly and secretly allocated the name of another friend who’ll be attending, and that friend is the only person they’ll bring a special gift for on the day. It maximises everyone’s spending power, every guest receives a gift, and maximum spending limits ensure parity across all gifts. 

Royal Doulton’s range of Christmas gifts for friends includes some beautiful options to choose from. You can also explore our Secret Santa gift guide and our array of secret Santa gifts that can help you find the perfect present for your Friendsmas celebration. 

Explore our full Christmas collection to savour the moment with Royal Doulton