It’s no secret that hosting tenant activities builds community and sets the stage for excellent landlord-tenant relationships.
Creating opportunities for tenants to meet in a relaxed environment is crucial. Fostering connections early will guarantee less neighbor drama down the road and reduce tenant turnover.
From low-key events like ice cream socials to large parties, you can bet that tenants will appreciate every minute of the fun–and free food! With Thanksgiving on its way, there’s no better opportunity to get your tenants together than a fun-filled “Friendsgiving.”
Evaluate Your Options:
Before the real planning can begin, decide how much you are able to invest financially. Catered meals are always easy to plan for, and leave your tenants (who no doubt have been busy cooking large meals for their families) content to enjoy and relax.
If you have a very limited budget, but still want to commit to giving your tenants a wonderful building tradition, invite all of your tenants to a potluck style meal. Supply the large menu items like ham and turkey, as well as a few side dishes and dessert options. Tenants can make their favorite side or simply bring a box of store-bought cookies. This keeps it simple for everyone involved, but know that a fully catered meal might create more of a turnout than one that requires pre-planning on the tenants’ part.
Pro Tip: If you chose to go the potluck route be certain to leave an extra table so all residents participating may place their dish buffet-style. There will undoubtedly be some party-goers who forget to bring serving utensils to accompany their dishes. Ensure that you have extra on-hand to make the event go smoothly.
Give Enough Notice:
The holidays are a busy time of year. To promote the best turnout invite your residents with as much notice as possible, and don’t host your Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving day to avoid competing with any family plans.
Use more than one form of invitation to be certain that each tenant doesn’t feel left out or just misses the information altogether. Consider placing a paper invite on each tenant’s door, posting flyers and listing reminders in a tenant-only Facebook group.
Set the Stage:
A great Friendsgiving meal starts with delicious food, but it doesn’t end there. Pay close attention to your decor and place settings. Regardless if the event is a low-key potluck or a higher-end catered event, setting the stage appropriately is key.
Take the time to add tablecloths to tables, decorate with festive pumpkins, gourds, and fall leaves. If your dinner is catered, ask if the service provides table settings and utensils. If you are opting for something less formal consider spending an extra few bucks on stylish plasticware instead of run-of-the-mill paper plates. Wedding or party stores are great places to look for these items, as they are in the off-season and there’s even a chance to find great options on clearance.
Regardless of how you decide to decorate, do it with intention. A well-organized buffet table and a few small centerpieces go a long way to making your Friendsgiving feel homier and more thought out.
Overall your goal is to make tenants feel welcome. Not paying attention to the details will make your dinner feel less like a carefully planned event, and more like an afterthought, which can send a poor message. After all, part of the purpose of hosting a Friendsgiving is to wow your residents with your thoughtfulness.
Pro Tip: If your residents consist of a lot of families with small children, set aside a little table with supplies for the youngsters to make turkey day crafts. It will wrangle up any active children, add a homestyle factor to your decor, and parents will appreciate the thoughtfulness–as well as a moment to relax and enjoy their dinner while the children are occupied.
Opt for Non-traditional:
Chances are, many residents will be enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with extended family on the day of. This means you shouldn’t be afraid to shake up tradition and the menu. Opt for planning your event before or after Thanksgiving day to have the highest turnout. Get creative and have fun with the meal options. If a fully catered turkey feast isn’t in the budget, look into a taco truck or another fun local restaurant that covers events.
Plan for Cleanup:
Cleaning up is the after-party everyone dreads, but with proper planning, it can go much more smoothly. Be sure that you have enough trash cans and recycle bins to cover any excess waste from the day. For a very large event, consider the overall flow of refuse and if you will need to rent a dumpster for the cleanup. Leftovers are often thought to be one of the best parts of Thanksgiving, don’t forget to have a set plan for any leftovers. Whether you purchase take-home containers for your residents to bring the party back home or prearrange to donate any excess to a local food shelter, be sure not to let the extra food go to waste.
Any Thanksgiving meal requires a good amount of forethought, and planning a large resident event certainly can have some obstacles, but with a little strategy and a few helpful tips, you’ll be ready to host the resident event of the season.