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The tradition started four years ago when Los Angeles–based blogger Sara Toufali of Black & Blooms lived in an apartment without a working formal dining room. (She and her partner had transformed it into an office.) She still wanted to host her pals for Friendsgiving, but without a table big enough, they had to get creative and move the party to their living room. Her solution for making the smaller celebration special: Eat on the floor, picnic style. 

Photography by Sara Toufali

As it turns out, taking the traditional meal down a notch has some fun benefits. “Since it’s literally on the floor, trying to be too fancy with it doesn’t make sense,” says Toufali. “In essence, it’s a casual affair.” One year guests even used their seating cushions as head pillows for a turkey-fueled nap after dinner. “Everyone was just lying on the floor, and it was so funny,” she says. 

Her low-fuss entertaining style is a great idea for a more laid-back spin on what’s usually an elaborate, family-filled holiday. Here’s how to pull off your own picnic-style Thanksgiving.

Hack the Table

Photography by Sara Toufali

To make a cozy eating area for her guests in years past, Toufali cleared the coffee table from the living room and borrowed a long plastic folding table from her brother: “We kept the legs folded in, put some banana fiber poufs underneath to prop it up, and voilà!” You can also add lift with crates or sturdy bins, she says. Hot tip: “You’ll notice that our table got progressively taller throughout the years,” notes Toufali. “That’s because it’s hard to eat when the table is straight on the floor. This way you don’t have to hold your plate up to your mouth to eat.” 

Lend Some Support

Photography by Sara Toufali

The first time Toufali hosted, she simply moved her couch’s pillows to the floor. The next year she went with sturdier poufs from Society6. “You’d be surprised how comfy it actually is,” she says of sitting on the ground. 

Keep the Tablescape Casual

Photography by Sara Toufali

The beauty of a floor party is that you don’t have to break out the fine china. For example, one year Toufali used melamine plates and mismatched drinking glasses. She doesn’t fuss over flowers either. “I’ve always just gone to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to get inexpensive flowers, and I put the bouquets together myself,” she says, making sure to keep the arrangements of daisies and sunflowers tiny and low to facilitate easy conversation. 

Serve Food Buffet Style

Photography by Sara Toufali

Instead of loading up the table with turkey and side dishes, Toufali sets up the meal in the kitchen or lines it up on the coffee table. It’s also a good general hostess hack: You don’t have to serve your guests seconds. They can go grab a new plateful themselves while you gleefully snooze on the floor. 

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