Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, or for some of us, Friendsgiving, the time of year when you break bread with your besties while breaking tradition with sharing a meal with your extended family. I am blessed to be able to celebrate both, but for some, for one reason or another, Friendsgiving is necessary; how else can you justify buying a giant pumpkin pie from Costco if you’re not going to share it with a group of friends?
Actually, the great thing about Friendsgiving is you don’t have to serve pumpkin pie…or turkey…or anything traditionally associated with Thanksgiving; Friendsgiving is about making your own traditions with your chosen family. That being said, there are a few general rules, guidelines really, that can help ensure everyone gets fed and has an enjoyable time.
It Occurs in November
For those who only celebrate Friendsgiving, it is okay to have it on Thanksgiving Day, but make sure you are not putting any of your friends in a tough spot having to choose between Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving with their family. The first weekend (or weekend before) that kids are out of school for Thanksgiving is usually a perfect time; everyone is ready to unwind from school before winding back up again preparing for the actual day of Thanksgiving.
Someone Has to Host
This goes without saying; one person has to be the host or coordinator. The host is in charge of ensuring a location for the meal and festivities. Whether it takes place in their own home or at a favorite restaurant, there should be plenty of space for friends and their kids. The host also coordinates food, as in who is bringing what. That way, not everyone brings guacamole or napkins! The host ensures everyone brings something different.
Everyone Brings Something to the Table
Each guest should bring something to eat, drink or use at the meal, and bring enough for everyone to enjoy. If food, drinks and utensils are all covered, and someone needs something to bring, it can be games, props, or even a playlist of music to make the day extra fun.
Make it Personal
My friends and I usually do Mexican food at our Friendsgivings; I know friends who order pizza or take out; and still some do only vegan or vegetarian foods. It is important to make the meal personal to your favorite group of people. Can’t all agree? Serve a variety of foods so there’s something for everyone.
Make it Fun
It’s your friends! No need for stuffy traditions and fine china. Play Thanksgiving trivia while you eat, watch a movie in your pajamas, or share a meal at a roller skating rink.
Make it Easy
If you’re too afraid you’ll set your house on fire (it’s the most probable time of the year) by cooking your own deep fried turkey (because of deep fried turkeys), order one from HEB or Popeye’s; or, don’t serve turkey. Serve foods you’re good at cooking, or just serve store-made dips and chips and finger foods, or maybe, just desserts. Friendsgiving is the foil to Thanksgiving, the opposite so keep it simple and as stress free as possible.
One theme shared by both events is giving thanks; for me, Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without a circle of loved ones bowing their heads and giving thanks. If that’s not the culture of your friends, maybe just send a thankful note in a text string, or write a clever toast to your friends, of find a way in your own love language to thank everyone for being there and for being a friend.
Everyone Helps Clean (and Pay)
This is true for both events! Be a good guest no matter what! Help clean, help pay for the venue (if applicable), obey the rules of your host’s home, be kind and respectful, share, participate, drink in moderation, and above all, don’t forget to thank your host!
What are your Friendsgiving Traditions?