Friendsgiving is like Thanksgiving except you all get to sit at the big kid table (or, maybe you have a kid’s table for a select few of your friends). It’s a celebration that is an additional gathering to traditional Thanksgiving or it replaces your family’s dinner if you live far away, are out of contact, or don’t have family. Regardless of your situation, Friendsgiving is sure to make the Thanksgiving holiday worthy of continuous tradition each year.
Family is lovely, but isn’t there always some awkwardness, drama, or friction even in the healthiest of families? Time spent with them is tiring. All the memories from growing up are bundled up in the interactions and relatives have a distinct way of knowing exactly how to push our buttons. Everyone’s situation is different. Some may not spend time with their family at all and for others, Friendsgiving is a welcomed addition to their more traditional Thanksgiving. Either way, Friendsgiving offers us a reprieve from the chaos of blood relatives (or from being alone) and we get to spend time with the family we choose.
Friends are the people who get us. They share our interests, values, and our humor. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones and your family doesn’t stress you out at all, you get to express gratitude and love for your friends. I’m always so appreciative of friends showing up to my parties, usually with hands full of offerings and hearts full of gratitude. It’s a perfect time to connect!
You get to choose what kind of food is part of the celebration! My family would rather do without vegetables. They’re an afterthought, something we probably should have alongside the barrels of meat and potatoes. I on the other hand, love to experiment with different kinds of vegetables, so I’m having a vegan Friendsgiving this year where I’m encouraging each of my friends to bring a home cooked dish. I have no idea what’s going to arrive at my house, but I know that there’s going to be fun spins on traditional dishes like tofu-filled stuffed shells instead of meat lasagna. What kind of dishes would you have at your party?
Friendsgivings are best done as potlucks. Have each friend bring a dish and you only have to cook one or two dishes as opposed to the whole shebang. Furthermore, cleanup is a team effort. I hope your friends are as great as mine! Everyone lends a hand to clean and package up leftovers. Also, break out the fine plastic and paperware to make cleanup easier!
You set the date and time as Friendsgiving doesn’t fall on any particular day. Your guests won’t have to worry about holiday traffic or the party conflicting with family time. You could have the party a few days after Thanksgiving (I’m having mine the Saturday after Thursday’s Thanksgiving). There are no rules for when the gathering needs to be. You also can set a time period for when they come over and leave, which is a little different than family who hangs around for a while. Facebook events are good for time expectation setting! I’m not one for staying up late, so I tend to make my events from 5-9 or so on Facebook so people clear out when I am ready for them to.
You get to control the booze, whether that means more, less, or just the same as family gatherings. For me, I don’t drink at all, so I’m throwing a sober party and offering fun nonalcoholic beverages. It’ll make me (and most of my friends) feel comfortable and relaxed without booze. If you do drink and your family members are not big drinkers, let the wine flow freely! Have crazy fun drinks like pumpkin flavored margaritas or something. Is that a thing?
I can always count on a great aunt asking me what boy I’m dating. It’s already uncomfortable enough to tell her I’m single for the third Thanksgiving in a row, I don’t want to also have the queer talk, too (sorry auntie, I’m not only dating boys). With friends, the awkwardness is way toned down. Most friends are up to speed on our lives and if they aren’t, it’s going to be much less weird to tell them the details! They tend to speak on the same wavelength as us, that’s why we’ve chosen them as friends.
Furthermore, Friendsgiving makes for the loveliest company and some wonderful memories. Still not convinced? Check out these two articles on How to Throw a Great Party in a Small Apartment Space and How to Save Money on a Thanksgiving Meal to supplement the stellar Friendsgiving plans you have cooking.