By Emily Starolis
There’s plenty to love about fall – the leaves, the football, the crisp autumn air. But there’s one thing in particular that really kicks off the holiday season with a bang – Friendsgiving. Because unlike Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a gathering of your chosen family vs. your given one.
It’s also extra meaningful if you’re away from home due to deployment or a recent move. No matter the reason, it’s an opportunity to honor old traditions and make new ones, wherever you are. Sure, it doesn’t come with Aunt D’s mean mashed potatoes, but it does mean an extra-large serving of love and gratitude for all your many blessings.
Whether this is your first Friendsgiving to host or not, we’ve come up with some tips for the taking to ensure it’ll be smooth sailing from the cooking to the conversation.
It’s the perfect time to take a moment to really enjoy each other’s company and take stock of the amazing people you have in your life. That’s hard to do when there’s more than eight or so people included. Plus, Friendsgiving isn’t complete without some sort of game or ritual, which is easier to organize when there isn’t a throng of people involved. You could go the classic route where everyone goes around the table and talks about what they’re thankful for – or you could up the ante and have everyone share their most embarrassing moment for some laughs alongside your sweet potato casserole.
There’s a ton of last-minute items you’re going to need (ice, anyone?!), so keep things moving as smoothly as butternut squash soup by getting a shared spreadsheet started. The great thing about Friendsgiving is that everyone invited is on the hook for bringing something, so make a little sign-up sheet that all guests can contribute to. Also, for you Type A readers, this ensures that you get exactly what you want.
Thanksgiving fare - while recognized as a national treasure – isn’t always everyone’s cup of pumpkin-spiced tea. Remember to ensure that if any of your guests are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, or allergic to any food items, that you have an option available for them. Again, this is where a sign-up sheet comes in handy! Guests can elect to bring a dish they know they’ll be able to enjoy, but it’s always nice to have options. Your fabulous and thoughtful spread will end up being one more thing your friends are thankful for.
Like most really good times, they go by in the blink of an eye. That’s why you need to plan for making memories! Start brainstorming now for the perfect hashtag for your party (they’re not just for weddings anymore!) so you can easily pull up all the pics guests take and post on social media throughout the evening. Also, a photo booth with some accompanying props is always an enjoyable addition, and can be done relatively inexpensively by visiting a second-hand shop or the 99-cent store.
Don’t let the magnitude of the party overshadow the meaning. Sure, there’s a lot that needs to be cut, chopped, carved and creamed, but with the help of your friends, it will get done. And even if it doesn’t – take out is only a call away and saves a whole lot of clean up time. So, enjoy the special moments shared with your people, that is after all, what the spirit of the season is all about.
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