Posted by Sam Sly on Aug 22nd 2017

Friendsgiving holds a special place in my heart. What is there not to love about enjoying good times and good food with good friends? It is a welcome respite during the hectic holiday season.

It can be easy and casual or extravagant. There are no rules. Friendsgiving is not bound to the same traditions as a family Thanksgiving. I consider my closest friends an extension of my chosen family. Why not take the time to celebrate them?

I celebrated my first Friendsgiving while living abroad in the UK. I didn’t have the option to visit my family, but I didn’t want to miss out on the traditions of Thanksgiving. I reached out to a few of my British friends to see whether they would be up for a “Thanksgiving” party.

Guests offered to bring food or drink. At first, I hesitated because none of my British friends experienced traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Then I enthusiastically accepted. I made a couple of key items, and each friend brought a favorite comfort food and a bottle of wine.

As a casual cook, I am so glad I shared the cooking responsibilities! It turned out I could not find any packaged, pre-made and convenience versions of Thanksgiving food locally. So I had to to make everything from scratch. I could not find key ingredients, so I had to adapt. Good ingredients make good food. It is that simple. Preparation matters, but fresh, quality ingredients gives a head start.

The evening was a success. We enjoyed an evening of good food, wine, conversation, and games. Ever since Friendsgiving is my favorite holiday non-tradition and I either host or attend one (or two) every year!

Five Tips For A Fun, Low-Stress Friendsgiving Party

Involve Your Friends

Don’t try to do it alone. (That is, not unless you want to. It is your party!) If you don’t want to cook a large dinner, then make your Friendsgiving party a potluck. The host might provide the turkey (or main dish of your choice), and the guests bring the sides.

Also, ask your friends to help with decorations, music and other needs. Ask your audiophile friends to bring their favorite vinyl or a great playlist. Do you need extra chairs? Or perhaps you need more plates and glasses? Ask your friends to bring some. Feel free to ask for whatever you need. This collaborative approach sets the scene for a fun, stress-free Friendsgiving celebration!

Keep it Simple and Form Your Own Traditions

Hosting a family Thanksgiving dinner is infamously stressful. It doesn’t have to be that way. People pressure themselves to make everything perfect. Friendsgiving is a chance to relax and unwind during the hectic holiday season.

Create your traditions and memories. Many celebrate Friendsgiving on the Wednesday before or after Thanksgiving. You are not bound by any rules. Plan your Friendsgiving celebration any time that is convenient for your friends.

Set a Festive Scene That Expresses Your Style

You can go all-out festive and debut your holiday decorations or just keep it cheap and cheerful. Use lights, candles, tablecloths, or whatever you like. The beauty of Friendsgiving is that you are not bound to the customary. Do what makes you happy.

Consider Your Guest’s Needs

Do you or some of your friends have children? While Friendsgiving frequently conjures images of young single adults, many Friendsgiving celebrations are multi-generational. Be sure to plan a play area for kids or stream some holiday classic children’s films.

Are some of your guests vegetarians? Do they have any special dietary needs or preferences? A little planning can ensure that everyone has a great time.

Plan an Activity

Friendsgiving revolves around dinner. However, some add a game night, film night or other activity. During family Thanksgiving the other year, the turkey burned and the room became smokey. We opened all the windows to help my apartment air out and then we took a riverfront hike before lunch. It turned out the turkey was fine and we all enjoyed the hike so much it became a new tradition.

Forming new family Thanksgiving traditions sometimes requires a shake-up. With Friendsgiving you can start from scratch and create your ideal celebration.

Happy Friendsgiving! Whether you are a host or a guest, Friendsgiving is part of the convivial lifestyle.