Thanksgiving is a special time of year, and probably the most important event when families get together in the US (about a month earlier in Canada). But that assumes you want to spend time with family members, and are able to travel which can be a challenge today as we've become a mobile society. That's why the new trend, to celebrate this special holiday with friends, called Friendsgiving, is so wonderful.
While this trend might have started with Thanksgiving, there's really no reason why you can't gather your friends together for a home cooked meal more often. And who will you invite to your Friendsgiving celebrations?
- Your chosen family, the people you've chosen to surround yourself with, when you don't feel welcomed by the nuclear family.
- Your home-away-from-home family like sorority sisters, when you're too far from home to travel there for one or two days.
- Your special interest friends, who share your passion for running, hiking, quilting or … fill in the blank. And that's where picking one month each year to share a special meal, makes so much sense.
Friendsgiving Includes Sharing Responsibility
You probably never realized how much preparation goes into each Thanksgiving celebration. And every family does it differently, so when you bring people together, everyone's individual experience differs. That is why it's time to rethink who should what, to share the work and make sure everyone has a good time.
So here are tips to help you organizing your Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving celebration.
- The host is someone with enough room for the people you want to invite, and is willing to clean before and after the event. When I lived in Tokyo and had what's called a mansion (1400 sq ft), my Foreign Executive Women's group always met at my apartment whether I was there or not. I've also made my home available to friends, to enjoy the party without organizing a thing … besides the house.
- The organizer is someone who has time to coordinate who's coming and the food they're bringing to fill out the planned menu. They'll contribute one or two dishes, and probably those will be the ones noone else volunteers to provide.
- The decorator is someone who's coming to the party, and is likely an interior decorator who loves dressing up anyone's home. While optional, it's a treat for the host and a way for the decorator to display their talent and potentially gain a new client. Jennifer Myers started decorating my home for Christmas after staging a home for me, so I can enjoy the holiday all month versus worrying about when I'll find time … LOL.
Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving Menu with a Twist
You know what your favorite Thanksgiving dishes are, and that might be what you contribute. What's fun about a Friendsgiving meal is that you can sample the traditional foods prepared lots of different ways. Buzzzfeed's article, 17 Rules of Friendsgiving, does a wonderful job of outlining how to organize the menu.
Here's a quick summary of what you already know makes Thanksgiving a feast, with some dishes prepared for vegetarian, vegan or allergy conscious guests.
- Hors d'oeuvres can be provided by one or multiple guests, and it's best to have a mix of healthy and some that are more filling. Soup is also a possibility and I'd recommend serving it in cups with disposable spoons so guests can enjoy it before sitting down.
- Several meat dishes as we're discovering more people are allergic to poultry, like my son and brother-in-law.
- All sorts of potatoes from traditional mashed potatoes, to my family's favorite sweet potato casserole covered with mini-marshmallows.
- Several types of stuffing, to showcase the different ingredients we like to put into this Thanksgiving dish.
- Lots of desserts, cut into smaller portions so you can sample a few without feeling guilty. Of course you won't want to skip the traditional apple and pumpkin pies, or what fits the holiday or season of your gathering.
- Liked BuzzFeed's suggestion that everyone bring a bottle of wine, although I might suggest a mix of drinks including wine, beer, soda and sparkling water.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and hope you experiment with the idea of hosting a Friendsgiving meal soon.