Celebrate Thanksgiving With Your Chosen Family: Friendsgiving

For a variety of reasons, Matt and I are not traveling for Thanksgiving in 2017. Having recently spent several days in Virginia, we really wanted to be home for the holiday. We were already planning to spend Thanksgiving at home this year when we received the news about the passing of Matt’s mom in late October. That news solidified our plans.

All of the remaining holidays this year are going to be a bit strange, so we just need to go with that grief in our own way. But, we love a good holiday celebration, and rather than invite ourselves over to someone else’s house, we decided to host an All-Day Friendsgiving Extravaganza.

Our schedule is as follows:

  • 10am: Watch the Parades

  • Noon: Cheer for the Detroit Lions in their annualThanksgiving Day Game

  • 6pm: Thanksgiving Dinner Pot Luck

We put out an invite knowing that many of our friends would have plans with their families, but we wanted to catch any Thanksgiving orphans, or thoselike us, who weren’t going to be traveling to see their families this year. A few friends responded and we appear to have a nice solid group of folks coming to our house at a variety of points throughout the day.

There isn’t one right way to host a Friendsgiving. For example, the Saturday before is a good time for many people to host a Friends giving so they can cook their own dinner for friends and still celebrate with their families on Turkey Day proper.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when hosting a Friendsgiving celebration in your own home.

  • Turkey and Gravy. If you’re hosting, offer to make just the turkey and gravy and only the turkey and gravy. You don’t need to invite additional stress, especially if you’ve never done this before. Matt and I buy a smoked turkey and gravy from a local barbecue shop. All we have to do is heat it up that afternoon. You can go through the entire turkey prep and cook process yourself but adding on all the sides can be too much, so stick with just the bird.

  • Potluck dishes. Here’s where the magic happens. Everyone you invite should bring one side dish. The best part about this is that you get to experience a variety of different holiday traditions. Someone might bring the traditional sweet potato casserole, but someone else might bring their family recipe of rice and beans. Your entire Friendsgiving will be richer for it.

  • Set a nice table. Another great way to celebrate Friendsgiving is to focus on your table décor. Look at Pinterest or magazines to get an idea of what kind of table you want to set. You can even do this if you have to use paper plates and plastic ware. Create a table scape with fall decorations, use fancy napkins or table cloths, and make this as beautiful a holiday as it is delicious.

  • Determine your timeline. Of course you want your Friendsgiving to come off without a hitch and that can be challenging for someone who always attended Thanksgiving dinner without being responsible for its success. I do this by handling as much preparation on Wednesday as possible. That way, all I need to do on Thursday is pop things in the oven. And plan the day to provide a schedule to your friends. For instance, our house will be open from 10 am on and friends can stop by just for drinks and snacks during the day if they’re otherwise heading to family for dinner.

Have you considered throwing a Friendsgiving either on Thanksgiving Day or sometime around it? How will you make your event special?

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