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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Cantrell

"Friendsgiving": Feasts, Fat Pants, Friendship, and Food Comas


Friends-giving

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Friendsgiving, a delightful combination of "friends" and "Thanksgiving," is the modern-day celebration of Thanksgiving with friends rather than family. It's the perfect opportunity to gather with your "chosen" family, indulge in delicious food, and create lifelong memories. Friendsgiving is all about embracing the spirit of gratitude and appreciation for the friendships that enrich our lives in the ultimate test of friendship...while you're wearing your "fat" pants.



The history and origins of Friendsgiving


While Friendsgiving has become increasingly popular in recent years, its origins can be traced back to the early 2000s. As a response to the traditional family-centric Thanksgiving celebrations, Friendsgiving emerged as a way for friends, particularly young adults, to celebrate the holiday together. It was a chance to create a sense of belonging and togetherness among friends who may not have been able to make it home for the official Thanksgiving gathering.



Friendsgiving vs. Thanksgiving: What's the difference?


Although Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving share the same core concept of expressing gratitude, there are a few key differences. Thanksgiving is typically celebrated with family members, while Friendsgiving is a more casual and intimate gathering among friends. Friendsgiving allows for more creativity in the menu, often featuring unique twists on traditional dishes or even entirely new recipes. It's a time to relax, have fun, and enjoy the company of close friends without the formalities that can sometimes accompany family gatherings.



The importance of Friendsgiving in modern times


In today's fast-paced world, where many of us live far away from our families, Friendsgiving holds great significance. It provides an opportunity to create a sense of belonging and community, especially for those who may not have their loved ones nearby. Friendsgiving allows us to forge deeper connections with our friends, strengthening bonds and creating a support system. It's a celebration of friendship, love, and the joy of coming together to share a meal and create lasting memories.



Planning your Friendsgiving feast


When it comes to planning your Friendsgiving feast, there are a few key things to consider. First, decide on the date and time that works best for everyone. Collaborate with your friends to create a menu that caters to everyone's dietary preferences and restrictions. Assign each person a dish or course to bring, ensuring a variety of flavors and options. Don't forget to plan for drinks, appetizers, main courses, sides, and of course, delectable desserts. Make a checklist of all the ingredients needed and delegate the shopping responsibilities to different friends to lighten the load. Lastly, don't forget to set the ambiance with cozy decorations and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests.



Friendsgiving recipes and menu ideas


When it comes to Friendsgiving, the menu possibilities are endless. While traditional Thanksgiving dishes like roasted turkey and mashed potatoes are always a hit, don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with unique flavors. Consider incorporating international dishes or vegetarian alternatives to cater to a diverse group of friends. One year, instead of pumpkin pie I brought pumpkin empanadas and while I'll always be a pumpkin pie fan....I'd still rather have those empanadas!


Some other menu ideas with a nod to the traditional ones to get your creative juices flowing include a mouthwatering bacon-wrapped turkey, creamy pumpkin risotto, roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze, and a decadent apple-cranberry crumble for dessert. Go for a fun cocktail even. I've got a few fun autumn drinks in my blog to help you out! Remember, since Friendsgiving is all about enjoying good food and good company, don't feel like you have to stick to the originals. Let your imagination run wild and create a menu that will have your friends raving for days.



Friendsgiving traditions and activities


While Friendsgiving is a relatively new concept, it has already given birth to its own set of traditions and activities. One popular tradition is the "Friendsgiving toast," where each guest raises their glass and expresses their gratitude for the friendships in their lives. Another fun activity is a "Friendsgiving potluck challenge," where guests are tasked with bringing a dish that represents their heritage or a unique cultural twist on a traditional Thanksgiving dish. This not only adds excitement and variety to the meal but also sparks interesting conversations about different cultures and traditions. Additionally, playing games like "Thanksgiving Bingo" or having a friendly cooking competition can add an extra layer of fun and entertainment to your Friendsgiving gathering.



Hosting a successful Friendsgiving gathering


Hosting a successful Friendsgiving gathering requires a combination of planning, organization, and a pinch of creativity. Start by creating a warm and inviting atmosphere by decorating your space with fall-themed decorations, such as pumpkins, colorful leaves, and cozy lighting. Set up a comfortable seating arrangement that encourages conversation and connection. Prepare a playlist of feel-good tunes to set the mood and keep the energy flowing throughout the evening. Consider creating a photo booth area with props to capture fun memories. Lastly, don't forget to plan some icebreaker activities or conversation starters to help guests feel at ease and encourage meaningful conversations.



Friendsgiving decorations and ambiance


Creating the perfect ambiance for your Friendsgiving gathering is all about embracing the cozy and festive spirit of the season. Start by adorning your space with autumnal decorations like rustic tablecloths, leaf garlands, and candles (flame-less, PLEASE!) in warm hues. Incorporate seasonal elements like pumpkins, gourds, and cornucopias to add a touch of nature to your décor. String fairy lights or hang twinkle lights to create a warm and inviting glow. Consider using personalized place cards or name tags to make your guests feel extra special. Lastly, don't forget to set the table with elegant dinnerware, including festive napkins and a centerpiece that showcases fall's bounty.



Friendsgiving gift ideas


While Friendsgiving is primarily about coming together to share a meal, it's always a thoughtful gesture to bring a small gift for your host or to exchange gifts among friends. Consider gifting a bottle of wine or a homemade jar of jam as a token of appreciation. Personalized gifts like engraved wine glasses or custom-made recipe books are also great options but, can be a little more expensive. Personally, I'm much more into spending the time with those I love than getting a gift but, it's always nice to feel my time in cultivating the event was appreciated. If you're feeling crafty, you can create DIY gifts like scented candles or hand-knitted scarves to give to your guests too. The most important thing is to choose a gift that reflects your friend's personality and shows that you've put thought into their preferences and interests or your own relationship.



Friendsgiving games and entertainment


To keep the festive spirit alive and ensure a memorable Friendsgiving gathering, consider incorporating games and entertainment into your celebration. Classic board games like Pictionary or charades can bring out the competitive side of your friends and create laughter-filled moments. Here's a link to a few of my own favorites! If you're feeling more adventurous, organize a friendly cooking competition where teams compete to create the most delicious and creative dish using a predetermined set of ingredients. You can also create a "Friendsgiving trivia" game, where guests answer questions about each other's favorite Thanksgiving traditions or memories. Remember, the goal is to foster a fun and interactive environment that allows everyone to let loose and enjoy each other's company.



Friendsgiving etiquette and tips for guests


While Friendsgiving is a relaxed and casual gathering, it's still essential to observe basic etiquette to ensure a harmonious and enjoyable experience for everyone. As a guest, it's polite to arrive on time and let your host know if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies in advance. Offer to bring a dish or contribute to the meal in some way to show your appreciation. When it comes to conversations, be inclusive and mindful of everyone's opinions and perspectives. Avoid controversial topics and focus on creating a positive and uplifting atmosphere. Lastly, don't forget to express your gratitude to the host and fellow guests for their hospitality and friendship.



Friendsgiving memories and traditions to cherish


One of the beautiful aspects of Friendsgiving is the opportunity to create cherished memories and traditions that can be carried on for years to come. Consider starting a "Friendsgiving memory jar," where each guest writes down their favorite memory from the evening and places it in the jar. At the end of the night, take turns reading the memories aloud, creating a heartwarming and nostalgic experience. Another tradition could be to take a group photo every year and create a collage or photo book to document the growth and evolution of your friendships. Remember, the traditions you create can be as unique and personal as your friendships.


Gratitude is at the heart of Friendsgiving, and incorporating it into your celebration can deepen the sense of appreciation and connection among friends. Consider starting the evening with a gratitude circle, where each guest shares something they are thankful for. You can also provide small notebooks or cards for guests to write down their expressions of gratitude throughout the evening. Another idea is to create a gratitude wall, where guests can stick sticky notes sharing what they are grateful for. The act of expressing gratitude not only uplifts the spirits of everyone present but also reminds us of the blessings we have in our lives.



Friendsgiving - Feasts, Fat Pants, Friendship, and Food Comas


Friendsgiving encompasses everything that makes Thanksgiving special, with an added touch of friendship and camaraderie in a much more relaxed event. Go fancy and dress up or go comfy and break out the sweat pants! It's a time to gather with the people who bring joy and laughter to our lives, indulge in delectable dishes, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Friendsgiving allows us to celebrate the beauty of chosen family, the power of friendship, and the importance of expressing gratitude. So, this year, gather your friends, embrace the spirit of Friendsgiving, and prepare for the ultimate feast of food, friendship, and, of course, food comas.


Happy Friendsgiving!

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