It’s not even officially in the dictionary – yet – but Friendsgiving has become a favorite tradition for many over the past decade or so.
Phoenix has always been one of those places where it seems almost everyone is from someplace else. As a born and raised here in the 60s kid, and a lifelong resident of Phoenix myself, I was used to new acquaintances regarding me as someone of a “jackalope” upon finding out my roots. (If you don’t know, a jackalope is Arizona’s version of a unicorn, a jackrabbit with antelope horns!) It seems everybody had heard about people born here, but nobody had ever actually met one!
With the steady growth Phoenix has experienced over the past several decades, plenty of babies have been born here and being a “native Phoenician” isn’t nearly as rare as it used to be. People continue to relocate to the Phoenix area for jobs and school, many leaving behind the family and friends with whom they would normally spend holidays.
Thanksgiving + Friends = Friendsgiving
Going home for the holidays isn’t always possible due to work, finances and other obstacles – and there are many who just actively avoid family gatherings for whatever reason.
We all have something to be thankful for though, and who doesn’t love a feast with friends? This is where Friendsgiving comes in. Moxie Girl has a few ideas to make hosting your own Friendsgiving easy and fun!
When Are We Doing This?
Well, that depends… Are you ADDING a Friendsgiving celebration to a traditional Thanksgiving week? Or are you having Friendsgiving INSTEAD of Thanksgiving?
If your BFFs all have family nearby, it’s likely you will be invited to join one of them for Thanksgiving. (And you should! It can be fun to meet the ‘crazy relatives’ your friends have told you so much about.) If you and your buddies all have family plans, the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving is a better choice to hold your Friendsgiving event.
However, if your gang is comprised mostly of friends who are also ‘on their own’ for the holiday, it might make the most sense to hold your Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving Day.
What’s on the Menu?
One of the great things about in an official holiday is that you are free to make your own rules and create new traditions! Unless you are just DYING to prepare an entire feast ‘solo’ for your group, a potluck buffet is always the answer. You can organize your potluck in varying degrees of detail, but assigning specific dishes for guests to bring will ensure you don’t end up with six bowls of mashed potatoes, but no gravy or some other “oops!” in the menu.
And remember, since it’s your friends and your rules, the menu is your choice as well. Maybe you’d like a traditional turkey dinner? Or maybe you want an all vegan/vegetarian menu… how about Mexican food? Mediterranean food? Totally up to you and your friends!
Some Friendsgiving celebrations are specifically planned for the Friday after Thanksgiving and guests are asked to bring their family Thanksgiving leftovers to share with the group.
Another option is that your friends all agree to ‘chip in’ and purchase a premade meal from a local market or eatery, saving you all in the mess of cooking in exchange for a few bucks.
Speaking of Dishes…And Other Things You May Not Have Enough Of
Living on your own for the first time? Or just simply live alone? You may likely have more friends than you have place-settings or even places to put them! Disposable dishes and utensils may be the answer, and they certainly make for easier cleanup.
A more eco-minded solution is to ask your friends to bring their own place settings. You can even turn it into fun by having a place-setting ‘decorating contest’ for your guests to create their own elegant/wacky/colorful place at the table.
For several years, my family members all agreed to show up with full-sized platters to use as our ‘feast’ plates. Mine was actually an hors-d’oeuvre tray with little compartments so my gravy would not touch my cranberry sauce or my candied sweet potatoes and RUIN EVERYTHING. (Yeah, I’m kinda weird that way.) The giant platters made for some funny photos too.
You may also need some help with seating arrangements for dinner. Folding tables and chairs will do if you don’t have a formal dining table large enough to accommodate your group. Don’t have any? Ask around – anything that can be borrowed for the day is a good thing! And you may find that your guests have at least one folding chair or a set of old-school tray tables they can bring.
Plan for Fun!
This should be easy… What do you and your friends like to do? Thanksgiving day, post-feast, in my family finds us splintering off into smaller groups of football fans, movie watchers, board gamers or card players – even outdoor Slip n’ Slide fun in the backyard. Hey, it’s Phoenix!
So unless your friends are all into the same thing, prepare for a few different, but simple and fun, activities based on what you know about your group.
The weather in Phoenix is usually perfect in late November for enjoying outdoor activities. Perhaps start an annual tradition of a group hike or a bike ride – before or after your meal. If your friends are service-minded, Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to volunteer at one of the local agencies serving up a Thanksgiving meal to those less fortunate.
The point is that your new tradition can be whatever you want it to be. As long as it’s fun it’s likely to catch on, too, making your annual Friendsgiving get-together something to look forward to year after year.
So start putting together your plans for Friendsgiving now and check out our Moxie blog regularly for ways to make your holidays – and every day – cleaner, easier and more fun!