Every year, Thanksgiving is more difficult to travel home to celebrate. Flight prices increase, jobs give fewer vacation days, and I find myself choosing to stay in the city during the holiday.
As the day approaches, I repeat in my head over and over again: “You are a big girl and big girls don’t get sad about not going home for Thanksgiving.” My hope is that the self-talk cheers up my mood. My head starts to believe I will not miss the tradition of waking up to the smell of roasting turkey and flaky rolls, but my heart sinks when I walk into my empty, aroma-less kitchen.
Thank goodness a brilliant Millennial somewhere coined the term “Friendsgiving—an opportunity to turn my bleak holiday into a friend-filled celebration with laughter, sweaters, and pumpkin pie. I’ll admit that “Friendsgiving” will never be the same as a Thanksgiving at home, but I do believe it is a healing and intentional way to share the season with friends.
So, how does one prepare to host a “Friendsgiving” that fills the disappointment of not going home? Be intentional! Let’s start here:
1. Plan Ahead
In our non-committal society, pledging your time to an event is risky. But, the more thought and effort you put into the prep, the more likely friends are going to say “I wouldn’t miss it.” They know you are taking this “Friendsgiving” seriously.
2. Everyone Should Contribute
Including friends in the cooking makes the meal a team effort. Community is created before the party ever starts by allowing people to make their favorite family dish and share it with the whole group.
3. Make Introductions
Don’t let anyone at your “Friendsgiving” feel like an outsider. Stop mashing those potatoes for a moment and introduce folks right when they walk in the door. People hate pretending that they remember names so be an intentional host that breaks the stranger-barrier and gets people engaging.
4. Set the Mood
I know we often like to keep things simple and bare because we are all about effortless-charm these days. Yet, the atmosphere needs special attention. Design a playlist that sets the mood. Purchase flowers to make the tables festive. Creating a space to feel comfortable, warm, and inviting changes the vibe for people. “Friendsgiving” is a special occasion; treat it like one.
5. Craft Place Settings
If you are crafty, good for you! This will be an easy one. If not, then grab a friend who can help you make a place setting for each person who is coming. Place settings say, “We were expecting you, welcome.” It quickly makes each guest feel special and included.
6. Say Grace
Grab hands, bow heads, and give thanks to God. Communing alongside others is best when you are communing with God.