Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year, and even if you’re not American or in the States for it, can be a fantastic way to exercise and celebrate the gratitude you feel for your life. Whether you celebrate a full and traditional Thanksgiving or not, taking the time to organise or involve yourself in a Friendsgiving can make for a lovely, heart-warming and humbling event.
The term ‘Friendsgiving’ was popularised with the TV show FRIENDS, but has since become a mainstream and flexible term referring to incorporating a Thanksgiving meal with a group of friends rather than just family. There’s no set of given traditions that must be adhered to or guidelines, but instead just a fun occasion that can be customised as you like to fit the people, place and circumstances of the event. It doesn’t need to happen on the same day as regular Thanksgiving, follow the same format or include the same food; you may make of it as you like.
If you’d like to use the opportunity of Friendsgiving to express your gratitude for loved ones around you by whom you aren’t necessarily linked by blood, you can choose your guestlist from those you best enjoy the company of and benefit from. Positive, interesting people make for fantastic dinner guests and inviting a diverse range of personalities and background can encourage meaningful and stimulating conversation. What’s more, you can add in a little touch of thanks to show your friends how much they mean to you and how valued they are in your life; perhaps a small gift, a short personalised note of thanks or a game of compliments to go around the table.
Everyone invited can contribute to lessen the burden on the individual hosting, and ensure than everyone feels they have a tangible part to play. This can be a potluck of dishes (although if you’re including turkey, consider how this may need to be transported!) or individual responsibilities for each guest. If you do opt for each person to bring a dish, be sure to include some non-culinary options too; we’re not all the best in the kitchen! A nice curated playlist of songs will be required, as well as table settings and decorations. Everyone can be well included, no matter their aptitude for cooking, homemaking or organisation.
When organising a Friendsgiving, be sure that you are able to fit the responsibilities into your day-to-day routine without placing unnecessary stain, physical or mental, on yourself. The idea of the event is lovely but you must never lose yourself in the process of arranging or hosting it! Ask for help where needed, plan as far ahead in time as you can and consider looking into other venues if hosting in your home is likely to cause you stress. Expressing your gratitude shouldn’t hinder you feeling more of it, so using your Ponderlily journal to plan, schedule and continue on with your wellbeing habits and routines is key to a successful mindset and event.
And since this is the season to give as well as to give thanks, why not volunteer together to do good? Decide as a group what how you would like to serve this season and go for it!
Embrace the flexibility of this new tradition and set it for yourself and your loved ones. The possibilities are endless and the potential is huge, so do what feels right and works best for you and yours!