As I get older I start to recognize a few people as family more than friends. Although there's no blood relation, I recognize the love, warmth, and appreciation that radiate from a friendship. I especially see these relationships this year of college. As a freshman last November, people were still very much finding their friends and feeling their way out but now that I'm almost three semesters in, I feel like I have a tight knit group of girlies and a great friendship with them.
Take a page out of the Peanuts gang's book and host a dinner for your friends. They all sat around a table, enjoyed a meal together, and enjoyed one another's company. Maybe sub the popcorn and jelly beans for potatoes and stuffing, but the main thing is that you will be surrounded by the people you care about most outside of your family.
When you have these friendships, especially in college, it's important to celebrate them and cherish them. One of the greatest ways to show your thankfulness for your gal pals is to host a Friendsgiving. This has been a relatively new concept these past few years but I think it's a great way to kick off the holidays before everyone goes home for Thanksgiving Break. Hosting a Friendsgiving is simple -- there are a few key ground rules to follow but with the help of your friends, pulling off a great dinner in college and on a tight budget is doable!
Host makes the Turkey -- It's hard to transport an entire turkey, also it's a tough thing to throw on a guest. The host should make the turkey no matter what. It isn't a simple task but definitely manageable. Here is a great recipe to follow . The toughest part is prepping the turkey and taking out all of the unwanted insides but other than that if you season it well, baste it, and keep your eye on it while in the oven, it's not an impossible task
Half of the guests bring sides -- A Friendgiving is like a super fancy, Thanksgiving themed potluck dinner. Ask your friends to bring their favorite Thanksgiving side. Tell them that cranberry sauce is not allowed, you can get it in a can so that's a cop out. Get all the girlies together in a group chat and make sure you don't have 4 sides of mashed potatoes, but other than that give them creative control. Roasted veggies, stuffing, mashes potatoes, casseroles -- whatever they want.
Half the guests bring dessert -- Let's face it, Thanksgiving dinner is like 50% about the pie. Have half of your guests bring their favorite Thanksgiving dessert. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, fudge, Spritz cookies, whatever it may be just let everyone know to save room for desserts! This year, I got desserts and made fancy rice krispy treats and they were a huge hit!
Properly set the table -- No, you don't have to have a china place setting, just set out real plates, silverware and glasses. This is a celebration of friendship and a time to give thanks for the incredible people in your life and all of your blessings so break bread over a properly set table. Honestly, how often do you actually sit at a set table, with other people, without Netflix playing in the background or on your laptop. Take this time to get a little fancier -- it'll be worth it! PS. If you're making a turkey, it calls for legit plates and silverware. All that effort wasn't made for a paper plate!
Keep Allergies in Mind -- I know we all want that traditional Thanksgiving dinner with our friends but someone might have an allergy and won't be able to partake in the festivities. In advance, ask around for allergies and send out a memo to everyone to *try* to avoid their allergies. That being said, don't stress to make a fully gluten free dinner, you never can truly make everyone happy, but make sure there's enough for your allergy prone friends to eat and be full.
Decorations! -- Decorations are simple and very doable. They also take the event from a get together to a real soiree. Maybe a cute little spot to take pictures, cute name cards, or bar cart decorations. They escalate the event into something really special and you can use them year after year! My favorite idea is taking fairy lights and clipping your favorite pictures of you and your friends together to them. You can look back on the past year together and look back at all of your memories!
Count Your Blessings -- Your friends give you thousands of reasons to thankful. I find that in college, your close friends become your second family. Without mom or dad there to help you out, you begin relying on new people to sometimes pick you up when you need it or celebrate your triumphs. Use this gathering to verbalize your gratitude for your favorite people. Let them know you care about them and that they mean a lot to you.
Don't Forget! -- There are little things that are simple to forget so make sure you don't! First of all, do not forget the rolls! Every Thanksgiving dinner must have delicious, warm rolls with plenty of butter. Which bring me to my second reminder, make sure you have butter! It’s necessary for mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and sometimes green beans and veggies. Third, music! Have the person with the best taste in music make a playlist, and yes Christmas music is acceptable. Finally, remind everyone to bring some tupperware so they can take some left overs home! Thanksgiving is always better the second day!