"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward
No matter what season it is, it's important to be thankful. I've had many a yoga teacher instruct my class to breathe out disparity and breathe in gratitude. This is because gratitude can reshape your perspective into one that makes life beautiful. It's the same principle as being cheered up when we help others. With this in mind, I treasure Thanksgiving and its pertinent reminder to live in gratitude. And let's be honest, the delicious food doesn't hurt this holidays reputation. One tradition that I started the first year I lived on my own was Friendsgiving, the friend version of Thanksgiving. I won a free turkey at a work event and had no idea what to do with it. So, I invited my friends over and had a feast. My hubby, who was my boyfriend at the time, helped me cook it and we had so much fun preparing the meal together! Scott and I now love hosting Friendsgiving every year and we have certainly learned some of the "to-do's" and also the "not-to-do's." If you want to make your own tradition of Friendsgiving, follow these quick tips:
1. The host makes the turkey, gravy and stuffing.
Pro tips: Placing bacon on your turkey will make the skin delicious. Putting the finished turkey on your table without a tivet under it will ruin your table. Use a tivet.
2. Coordinate with friends to make a deliciously balanced menu.
Friendsgiving is traditionally a potluck. This creates an opportunity for you and your friends to stretch those foodie muscles and have fun enjoying one another's creations. You're nourishing each other and that's a beautiful thing. But you want to make sure there won't be two green bean platters, so coordinate with everyone to have a diversified menu. I create a Facebook event group to keep everyone in the loop (not as invasive as the elusive group text).
3. Speaking of a balanced menu, make sure someone's bringing appetizers.
The turkey never comes out as soon as you thought it would. Appetizers make happy stomachs while waiting for the main event.
4. Some of your friends may not know each other very well. Help them mingle with games or place table topics on your coffee table.
I'm not saying your friends are socially awkward, I'm just saying it might be nice to help them break the ice with some fun games. One of our favorites is Super Fight. It's hilarious. You can also download free printable conversation starter cards here.
5. Create traditions to repeat each year.
If you want to host an annual Friendsgiving, it might be nice to incorporate some traditions, especially if the same friends join each year. My annual tradition is to ask what each person is most thankful for during dessert hour.
6. Add a festive vibe with decor.
This may not be the most necessary tip, but I think decor makes a difference. It adds a special touch. I didn't do it the first year, but have every year since. This year, I bought some greenery for $3 from Trader Joes and then placed tea lights along the middle. The year before, I simply placed some pumpkins in the center of the table. You can go as simple or as extravagant as you desire.
Hosting an event can be stressful, but doesn't have to be. Have fun and remember that it's more important to enjoy your company than to have a "perfect" event. As an unofficial tip, deep clean a little section of the house/apartment/abode each day during the week before the event so you can focus on the turkey the day of.
Let me know if you have any tried and true suggestions. My Friendsgiving is taking place this upcoming weekend so I'd love last minute tips! :)