While I have always loved Thanksgiving, I have never been able to host a friendsgiving. It has always seemed like too much work or that too much skill was needed to pull it off. It also always felt like everyone was too busy for an entire day devoted to cooking, cleaning and eating. This year however, that all changed! My roommates and I have nothing to do because of the restrictions on campus, and due to all the time we’ve spent without the dining hall, we have been cooking for ourselves for the past three months and now have all the skills we need to make this meal a success. So we sat down, made a spreadsheet and planned and executed our “perfect” friendsgiving. It was fun, silly and perfect, and now I want to share some of the things that made it work so you can now try it safely with your roommates!
- Make an effort to feel like Martha Stewart
Now, the reason I mention Martha is the fact that she is seen as the perfect modern host. I think by putting in the extra effort to really feel as though you are hosting people in your home can make the day feel extra special. Clean your spaces and light some candles if you are allowed. Even just playing music or putting a fireplace video on the TV can make your space feel more like a home. We set up a separate table with ice and glasses with markers, to go with people’s drinks. We also got flowers to put on the table and set it with a tablecloth. It gave the feeling that we were getting ready for “company,” even though it was just me and my housemates.
- Have a plan!
One of the worst things that could happen on the day of your friendsgiving is that everyone is trying to use the stove, oven and pans all at once and chaos erupts. Before the day arrives, sit down with everyone and figure who needs to do what, when they want to do it and what things they need. If there is anything that can be done the day before, definitely do it. I managed to make a cake that would have kept an entire shelf of the oven occupied for an hour beforehand, and it saved me a ton of time in the morning. Also, if there is anything that can be made early and then reheated later, it would be great to do that too! This helps to save everyone a lot of stress.
- If you can’t cook, look elsewhere.
When planning your friendsgiving, it’s important to remember that we are still in college and a lot of people don’t know how to cook. Instead of giving up on contributing because you don’t know how to make anything, find something else to pitch in. Be in charge of cleaning the house on the morning of, or go out and get fun cups and flowers for the table. Even just planning out a cheese board or snacks at the start of the meal can be a big help. Don’t feel disheartened…find your niche somewhere else!
- Get creative!
Now for some of the fun stuff!! It’s important to remember that this is YOUR friendsgiving! You get to decide what goes on the table. Don’t like green bean casserole? You don’t have to have it! This is your moment to cook the recipe you have always thought would be good, but that isn’t traditionally something made for Thanksgiving. For us that meant we made a baked brie appetizer and, instead of mashed potatoes, I made smashed sour cream and onion potatoes using a recipe from Allison Roman that I love. You have a lot of freedom here to do some fun and interesting things, so use it! As long as you like what’s on the menu, it doesn’t matter whether or not your plate reflects a traditional Thanksgiving!
- Be grateful!
This year has been so hard for everyone, and that can make it hard to feel thankful for the good things. However, when I looked around my table at my friends, and realized that they’ve become my family over these last three years, it made me understand how lucky we are to have even just the little things. To be able to come together and celebrate is such an amazing thing. We all got to go around the table and say what we are thankful for this year and it made everyone feel so hopeful. I hope that no matter how you celebrate this year, you are able to recognize the things in life you are grateful for. I hope you have a safe, fun and happy Thanksgiving!!