Friendsgiving 101: How to Have the Best Unofficial Thanksgiving



Alison Nieto Culture Editor

Everyone loves Thanksgiving, and what could be more fun than celebrating family and friendship with your college friends? While most of us are able to enjoy a holiday dinner with your families over the break, there’s a good chance the majority of the new friends you have made since coming to Villanova do not live close enough to your home to make it to the actual holiday dinner. Friendsgiving is a perfect way to celebrate the season of giving with your college friends. While no one really knows where the informal holiday originated, most poeple trace its popularity to the hit television show “Friends.”  Here are some tips to make this year’s the best Friendsgiving yet!

1. Split up responsibilities: Sure, it’s fun to think we can all cook the turkey just as well as our mom, but in reality, it’s a huge undertaking, and if you are trying to cook the turkey, the pie, stuffing and mashed potatoes, it can get a little overwhelming. Get your group of friends together and divide up the responsibilities. You never know, maybe your friend makes some world-class potatoes as opposed to the sludge you call potatoes. Additionally, no one has the fridge space to fit all that food, so dividing the responsibilities will also take the load off your fridge (for which your roommates will be thankful). Spreadsheets are your friend, so consider creatuing a shared document so everyone can add what they are able to contribute to the dinner. With the shared spreadsheet, everyone is able to see which foods are already being covered so we don’t end up with three dishes of stuffing and only one of mashed potatoes. Additionally, according to Douglas McGregor, a management professor at MIT, people really like to feel useful, be productive and contribute to any given task. So, let your friends help you out: you’ll feel better and so will they.

2. (Butter)Ball on a Budget: Thanksgiving can get a bit pricey, so sometimes it’s better to substitute traditional food for something a little more economical. For instance, you can get a chicken instead of a whole turkey for a lot cheaper, and at many supermarkets you can find already roasted birds for purchase by the register. This is a creative way to minimize costs and feed a smaller group of people. 

3. Have Snacks on Hand: People really like to eat. Leave a bowl of chips out, and I promise someone will snack on them. You never know what might happen the day of, and it might be handy to have some chips to buy yourself an extra 30 minutes to get things together before the meal.

4. Don’t Stress About Decorations: Chances are, your friends aren’t coming over to admire your killer Thanksgiving decor. Does anyone actually have Thanksgiving decorations? Your friends are coming over to enjoy a nice meal with you and spend the time reflecting on the past year. So don’t worry! Turn your plastic Jack-O-lanterns around, pick up some leaves from outside and just focus on having fun with your friends. 

5. Dont Sweat The Food Stuffs: Way back in the early 2000s, when Friendsgiving rose to popularity, it was very informal. The point was to just have a meal with your friends. So, if getting all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings is leaving you way more stressed than it should be, just order a pizza and zilly fries from Campco and call it a night. I sincerely doubt your friends will bail on you because you are unable to roast a turkey in your dorm room. 

6. Give Back: While all of this is fun and great, it’s important to remember that there are many people who do not have the luxury of having a large meal in a warm home with loved ones. Donate non-perishable food items to your local shelter or religious institution to help outreach groups bring the spirirt of giving towards those who need it. Additionally, you can donate clothes and blankets to institutions like Goodwill to keep famlies and people who need these items warm as the colder months approach.

7. The Importance of the Holiday: Reminder that Thanksgiving is not about the food, it’s more about the relationships between friends and family. Thanksgiving is about celebrating the past year together over a nice warm meal.  If you are unable to cook, don’t let that stop you! Get together with friends and have a movie night, pop popcorn or go out to a local restaurant instead! It doesn’t matter whether or not you are eating “traditional” food. What matters is that you are spending time with the people you love and the people who love you. 

Whatever Thanksgiving means to you, feel free to share it with your friends. The important part is making sure you remember the true purpose of the holiday: to be thankful for the things we are lucky enough to have, whether that is your friends, family, home and education. Getting everyone together in the same room can be difficult, but taking a break from the crazy pre-finals stress will give everyone something to be thankful for.