The Daily Illini

‘Friendsgiving’ is a fun twist on a traditional holiday

By Kate Cullen

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, students prepare to return home to spend time with family and friends. Parents and elder relatives usually determine how the numerous holiday festivities are celebrated, reverting us young adults back to childhood by having little to no say in the matter. However, this trend is beginning to change as students regain the power over their holiday plans by holding a “Friendsgiving.”

This hybrid holiday combines the delicious food of Thanksgiving with the company of great friends, resulting in a celebration with the potential to be more popular than Christmas. The best part about Friendsgiving is that is can be observed on any day, just as long as it is around the time of the Thanksgiving holiday.

When I received my first Friendsgiving invitation, my main concern was whether or not there would be enough food. Since some college students can barely manage their laundry, I could not fathom how one could cook an entire Thanksgiving feast. However, my worries were resolved when I learned of the basic protocol of throwing a successful Friendsgiving. 

The person with the biggest kitchen should host. That is a given. No one wants to be crammed into a tiny room in the Six Pack hovering over an Easy Bake Oven and a microwave. That being said, the host does not hold all of the cooking responsibilities. While they should be responsible for the most important part of the meal, the turkey, the rest of the courses should be delegated to the guests. Since the host is usually the friend who is a mom-in-the-making, they will still want to have complete control over the meal and will specifically tell each guest what to bring. Don’t be insulted, embrace your Monica Geller friend and appreciate their hospitality.

Friendsgiving should be about everyone coming together to break bread in a potluck fashion. If you show up to a Friendsgiving, you better have a lukewarm ceramic pan in your hands containing one of the numerous side dishes of Thanksgiving. If you do not know what a suitable Thanksgiving side dish is, call your mother and she will inform you. The last thing you want to do is be the person who shows up with ice.

Since every student is on a budget, sharing the responsibilities of the meal makes it easier to have enough food for everyone, as well as to involve all of the guests in the cooking process. Though Friendsgiving can be the moment to highlight your secret talent for cooking, don’t be surprised if the side dishes consist of store-bought pies and Rice Krispie Treats — every college student’s dream.

Don’t be confused, Friendsgiving is not the kind of traditional Thanksgiving holiday you spend with your family. Music is a must and cider is all but necessary. This is the time to be an almost-adult — you are old enough to realize a national holiday must be celebrated, but young enough to still execute it the same way you would any other party. Except with food — lots of food. 

Not only does Friendsgiving give students the opportunity to be thankful for their second family at school, but it also removes the inevitable awkward moments that come with any family holiday. At Friendsgiving there are no crazy uncles who always seem to have one too many beverages, no great-aunts who want to know every detail of life at school and no drama over who will bear the misfortune of having to host the next inevitable get-together. There are no nagging children begging you to play Barbies at Friendsgiving, only true friends who will encourage you to eat more. Unlike the traditional family holiday, the conversations do not need to be censored and you can swear as much as you want.

This new holiday embodies the sentiment that friends are the family you choose, so why shouldn’t there be a holiday devoted entirely to being thankful for them? It makes perfect sense to me, and if you haven’t had a Friendsgiving already start planning one now.

Thanksgiving should be devoted to spending quality time with family and being thankful for their constant love and support. Cherish the awkward family moments, ignore the drama and be thankful you have a family to celebrate the holidays with. But make sure to remind your friends, who are not a part of your immediate family, just how much they mean to you and that you’re thankful for them too.

Have a Friendsgiving. Celebrate both of your families.

Kate is a senior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected]

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