With fall foliage at its peak in many parts of the country, grocery stores filling shelves with cranberry sauce, and the smell of sweet potato pie lingering in the air, this can only mean one thing: Thanksgiving is upon us.
There’s no denying the fact that 2020 has looked a little different than we envisioned. Canceled travel plans, homemade hand sanitizer, and uncertainty have loomed over many of our holiday plans. But we want to encourage you to make time to start with the small things. What are you thankful for? How has God blessed you this year? What is He teaching you about your priorities?
The change in the natural rhythms of life this year may make the perfect time for you to begin a new Thanksgiving tradition: Friendsgiving! The word Friendsgiving, a mashup of the words friend and thanksgiving first appeared around 2007 as an informal replacement, or supplement, of the holiday typically spent with family.1 With social distancing guidelines still in place across the country, perhaps you’re leary of gathering with certain high-risk individuals, or maybe you’re taking the year off from planning a large family gathering and are looking to host a small group of local friends instead.
Whatever your Thanksgiving plans are this year, we thought we’d share how we celebrate Friendsgiving. From Friendsgiving brunch to an Italian feast, here’s a few ways our team celebrates the Friendsgiving holiday:
“My friends and I all started going out for brunch for Friendsgiving. Typically we go the Sunday before Thanksgiving, which gives everyone time together before people travel for the holiday. We did it one year because we couldn’t coordinate a dinner and then realized it was the best thing. We get time together, no one has to cook, and we get a completely different meal than the turkey and fixings we have at all the other celebrations. We’ve done it now for four or five years.”—Elizabeth Hyndman, LifeWay Communications and cohost of the MARKED podcast
“Since my husband and I had kids, we decided that traveling for two holidays close together with little ones was too stressful. So we have a new tradition of Thanksgiving at my best friend Amy’s house. It has now evolved to include a Sunday Italian feast with all of our friends who may or may not have been traveling for the actual holiday. A thick lasagna and homemade bread (by my husband) is a welcome treat after lots of turkey. This year, I’m going to make a tiramisu!”—Larissa Roach, LifeWay Women Marketing Manager
“My friends and I do Friendsgiving usually the week before Thanksgiving if schedules permit or the week after. We have done the traditional dinner—it was a blast—and had friends bring a family recipe side dish. (It was really interesting to see what those were!) We were all telling our favorite family memories and how that side dish reminded us of childhood and family time. We also did a big brunch one year and watched football and played games all day one Saturday after Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it!”—Brandy Cerny, LifeWay Women Marketing & Event Project Coordinator
“A majority of the people in my small group from church are transplants. Some of us are fortunate to travel home for the holidays, while others are unable to. We decided it would be a fun tradition to start having Friendsgiving the week before Thanksgiving so that everyone could enjoy the comfort of holiday food with people who are like family. We always go all out for this event. Whoever hosts it at his/her house is in charge of cooking the turkey. We have a few people plan games, while others plan the decorations and photo booth (is it really an event if you don’t have a photobooth?), and then everyone brings a side dish or a dessert. The house quickly fills with the smells of sage and pumpkin and the sounds of laughter and cheer. It’s one of our favorite socials we do as a group!”—Catherine Inman, LifeWay Women Event Project Coordinator
Ready to get the Friendsgiving celebration started? Whether it’s your first Friendsgiving, you’re a seasoned hostess, or you’re hosting a virtual Thanksgiving celebration this year, here are some fun printables to help you host and decorate.
Show us how you celebrate and tag @LifeWayWomen on social media!
Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? How do you celebrate? Is it all about the food? Do you have fun games or traditions you participate in? Tell us in the comments!
1. Merriam-Webster, s.v. “Friendsgiving,” accessed November 10, 2020, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Friendsgiving.