Friendsgiving: Why it’s our Thanksgiving tradition {#fiveonfriday}

friendsgiving cheersA few years back my bestie, Sophie, instituted ‘Friendsgiving’ as an annual Thanksgiving tradition. Since we both moved here five years ago with young families we have been side by side as we have experimented with different holiday family traditions – making each other part of them most of the way.

Friendsgiving begins a week or two before Thanksgiving, with my sweet planning-obsessed friend setting the menu and date. The menu is my favourite because it is so simple, soup and buns – and any side or dessert you feel like bringing.

Then comes the big day. Usually Thanksgiving Sunday, and usually our husbands are working shift work. That afternoon I drive the few blocks to her house with freshly napped kids, and some hot covered side dish buckled beside me. The house slowly fills with other friends and families. Dinner is served in waves of whatever demographic can line the table the fastest. It isn’t your conventional Thanksgiving, but it is our tradition.

Sophie’s hospitality was one of the first things I learned from her. Every year there are more people invited for Friendsgiving. Anyone who has nowhere to go can come call her dining room table home for the night.

Here are five reasons we make FRIENDSGIVING a Thanksgiving tradition.

  1. The food is simple and delicious. Sometimes we call it ‘soupsgiving’ because the menu revolves around soup and buns. There’s no pressure to be dropping F bombs in the kitchen like G Ramsey while trying to get the rosemary truffle butter baisted over the turkey without disturbing the caramelized yam casserole. There is no forgetting about the peeled and washed potatoes boiling over into the gluten-free stuffing that hasn’t gone in the oven yet….speaking of which, there is no room in the oven because we bought the biggest turkey we could find and it took a week in the fridge to even thaw out. Instead of all of the everything, it is just a bunch of moms with their slow cookers, bread machines and pie tins.
  2. It is potluck. Of course, I’m biased, as a White Woman Over 30 Who Never Has Made A Thanksgiving Dinner, I love the ‘share the load’ aspect of a potluck. Everyone brings one thing! And because it is just one thing, it is something simple and delicious. You sort of get the highlight reel of other people’s culinary creations.
  3. There is no pressure. We all have young families so we know that special language of kids’ screeching through a crowded house; sitting down to eat whenever your chance comes up; and pre-bedtime meltdowns. There is no seating chart, second and third tables, or complicated dinner settings. We start dinner early enough for the little kids to fuel their tiny excited bodies and take off down the halls playing. We keep it running late enough for those that are coming home from working all day. The kids get their PJs on and circle the latest crew sitting elbow to elbow around the table in hopes of tripping face first into a bite of pie and whipped cream.
  4. You don’t have to travel. Maybe you love filing down congested highways while toddlers launch a mutiny in the backseat – but as for me, I’m over it. Besides, I am really, really fond of soup and buns – so unless you are coming my way for Thanksgiving, we will catch you sometime in November.
  5. It makes your friends like family.  Holidays are a time that is preserved for traditions unique to each family. They exist to honour what is sacred. They make our time and our home feel sacred. And when we share that with socked feet, dirty dishes, relaxed laughs and kids rioting for more pie – we aren’t just sharing a dinner with friends, we are celebrating a holiday with family.

Make sure to check out my Five on Friday ladies. We are all sharing a post of ‘five things’.

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