Say ‘thanks’ with a new twist by hosting a Friendsgiving

With one hand pressed against your pounding head, you take a deep breath as you analyze the situation. Upstairs, Grandma Mildred is taking over your room. Your mom is screaming bloody murder as she tries to take the smoking turkey out of the oven. Hordes of cousins you didn’t even know existed are tackling each other and drawing pilgrims all over the wall. Despite the fact that Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday, you are in desperate need of a reprieve.

For those who stray away from the typical Thanksgiving traditions, Friendsgiving offers a more relaxed, spontaneous version of this holiday. While it incorporates all the festive parts of Thanksgiving, particularly the delicious food, Friendsgiving is celebrated with a group of close friends as opposed to with your family.

Confused about where to start? Luckily for you, we have a step-by-step checklist for your first Friendsgiving!

Step 1: Find out which of your friends are interested in and available for a Friendsgiving celebration. Many of them might already have family plans on the actual holiday date, so be prepared to be flexible. You may have to celebrate Friendsgiving a few days ahead of time. If you plan to have your Friendsgiving post-Thanksgiving day, your friends can even bring leftovers from their family celebrations.

Step 2: Plan who is going to bring what dish. This will prevent everyone getting together the day of, only to discover that no one defrosted a turkey or baked the classic pumpkin pie.

For additional bonding time, you can also have one or two of the invitees over early to help prepare some dishes. Dust off your old camcorder, set it up on a tripod, and make a “Food Network” style recipe video. Recording those special apple pie baking moments, when you and your friends have flour in your hair or when you realize that you pathetically forgot to bring apples, will be a blast to watch again later.

For some Friendsgiving beverages, fill your glasses with pumpkin-spice drinks that use sparkling-cider, for that extra festive, but age appropriate, kick. An alternative, but just as fun option, is sparkling-apple tea. This drink consists of two parts sparkling apple-cider, one part black tea, and a pinch of nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Step 3: Come up with some small, festive touches. For example, have everyone DIY paper pilgrim hats. See who can draw the most realistic hand turkey! Decorate cupcakes Thanksgiving-style.

Other traditional Thanksgiving activities, such as bobbing for apples, can be more fun when done with your friends. Chances are, you’ll have a lot of hilarious photo opportunities. Play pin the snood on the turkey, Thanksgiving pictionary, or a Thanksgiving themed scavenger hunt.

Mouth-watering pumpkin pie, creamy mashed potatoes, and sizzling turkey are all staples of Thanksgiving. However, the real hallmark of this holiday is the time spent with the people you love and the overall atmosphere of warmth and intimacy. Friends are the family you choose, and Friendsgiving is the perfect way to bring your second family together.