- Jason Lemon For the AJC
More and more, millennials are choosing to spend the holidays with friends over family. Hence, the rise of friendsgiving.
In fact, according to an Allrecipes Thanksgiving Survey, 42 percent of millennials (defined as those 18 to 34), chose to spend the holiday with friends instead of their families. Compare that number to 34 percent of non-millennials, and it definitely seems that times are changing. This could stem from a variety of reasons, whether they be related to work, finances or simply shifting priorities.
Host with a friend or two
Planning and organizing everything alone will just add unnecessary stress to your life. So, why not ask a close friend or two to help you out? This will also give you more options when it comes to a venue for the gathering. If your place is a bit on the small side, maybe one of your friends will have a bigger space.
You can also divide up the planning tasks, making organizing easier, and ensuring that the dinner will happen without adding anxiety to your already busy schedule. Just make sure you pick the right friend or friends, so personalities don't clash.
Don't worry about cooking everything yourself
Your mother and grandmother may have spent days preparing the perfect meal, but nobody expects you to do the same. All your friends are just going to be glad to have a fun dinner to attend on the holiday, and the day should be fun for you as well.
Instead of spending hours – or days – preparing food, feel free to order out for some of the more complicated dishes. A mixture of home-cooked food and store-bought dishes won't throw anyone off.
Ask friends to bring their favorite dish
Another, and perhaps even better, option is to have all your guests bring something. If you're already hosting with a friend or two, you can divvy up the main items. Then, just ask each guest to bring their own personal favorite dish, letting them know what you'll already be providing.
To make it extra exciting, encourage your friends not to worry about bringing a traditional Thanksgiving option. Tacos and Thai noodles on the same plate as turkey and mashed potatoes? Sure! Why not?
Make it BYOB
While you'll probably want to have a few bottles of booze on hand, especially to sample during preparation, feel free to advertise the dinner as BYOB. Alcohol is expensive and everyone will understand that. Plus, some will definitely want to drink more than others, and they can simply accommodate themselves.
Feel free to buy ready-made desserts
Making desserts can be the most tedious part of any Thanksgiving feast. So, why bother? If you have the desire and time, more power to you! But after the hearty meal and a few drinks, all your friends will be just as content with that frozen pumpkin or apple pie from the grocery store. We promise.
Guests ban bring their favorite games
It's probably a good idea to have a few games ready to entertain your guests before and after dinner. Taboo, Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity and Jenga are always great options.
Feel free to ask friends to bring their favorite card or board games to share with the group. This will make the party more communal and allow everyone attending to contribute to the event's success.
Have friends share what they're thankful for
Last, but certainly not least, you should definitely remember the spirit of the holiday and ask guests to share what they're thankful for this year. Just make sure not to force anyone to share if they don't want to. Instead of going in a circle and asking each friend to talk, just invite whoever wants to say a few words to do so. That way, nobody feels pressured.
Sure, it may be the cheesy thing you always did with your family, but it's certain to leave everyone feeling warm and fuzzy inside. After all, even if we're calling it "Friendsgiving", the group of people gathered at your house is something to be truly grateful for this year.