Often friends become closer than family due to job requirements and physical distance. We all have those friends we’ve been stationed with who have become an extension of our family. Therefore, Friendsgiving instead of Thanksgiving has become quite popular in the military circle. I’d like to share some tips on a fun Friendsgiving day.
- Potluck it. The only rule with potluck is the host does the turkey (transporting a turkey is just asking for a disaster). Other than that, everyone should share a dish that has been traditional in their families’ Thanksgivings. It’s a great conversation starter. To make sure there aren’t any dishes duplicated, a volunteer (most likely the host) should start a meal sign-up.
- Accept help. When people offer their help, take them up on it. Simple decorations are festive and fun but always fall to the host. And that can be overwhelming with a gauntlet of tasks. Decorations don’t have to be fancy, paper pilgrim hats, name cards or silly photo props for selfies always add to a fun atmosphere.
- Get lectured. Have the history buff of the group plan a brief recap of the first Thanksgiving. It’s a great way to remember why we celebrate the holiday. If your history buff is blessed with comedic talents too, that makes it even more fun.
- Be thankful. After everyone is stuffed to their eyeballs, go around the table and share what each guest is most thankful for or their favorite family traditions on Thanksgiving. After all, it is the season to be thankful.
- Break out games. Once all the important eating, sharing, clean-up parts of the day are over, break out the games. Adding a game night will surely make this Friendsgiving go down in history to relive over and over for many years. No need to have several complex games on hand. There are so many fun games that can keep you entertained. Keeping it simple is also a great way to convince the non-gamers to participate and realize how much fun games actually are!
Making the most out of nontraditional situations are what we thrive on in the military. Knowing every station is temporary elevates the stakes when it comes to making friends and connections that are lasting and meaningful. And even though it isn’t traditional, celebrating with our friends instead of family can bring on the feels and create memories you spend your life trying to recreate. Enjoy your Friendsgiving wherever you are!