Hosting ‘Friendsgiving’ Is About Connection

CHERRY HILL, N.J. — Eric Allen and his high school friends were ahead of the curve on the “Friendsgiving” trend.

They didn’t phone it Friendsgiving back in 2010.

“It was dubbed ‘Classy Thanksgiving,’ ” Allen said. In other words, before: “Everybody got drunk and forgot to put the turkey in and we didn’t eat till midnight. Then we named it ‘Sloppy Thanksgiving.’ “

The team — older and wiser — currently gets the turkey on the table at a sensible hour, although the second title stuck.

Chances are, you’ve been invited to some Friendsgiving, or seen mentions of it floating around social networking.

“It has been cropping up in the past few years as a thing people are buzzing around,” said EatingWell magazine editor-in-chief Jessie Price.

However, of celebrating the holiday with 10, the idea is not anything new, Price explained. Growing up the neighbors were included by her household’s Thanksgivings.

In flying a long way just for Thanksgiving dinner, and people who live far from home may not understand the point, she pointed out celebrating with friends.

New traditions

Maureen Buckley White of all Collingswood began to invite friends for the vacation in 2014, after her husband died.

“My sister always connected my husband and I for Thanksgiving dinner, and after he died, I said to her, ‘Oh, it’s somewhat grim, just the two of us,’ ” she said.

But while some may dine with friends on Thanksgiving Day, most Friendsgivings are events separate from the family dinner.

Celebrate the holidays in early November, before things got hectic and Jason Verdone of Woodbury started hosting Friendsgivings year to get together.

“I figured, everybody has family responsibilities on Thanksgiving,” Verdone explained.

Julie Robinson, of Cherry Hill, along with her husband got the idea on the show, the characters frequently celebrated Thanksgiving together.

Robinson began to have 10 to 20 friends over for a casual meal. They maintain it a few weeks prior to Thanksgiving, figuring nobody wants turkey two weeks in a row.

“When we began, it was more of an opportunity to play and play drinking games,” she said, but since they moved in their 30s and had children, the party became more family-oriented.

“I think Thanksgiving has always been about family, however, it is also about being thankful for everything you’ve got and that includes friends,” Robinson stated.

Family Thanksgivings often comes with strain and pressure, Price said, but observing with friends is fun, with much less anxiety and lower expectations.

“You are able to break traditions and make your own traditions,” she said.

For David Simms of all Eatible Delights Catering in Philadelphia, a Friendsgiving is a great opportunity to be adventurous ditching conventional sides for dishes like roasted Brussels sprouts with fig glaze.

“I think people love their Thanksgiving traditions and it is about doing a mixture.” Price explained. “I really don’t see the turkey moving. It is so symbolic. But hey, let us make a molé sauce for the turkey.”

Allen attributes the rising popularity of Friendsgiving events to Facebook, since it activates nostalgia and keeps friends.

He’s just one Friendsgiving down, with you to go for the year. The other event has been going on for four decades, he said, and some of those friends now have kids.

“It’s like we’ve built families among our friends,” Allen stated.


“I think that it’s kind of cool to make sure that there is 1 staple cocktail,” Allen stated. And, “I always say, the primary secret to any successful home party is a fantastic meat and cheese platter.”

Price agreed. There is A cheese dish easy to put together but provides something to nosh on until dinner to guests, she explained.

“The most significant issue is the host is the person which ought to be liable for the main items,” Simms said, “but encourage everyone to bring a dish that is different.”

Having guests bring their favorite dishes permits them to really feel a part of the event, Simms divides the responsibilities , and stated. Be sure to coordinate so everybody brings something different.

The spread

Allen and Robinson are having turkeys a cooking method that was popular since it’s simple, Price said.

Simms urges Martha Stewart’s trick of cooking the turkey in butter and spice-soaked cheesecloth, while one of Allen’s chef buddies deboned the turkey and rolled it around the stuffing to inhale.

“Brining is not new, but it’s definitely still powerful as a fashion home cooks wish to test,” Price added.

Don’t allow you are intimidated by the turkey, she said.

“Do not stress about the turkey, it is really not a big deal,” Price explained. “Locate a recipe that you hope and follow the recipe.”

Also make sure you have a meat thermometer.

As side dishes, vegetables are in, but not yesteryear’s casseroles. Vegetables are fresh and crisp. Salads are large.

Simms enjoys to prepare innovative sides, such as candied yams with Grand Marnier and butternut squash ravioli with Fireball whiskey sauce.

“I would say go bold with all the stuffing,” Simms said. “You can do golden raisins. Apples in stuffing is really good. Sometimes we even do caramelized onions”

For EatingWell, there has been an emphasis on publishing recipes that are fermented or vegetarian, to make sure that there are various kinds of food.

“We know now, particularly with millennials, there are a whole lot of different demands in terms of what people are eating or not eating,” Price said.


Robinson’s guests do beer swaps, exchanging to send everybody home and attracting six packs of beers that are distinct.

Allen’s tradition with his high school friends is to rent a house on the shore for the weekend and play football on the beach while the turkey is in the oven.

In between dinner and dessert, Verdone’s friends and Cards Against Humanity played with. Allen’s friends also played with yet another match and this, Pie Face, which lobs cream at players .

“It had been such a hit,” he said.


“We’ve made it quite festive,” Simms said of this Friendsgivings his company planned. “We will do the fall colours of burgundy and gold and olive.”

Gourds and Cornucopias will also be in the decorating suggestions, together with fall floral structures of Simm.

Allen’s wife creates elaborate figurines, such as Pinterest come to life, ” he explained. However, for the size of his group, “Location settings aren’t a thing, you need to go with paper and plastic.”

Verdone takes the opposite approach, with a group of china and also a conventional sit-down dinner around his dining room table that is big.

The Christmas tree has been last year, Verdone stated, and he used ornaments for place settings with the names of everyone and favors.

“I like to entertain,” he explained. “It’s not work for me personally, I truly enjoy it. It’s a labour of love.”

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