How to Spend Thanksgiving Away From Home

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and so is the smell of sweet potato pie crisping in the oven, the sound of your relatives arguing about politics and sports and the amazing feeling of linking up with your favorite cousins. However, in college, not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy this holiday with their family members in their family homes. This goes for the exchange students, the international students and those who simply have moved from their hometown to Montreal for a certain amount of time.  It can be nostalgic, in a sad way, to be bombarded with everyone’s plans for Thanksgiving with their own relatives.

If you are not able to make it back home for Thanksgiving, do not worry. You will not have to hide under your covers and overdose on convenient store pumpkin pie while watching comedy movies. Here’s a fun way to still celebrate Thanksgiving: a potluck!

I have actually done it for a couple of years with a few friends of mine. We have lived nearly all our lives in Montreal. However, we have one friend in specific who comes from the Ivory Coast who always feels pretty alone during the holidays. As a solution, he always throws a potluck the day after or before Thanksgiving (to make sure people can come). If this is something you can do: do it!


You can either create a Facebook event (which is, to me, the most convenient way to do it), a group chat or simply individually message the people you want to invite. It depends on which method of conversation works best with your friends (only you know if they are the type to skip your texts but answer your Facebook messages in 0.2 seconds).  

Who should you invite?

It really depends on the kind of person you are. I am a very “the more the merrier” kind of gal so everyone from the loneliest soul to my very best friend gets an invitation! If you are more low-key, invite close friends or good classmates that you know will be spending Thanksgiving alone. If you are thinking about inviting friends who live with their family, you might want to organize the potluck the day before or after the actual holiday.

Where should you do it?

It is always easier to throw something in your own space. You can chose the time that accommodates you best, you will feel more comfortable and you will get to keep all the leftovers. However, if for some reason it is not convenient for you to have a gathering, throw the potluck at a good friend’s house. I’ve thrown Thanksgiving dinners for three years in a row in my best friend’s apartment just because he has a view and more space! A winning argument to get on their good side when asking to use their place is to put emphasis on the free food they are getting out of it!

What about the food?

This section of the event can also be managed in different ways. If you are a small group, all of you can bring ingredients and cook together and then share the dinner together instead of cooking separately and only meeting to eat. If you are a bigger group, you’ve guessed it, everyone should bring a plate or a drink that they prepare in advance. To make sure you do not end up with five turkeys and two juices, make a list of diverse key plates to bring (ex: pumpkin or sweet potato pie, turkey, salad, pastas, side salads, mashed potatoes, etc.) and ask for each guest to confirm to you what they intend on bringing to cross it off the list.

A Thanksgiving potluck embodies all the greatest things in life: free food, pie and good conversations. If you are afraid of being homesick this upcoming Thanksgiving, this is a great way to capture the warmth of a home-based celebration while enjoying good company!