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I think we’re all counting down the days until Thanksgiving Break. This semester has been hard; we’re readapting to in-person classes and activities. We deserve this break to spend some well-deserved time with our friends and families.

That being said, it’s time to get ready for one of the best Thanksgiving traditions: Friendsgiving. It’s an opportunity to spend some time with your friends at school or reconnect with your friends from home. Friendsgiving offers a time to stop and be thankful for the amazing people that you have in your life, supporting you every step of the way.

As you sit down to plan your Friendsgiving, here are some things you can consider before, during, and after to ensure you and your friends have a fantastic night.

Before:

Planning is a key part of any event; Friendsgiving is no different. First, you and your friends should decide what the format of your Friendsgiving should be. Will you go the traditional route and stay at one house? Or will you switch things up with a progressive dinner and have each course at a different house? Either way, planning ahead of time gives the host(s) time to plan the perfect meal.

With dinner in mind, check to see if any of your friends have dietary restrictions. No one should be excluded from the meal because of a lack of preparation. There are tons of fun recipes online that match all types of dietary needs; this might also be a fun opportunity to try something new!

Before your Friendsgiving event, you can also decorate your space. While classic fall décor is always a fan favorite, there are also opportunities to personalize your decorations. One key way to do this is through your place cards. Instead of the traditional nametag, try to switch it up with a picture frame or even a plant. You can find mini picture frames or small succulents for a relatively low cost; then, your guests can leave with a personalized party favor as well.

During:

The star of your Friendsgiving will clearly be dinner. I mean, who doesn’t love a good meal full of Thanksgiving classics? One fun activity might be baking dessert together. Instead of having all the food prepared ahead of time, work together with your friends to create some sweet memories and a tasty dessert.

There are also some non-food related things that you can do (other than have a blast with your friends obviously) that will add something special to your Friendsgiving dinner. First, you can make gratitude boxes for all of your friends. Each of your friends can bring a box¾or you could even get boxes to paint as a fun activity¾to fill with kind messages. As everyone’s box gets passed around the table, you can write down something you love about them: a personality trait, an awesome memory, or just a simple compliment. Gratitude boxes spread your appreciation for the people you have in your life. Plus, you can keep the box and look at these heartwarming messages anytime you feel down throughout the rest of the year.

In terms of entertainment, you can’t go wrong with Friends. With some of the most iconic Thanksgiving episodes, Friends creates the perfect activity for any Friendsgiving party. You can also take it a step further and try to recreate the Friends intro. If you don’t have easy access to a fountain, no need to worry. You can just put on the Friends theme song and make it your own. Nothing screams that you love your friends quite like, well, Friends. That video can also be something fun to look back on throughout the year.

Then, in terms of music, there’s really only one way to go. Taylor Swift released Red (Taylor’s Version) at truly the perfect Friendsgiving time. The autumn vibes are immaculate and sets the perfect tone for the evening (just make sure your friends remember their scarfs when it’s time to end the night).

After:

One of the simplest things you can do after any event is thank-you notes. Taking the time to complete this simple task is so important because it just shows your friends you care. There’s nothing quite like getting a letter from a friend in the mail.

Of course, while it is fun to be swept away in planning the perfect Friendsgiving, remember the most important part of the night is the people you are around. They are something to truly be grateful for.

Kate is an undergraduate student at JMU. She is a Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication major with minors in Spanish and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. Kate loves to travel, read, and spend time with friends.
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