Friendsgiving (and Other Thanksgiving Traditions)

As break approaches (slowly but surely), I have started to think about what I am thankful for: my family, my health and especially my friends. While I am happy to go home and see my family for a few days, the tradition of Friendsgiving is something I look forward to each November.

On campus, Friendsgiving is easy to arrange. Last year, my new Breen-Phillips friends and I ordered Chinese takeout to eat in the dorm while comparing highs and lows of the semester. We gossiped and laughed, but also talked about what we were most excited to do during our break—getting to know each other a bit better after a few months at school together. Many of my friends emphasized family, with one of our friends even joining her roommate for the holiday. Some talked about the downtime of stepping away from academics. My answer was: seeing my high school friends.

My family is not really big on Thanksgiving. We have traditions of course, like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in the living room, but we do not usually have extravagant dinners or host extended family. An ideal Thanksgiving is usually going out to eat so no one has to cook, and having dessert back at the house (chocolate pudding pie, most likely). Our quiet manner of gratefulness is a way to remove us from our everyday stresses: me and my schoolwork, my sister and her college applications, my brother and his middle school drama and my parents and their jobs. 

It seems ironic then that the days after Thanksgiving, I am caught up in a whirlwind of socialization. 

My high school friends and I, affectionately called Sunset Society, live within a radius of about 20 miles from each other. While attending school together, keeping in touch was easy, since we would see each other in class. In college, with different break schedules, it is a bit harder to manage our relationships. Sure, our 18-person group chat is always buzzing, but it's different from the face-to-face conversations we used to have. Now, I cherish any time we have all together. 

In contrast to the usual quiet around my house, this year I have stepped up to host a house full of college students. Some of my friends will drive for over an hour to attend our short celebration, bringing their delicious leftovers and their entertaining stories about life since the summer. Afterward, we will drive down to the beach and drive through a holiday light show, preparing ourselves for the Christmas season (and our next time being reunited). 

Despite my incompetence as a host, I am looking forward to the noise and organized chaos that will be contained in my living room for the majority of the night. There is something special about seeing the classmates that stuck together through all the stresses of high school, and continue to support each other through the ups and downs of college and emerging adulthood. Hopefully, after this year, our tradition will survive!


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