Friendsgivings & Alternative Thanksgivings

As Thanksgiving approaches and we look forward to spending time with family, we often forget that we’ll most likely be leaving behind some friends. Thanksgiving is a time to think about and be thankful for all that we’re given in life. Show your friends how much you appreciate them by having a Friendsgiving. Invite your friends over and have everyone bring something to contribute.


The traditional Friendsgiving entails that of what you would see at a typical Thanksgiving. Picture a long table with all of your closest friends. Turkey and gravy are the main centerpiece of any traditional Thanksgiving meal, but since this is Friendsgiving, and you don’t have to take it that seriously, you can substitute it with chicken or meat loaf. Aside from that friends can bring mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn, stuffing and corn bread. Desserts include pie, pumpkin cake and cupcakes. Set the mood with the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving soundtrack.


On the other hand, if you you’d prefer to save your appetite for Thanksgiving Day, or you’re just a clean eater in general, you can opt for a Healthy Friendsgiving. Grilled chicken is a healthy main dish that can be made or bought easily. Marinate it in balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for taste. Fish or pork chops are also healthy alternatives to a main dish. Other healthy dishes that friends can bring are a salad, steamed or roasted vegetables and applesauce. Dessert can be some variation on an assortment of fruits, either plain, chocolate covered or with whipped cream.


If, however, you want to take your Friendsgiving celebration as the opportunity to splurge, you can make it dessert themed. Have friends bring over all of their favorite deserts and share them among each other. It’s no meal, but we’re in college and we can do what we want, including have dessert for dinner. In addition to the typical cookies, cake, brownies and cupcakes, feel free to go beyond the usual and bring pies, ice cream sundaes, pastries, or even grilled stickies. Offer up any unique or original recipes that you have to bring to the table.

Dining Out

Friendsgiving can be a lot to orchestrate and nobody would blame you if you didn’t have the time to make food between schoolwork and activities. A bunch of you and your friends can go out to dinner at a restaurant like the Corner Room, The Tavern, Baby’s, Primanti Bros., or even Panera Bread. Sometimes it’s just nice to dedicate some time to going out to dinner with the people you love for a change. After, you all can take a walk to Kiwi or Cold Stone for dessert. Even if you don’t want to go out to dinner, invite everyone over and have them bring over their favorite dishes from around town.


You don’t need to go all out, though, to show your friends that you appreciate them. It can be as simple as inviting a few friends over to watch a movie together. Get a pizza pie from Mama Mia’s and tell friends to bring any snacks they want. It doesn’t have to be an over the top meal or dessert. Just keep it as simple as picking up a bag of chips, bag of candy or a package of cookie from McLanahan’s.


When it comes to themes, the possibilities are endless. You can change it from an American meal to an Italian, Chinese or even Austrian Friendsgiving. You can also tell your friends to dress up a little, have them dress up in a fall theme, or even make it into a pajama party. Of course you know that everyone has Penn State clothes in their closet so turn it into a Penn State themed Friendsgiving.

Don’t forget that a Friendsgiving is also a viable option to take home to your friends that you haven’t seen since you left for school. This will give you a chance to spend time and catch up with all your closest friends from home. Make it into a leftovers Friendsgiving and have all friends bring any food that wasn’t eaten on Thanksgiving Day. The celebration is to take some time out of your busy schedule, spend some quality time with friends and recognize how important they are to you.