Fall is, hands down, the best season of the year. Don’t @ me. The air gets crisp and chilly, but the sun stays shining. The leaves turn the perfect shade of orange, littering the streets. You don’t need a goose-down parka because a classic olive Barbour will do just fine. Fall also represents the pinnacle of football season. Sure, early September tailgating guarantees sundresses, ice cold beer, and pregaming on the patio. But there really is something to be said about getting a little faded on spiked cider in a thermos on a Saturday night while rooting for your boys.
Fall is the time of year where everyone starts acting a little less like assholes, and that whole “holiday spirit” thing starts setting in. We’ve got Thanksgiving and Christmas on deck, followed by NYE and potentially the worst hangover you’ve had since last January 1. As enjoyable and memorable as these holidays are, there is one important celebration that seems to sneak under the radar a little too often. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, sometimes we forget one highly undervalued autumn party: Friendsgiving.
The real O.G. (i.e. Thanksgiving), is arguably a stressful day. You’re surrounded by close family, extended family, and your siblings’ significant others that you’ve never met. Maybe you’re with your in-laws and your husband or wife’s extended family. Or, if you’ve got the luck of the Cleveland Indians, you might even be stuck at the table sitting next to your family’s version of cousin Eddie, while he whispers sweet nothings in your ear about that one time he found a deer on the side of the road and threw it in the back of his 1992 Dodge Ram. Whatever your squad may look like on Thanksgiving Day, sometimes remaining social and polite can be a challenge.
“Friendsgiving,” you might ask, “what the hell is that?” Friendsgiving is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of trying to ignore the smell of Jack Daniels on your crazy aunt’s breath and explaining to your grandparents for the 50th time why you haven’t yet provided them with grandchildren, Friendsgiving is a place without judgment or discomfort.
First of all, there are three questions you need to ask yourself when inviting people to your Friendsgiving:
1. Can this person cook, like, at all? Would they be willing to bring something? Would any one eat it? If not –
2. Will this person bring alcohol? I’m talking 1-2 bottles of wine and maybe even an artisanal cheese plate. And last but not least –
3. Will this person vibe with the entire group? Sometimes bringing different groups of friends together under one roof can get a little awkward. Try and pick a decent mix of folks who won’t wind up at each other’s throats over why the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals.
A lot of planning goes in to having a Friendsgiving. I’m trying to throw down my first one this year with some of my law school classmates, at my house. I have all sorts of dreams about decorating just for the occasion. I imagine Pinterest-caliber table settings with napkin rings and a Home Sweet Home Yankee candle burning on the coffee table next to the strategically placed hardback book on interior-design. Maybe a tasteful Sinatra and Dean Martin playlist playing on the Apple TV. All my friends hanging out in the kitchen, dressed in oversized cable knits and knee boots looking straight out of an L.L. Bean catalog while sipping stemless wine glasses of mid-level cabernet sauvignon. It is a special occasion, after all.
100%, this fantasy will not come to fruition. I’ve spent years drinking mimosas in the kitchen when I wake up at 11 a.m., just to sit on the couch like a piece of shit while my mom and grandma slave over the meal while I watch 10 hours worth of college football waiting for the Iron Bowl. I don’t know how to cook any Thanksgiving staple. We are all probably attempting to cook this meal by ourselves for the first time in our young adult lives. It’s an intimidating task, but it is imperative that I learn now.
One day, I’m inevitably going to be hip-to-hip with my mother and grandmother-in-law, trying to hold my own in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. I can’t just show up and mulligan the first hole. I need to be ready. Primed. Ready to perform. What better qualifying tournament than Friendsgiving?
It won’t be straight out of a lifestyle blog on Instagram. It won’t go off without a hitch. But it’s going to be a day full of wine and laughs. I’ll inevitably ditch my J. Crew tissue turtleneck for an oversized t-shirt when I spill heavy cream all over myself. Someone will inevitably burn something and smoke up the entire house, forcing us to open all the windows. Someone will most likely use baking soda instead of baking powder. Maybe a pie gets dropped on the kitchen tile, who knows? We’ll probably listen to the Chainsmokers way too many times, and be rocking purple teeth by 1 in the afternoon. By the time we sit down to eat, we’ll be so sick of looking at it all, that we won’t even want to. But that’s okay.
No one is going to ask me how school is going because they already know. No one is going to bring up some awkward event that happened 12 years ago at the family reunion, or pass around photos of me in middle school, sporting a ridiculous bob haircut and a Hollister t-shirt. No one will care when I say the f-word at the table. We won’t talk politics. We are just going to sit around, tell raunchy stories, and make memories with people we care about. Friendsgiving: it’s lit. .